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What Happens To Untreated Oppositional Defiant Disorder & When To Go To Doctor?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a behavioral disorder represented by the frequent outburst of anger, irritation, argument, and vindictiveness in children. These behaviors are more observed against the authority figures. It commonly affects children age 6-8 years. Male children are more affected than adults having female children. It can also appear in adults. It affects the family, social, school, and work-life of the concerned child. It cannot be managed by parents alone, mental health professionals and child development experts may help to treat them.

What Happens To Untreated Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Children and teenagers who develop oppositional defiant disorder may represent troubled relationships at home with parents, siblings, and other family members, in school with teachers, and other people who are authority figures. Children with oppositional defiant disorder face struggle to mingle in society and involve in friendship and relationships. (2)

The untreated oppositional defiant disorder may cause problems like poor performance in the school and work, antisocial behavior, impulse control problems, Substance abuse disorder, and suicidal tendency. It is often associated with other mental disorders such as Attention-deficit or hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, depression, anxiety, and Learning and communication disorders. (2)

Treatment of other mental health disorders may help to improve the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder. It is necessary to assess these disorders and treat them properly; otherwise, it becomes difficult to treat oppositional defiant disorder. (2)

When To Go To A Doctor For Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

The affected child usually cannot observe problems in his or her behavior. Instead, he or she will put forward unreasonable demands and may blame others for problems. The parents have to find out any change in the behavior of any other disruptive behavior in the child. If such disruptive behavior is indicated in the child or if parents are concerned about the changes in the behavior of the child, one can go to a child psychologist or a child psychiatrist who has expertise in disruptive behavior problems. (2)

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. (2)

It is observed that in oppositional defiant disorder, even most mild-mannered children show frequent outbursts of anger, frustration, and vindictiveness against authority figures. It adversely affects the child’s performance and relationship in school, work, and social life. It is found that 1 in 16 percent of school-going children. Its incidence is more common in boys than girls. It tends to appear in children age between 6 -8 years. However, it also affects adults. It is more common in adults in whom it remained undiagnosed in their childhood. (1)

Oppositional defiant disorder is represented by the following symptoms-

  • Frequent tantrums or episodes of anger
  • Excessive arguing with adults especially those who are authority figures
  • Does not want to comply with adult requests
  • Always complaining or questioning or disobeying rules
  • Blaming others for their misbehaviors or mistakes
  • Easily get irritated
  • Vindictiveness
  • Deliberately involved in the activities to upset, irritate or anger others

These symptoms appear in patterns and in groups that have been continuing for more than six months to indicate ODD. Single symptom never points to oppositional defiant disorder. (1)


Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a behavioral disorder appearing in children and young teenagers. When oppositional defiant disorder is left untreated, it leads to issues like antisocial behavior, poor performance in the school and work, and others discussed above. The untreated oppositional defiant disorder often leads to conduct behavior.

When symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder are indicated in young children, and they are disruptive and out of proportion of their age, then one should seek the help of the doctor.


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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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