Oppositional Defiant disorder (ODD) in Children

Does your child frequently get into arguments? Did your child get angry easily? Is your child trying to irritate or annoy people on purpose? Does your child say harsh and hateful words when disturbed? It is very common for most kids to throw temper tantrums or act impulsively or defiantly. These are frequently typical phases of childhood development. But when the behaviour is consistent, prolonged, or out of place for the child’s age and stage of development, it could be a symptom of oppositional defiant disorder. Keep reading to understand more about oppositional defiant disorder.

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What is Oppositional defiant disorder?

Defiance and disobedience towards authority people are characteristics of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Disruptive behaviour disorder, or ODD, can result in serious issues at home and also in the classroom. When a child is a toddler or adolescent, oppositional conduct is a common developmental stage. However, when compared to other people of the same age, that conduct becomes hostile, frequent, and excessive, it may signify ODD. It can typically begin as early as 8 years or even up to 12 years in some kids.

Also check, Conduct disorder in Kids

Difference between ASD, ADHD and ODD

Around 40% of kids with ADHD and ASD are dealing with oppositional defiant disorder. Even though these conditions frequently coexist, they all are separate conditions.

ADHD: Children with ADHD have trouble paying attention, controlling in impulsive actions, and regulating their restless feelings.

ODD: The behaviour of a child and how they communicate with their parents, siblings, elders, teachers, and peers are factors in ODD.

ASD: Autism spectrum disorder is a complex condition which is indicated by facing challenges in interpersonal and communication skills, sensory sensitivities, obsessive and rigid behaviours.

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Causes of Oppositional defiant disorder

It is possible that a lot of biological, mental and social issues are likely to cause oppositional defiant disorder. These issues tend to overlap with each other. Here are some causes of oppositional defiant disorder:


There is a high probability of oppositional defiant disorder being hereditary. This indicates that when a close member of the family has a psychiatric disorder, a mood related issue, or a personality disorder, it may pass on the conduct disorder to their offspring.

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The oppositional defiant disorder in kids and teens may be driven by the damage of the specific part of the brain which is responsible for controlling the behaviour, feelings, and impulses. Mental disorders including ADHD, chronic anxiety, or learning issues could also be other biological causes of oppositional defiant disorder.

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Family related issues, child abuse, traumatic events, strict parenting, poor education and insufficient monitoring are all highly associated with oppositional defiant  disorder.

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Children with oppositional defiant disorder may have low levels of intelligence, lower economic level, and be rejected by society.

Also check, Asperger’s syndrome

Symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder

Children and teens with  oppositional defiant disorder will display three or more of the following signs,

  • Frequently irritated
  • Arguing back with the adult or refusing to do what they ask
  • Intentionally causing annoyance to others
  • Being bitter and resentful
  • Accusing others of wrongdoing

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Ways to control oppositional defiant disorder

Treating oppositional defiant disorder is quite challenging as kids and teens hardly exhibit something inappropriate with their behaviour. Showing anger and forcing them to act good won’t work. The best way to manage kids or teens with oppositional defiant disorder is to move them from their problematic surroundings and place them in a highly organised environment. Here are some of the ways to control oppositional defiant disorder:


DBT is a kind of cognitive-behavioural therapy that seeks to alter behaviour by helping people acknowledge and embrace their emotions. It seeks to alter their behaviour by acknowledging and accepting their current emotions and providing tools that can help with regulating their emotions and improving tolerance and mindfulness. This cognitive behavioural therapy has been adapted to accommodate the unique needs of children. Its main goals are teaching coping mechanisms, identifying problematic thought patterns, and regulating intense emotions.

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Psychotherapy focuses on assisting kids by having conversations with them individually regarding how to express emotions and manage their anger. It might enhance the kid’s self-worth and it can also help them to become skilled.

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Family counselling includes mom, dad, siblings and other family members to take part in the therapy session. It can aid in improving family communication and teaching parents some tactics for resolving conflicts with their children to make it safer in the family. In some cases, strengthening the bond between parents and children can also enhance family dynamics.

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To promote empathy in kids and teens, group therapy will help. Group therapy can be performed with the classmates or friends of your kid which might help your kid to develop their social and communication skills.

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5. School based supportive therapy

ODD can be effectively treated using supportive therapies that enhance academic performance, social interactions, and problem-solving abilities. Such approaches could consist of:

  • The teacher of your kid will receive training and resources to enhance classroom behaviour.
  • They should be trained in using some methods for preventing oppositional behaviour or its escalation.

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Foods that help to manage oppositional defiant disorder


All the nuts like almonds, cashew, peanuts and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acid. Research has established a link between omega 3 fatty acids and brain development in early childhood. These healthy fats have amazing brain boosting power and play a vital role in enhancing memory and attention span.


Apart from nuts, seeds like sunflower, melon and pumpkins also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the brain from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds impact overall mood and mental processing powers and therefore it is considered a brain boosting snack. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, and much higher in zinc than other seeds, which help in increasing concentration and memory. One of the easiest to feed brain boosting foods for kids.


Jowar, which is rich in iron, can also lessen ADHD symptoms like anxiety, hyperactivity, and tantrums. Iron has the ability to relax the nervous system, which helps the child with ADHD syndrome to become more at ease.

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Gotukola has strong anti-oxidant qualities and enhances cognition, memory, and mental performance. It gently relaxes the nervous system while also encouraging alertness—the best possible state of consciousness for any form of mental focus, study, or cognition.

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Spearmint extract has higher quantities of phenolic compounds that enhance working memory, spatial working memory and also increase attention, concentration, and brain function by promoting the formation and protection of new brain cells.


St John’s wort contains chemical messengers like Hyperforin and Adhyperforin. These chemicals has antidepressant properties. The extracts of this herb enhance mood, focus, and also reduce anxiety and insomnia. According to several studies, adolescents with ADHD may benefit from taking St. John’s wort every day for four weeks. It is also used to treat problems including anxiety, exhaustion, appetite loss, and difficulty sleeping that might occasionally accompany depression.


The chemicals in the passion flower provide a calming and relaxing effect. Early research indicates that taking passion flower orally for eight weeks may help some ADHD symptoms in kids aged 6 to 13 years.

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The herb valerian has relaxation properties. Additionally, it contains some anticonvulsant qualities that might be advantageous for kids who are prone to seizure activity. Children with ADHD, cognitive impairment, hyperactivity, irritability, anxiety, behavioural regulation, and neurodevelopmental abnormalities can benefit from valerian for improved attention and sleep.

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The most well-known essential oil for soothing is lavender. Lavender essential oil can be helpful for reducing anxiety and making you feel more at ease, which may help with ADHD symptoms. The aroma of lavender oil can calm and soothe the nervous system. Its relaxing qualities can benefit autistic children by enhancing their sleep quality and also assisting their bodies in combating emotional stress.

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Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric is known to improve spatial memory, long-time retrieval and also visual memory as per a study. It helps in managing anxiety, depression etc which is commonly seen in people with ADHD disorder.

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Ginkgo biloba is a promising herbal supplement that may alter the neural system in a disorder similar to ADHD. It also helps in enhancing the memory and cognitive performance. According to a study, Children who took a ginkgo extract daily for three to five weeks showed a decrease in the symptoms of ADHD.

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Sunflower lecithin is an excellent source of choline, a vital nutrient required for a variety of health functions. Since choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning, choline is also particularly significant for maintaining good brain function.

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Research found that exposure to the aroma of rosemary oil improved people’s performance on thinking tasks in terms of speed and also accuracy.

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