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How To Diagnose Oppositional Defiant Disorder & What Is The Best Medicine For It?

Oppositional defiant disorder refers to a health condition, where any child displays a continuing pattern related to defiant, uncooperative, hostile and annoying behavior towards the authority people. This type of behavior results in a disruption in the daily activities of a child, which includes activities and relationships of the child in his/her family and at the school.

Almost every child may dhow defiant or oppositional behavior once or twice in a while. These kids may express defiance by disobeying, arguing or talking back to elders at home. However, when the behavior lasts for more than six months and exceeds than usual according to the age of a child, he or she may suffer from the problem of oppositional defiant disorder. Most of the teens and children with this type of disorder may experience other health issues, like learning disabilities, anxiety and mood disorders, including the problem of depression. Besides, a few of the kids may experience ADHD i.e. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and often a severe type of behavioral condition i.e. conduct disorder.(1)

How To Diagnose Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

To determine the problem of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) in children, a psychiatrist will conduct a comprehensive psychological evaluation. As ODD may take place with various other mental health or behavioral problems, symptoms related to oppositional defiant disorder are difficult to differentiate from the ones associated with other problems. Your evaluation of your child’s mental health will contain a detailed assessment of-

  • The child’s overall health
  • Intensity and frequency of your child’s behaviors
  • Behavior and emotions across different relationships and settings
  • Analysis of family interactions and the current situation of the family
  • Strategies, which may help or not help to manage any behavioral problem
  • Identifying the presence of any type of mental health, communication or learning disorders.(2)

What Is The Best Medicine For Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Until now, doctors are unable to get formal approval or scientifically established of any medicine to treat the problem of oppositional defiant disorder. However, your child’s mental health expert may recommend certain drugs to treat the underlying symptoms. These are medications to cure irritability, impulsivity and other types of mental illnesses, like depression and ADHD.(3)

Medicines To Deal With ADHD Symptoms Associated With ODD

Until now, psychiatrists have recommended the following types of medicines to deal with ADHD symptoms associated with the oppositional defiant disorder.

Stimulants: Stimulants help you to focus on your thoughts and overlook various other distractions. Medicines available under this category work for about 70% to 80% people. These are useful in the treatment of both moderate and severe types of ADHD. These are helpful for children and teens experiencing a hard time at home or school.

Non-Stimulants: Alternatively, doctors may recommend for non-stimulant types of medications to improve various symptoms, like impulse control and concentration.

Antidepressants: Patients suffering from ADHD often experience anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder problems. These patients may intake antidepressants to control various mental problems and related conditions, including various ADHD stimulants.(4)

Anti-anxiety Medications: Most of the anti-anxiety drugs are useful for the treatment of anxiety disorders, like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder. These medicines reduce insomnia and agitation problems.

Mood Stabilizers Types Of Medications: Mood stabilizers are specific types of medications, which treat bipolar disorders. These are alternative episodes of depression and mania. A few of the mood-stabilizing medications are useful in the treatment of depression also.

Antipsychotic Medications: Antipsychotic drugs or medications are useful in the treatment of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. In some cases, antipsychotic medicines are useful for the treatment of bipolar disorders and depression.(5)


Psychiatrists and other mental healthcare experts may identify the problem of oppositional defiant disorder in kids based on behavioral analysis of a child. However, medications are recommended according to the underlying symptoms of the affected child.


Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 2, 2020

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