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Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder A Serious Condition & Can It Be Reversed?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a psychiatric condition characterized by continuous uncooperative, hostile, and defiant behavior of the children towards the people who are in authority. It affects the routine functioning of the children that involve activities and relationships happening in the school and home. It affects boys more than girls. It develops in the age of 6-8 years. However, it can also appear in adults. It is usually diagnosed in adults in whom it often goes undiagnosed in childhood. The exact cause of this condition is not known.

Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder A Serious Condition?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a mental disorder appearing in the children represented by a continuous pattern of irritability, anger, arguing, defiance, or vindictiveness towards any authority or administrative figure. It may happen even in best-behaved children who maybe sometimes challenging and difficult to manage. (1)

Oppositional defiant disorder is a common disorder that appears in early teenage. These children express their feelings through argument, disobeying, and rebellion behavior towards their parents, teachers, and other authority figures. This behavior is observed for more than six months and excessive according to the age of the child. In this condition, these behaviors are continuously displayed in the pattern. These behaviors involve anger, irritable mood, defiant, or argument behavior towards authority figures.

It continually affects the daily activities of the child, whether he is in the school or at home or in the social gathering. (2)

In many cases, children and teenagers have associated mental problems such as attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders. If it is left untreated, ODD may develop into more serious behavioral issues, which is known as conduct disorder. (3)

Children and teenagers with the oppositional defiant disorder may have troubling behavior at home with parents and siblings, in school with teachers, and other authority figures. Children with ODD may face problems related to social involvement with friends and relationships.

Oppositional defiant disorder may result in problems like:

Poor performance in the school and work

Antisocial behavior

Problems related control of impulse

Substance abuse

Suicidal tendency

Other mental health disorders can develop, such as:

If these other mental health disorders are treated, then the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder may also improve. If these complications are not evaluated and treated appropriately, then ODD gets difficult to treat. It is not a serious disorder, but when associated with other mental disorders or left untreated. (1)

Treatment for oppositional defiant disorder primarily started with family-based interventions. However, it may involve other types of psychotherapy and training meant for both affected children and parents. Treatment of this disorder usually takes several months or more.

Medications alone generally are not required for oppositional defiant disorder unless your child also exhibits another mental health disorder. If your child has associated mental illness, like anxiety or depression, ADHD, medications may help improve these symptoms along with the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder.

Oppositional defiant disorder can be managed well with the following therapies-

  • Parent training
  • Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT)
  • Individual and family therapy
  • Cognitive problem-solving training
  • Social skills training (3)

Can Oppositional Defiant Disorder Be Reversed?

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) cannot be cured or reversed; however, the main symptoms of ODD can be managed. (4)


The oppositional defiant disorder is a mental disorder that develops in children of young age represented by excessive anger, irritability, argumentation, and defiance towards people in authority. It is not a severe disorder if detected earlier and managed in time. If it is left untreated, it may develop into a serious disease named conduct disorder. It cannot be reversed entirely, but its symptoms can be managed well.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 3, 2020

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