ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder Treatment in Pittsburgh, PA
ODD | Diagnosing the Disorder
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavioral disorder which has been the topic of much discussion amongst parents and psychologists. Being stubborn, defiant, or reckless are all fairly common traits in children. Because of this, ODD can be hard to distinguish from the expected amount of defiance and misbehavior you’ll find in almost any child. To remedy this, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has published criteria for diagnosing a child with the disorder. There are three categories of behavior that children with ODD exhibit:
- Anger or Irritability
A child with ODD must demonstrate at least four symptoms, all of which fall under one of the three behavioral categories. These symptoms include:
- Displaying at least two instances of spiteful and/or vindictive behavior in a six-month period.
- Deliberately engaging in annoying, argumentative or defiant behavior.
- Displaying frequent loss of temper.
- Frequently blaming others for their actions.
The child must also exhibit these behaviors to/in front of people that are not siblings. The child’s actions must also not be accounted for by another disorder or condition. Episodes caused by this behavior must lead to significant problems at school/work/home. A child who is diagnosed with ODD may also be at risk of developing conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety , depression , and certain communication disorders. These conditions may cause serious problems in school/work performance as well as an increased risk of substance abuse and antisocial behavior down the road.
Almost every condition, disorder, or disease is influenced by a person’s genetics and their environment. While there is not much that can be done to remedy genetic influences of ODD, parents can control certain environmental factors. Making sure a child is well-supervised, fairly disciplined, and is never abused or neglected are all ways in which to decrease the chances of your child developing ODD.
ODD | Treatment
When parents decide that it’s time to address the issue, many of them are already at wit’s end. Treatment for ODD often comes in the form of therapy involving the relationship and interactions between parent and child. Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) is used to strengthen communication between parent and child. In this approach, a child with ODD enters a testing area and completes a series of interactions and activities with their parents. A psychologist guides the parent’s interactions and responses, typically using an earpiece. The goal is to establish stronger, healthier communication between the parent and child as well as teaching the parent positive communication strategies to use in future interactions.
Cognitive problem solving training is also used to change the mindset of the child and correct for some of the thought processes that lead to negative behavior in the first place. Aside from some of the more strictly defined methods of treatment for ODD, counseling sessions for the child and/or the parent may hash out some of the underlying influencers of the disorder.
ODD | Management Strategies
There are a daunting number of challenges associated with raising a child with ODD. Fortunately, a number of tips and tricks have been identified which can help both parents and children grow together.
- Establish routines: Having a set bed time, a time for meals, and for family activities can help children with ODD know when and how to compromise and negotiate. It also helps develop the discipline they need to follow the schedule despite wanting to do something else.
- Set an example: Children’s behavior is often influenced by the behavior of their parents. Living by the same rules and restrictions you set for your children helps them see the reasoning for their existence.
- Assign chores: Establishing a clearly-defined list of chores and holding your child accountable for completing them helps instill discipline and obedience as may foster a desire for parental approval.
- Allow some give and take: By allowing your child to get their way on occasion (perhaps after a period of good behavior or after completing their chores), they may be more willing to accept future negotiations or go above and beyond in their chores/responsibilities to earn similar opportunities.
Raising a child with oppositional defiant disorder can be demanding and exhausting. Contact ODD experts in your area today for the support you need. Call (724) 915-1049 or contact Dr. Martin Gallagher online.
Medical Wellness Associates
Jeannette, PA 15644
8:00 am - 7:30 pm
Tue: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 7:30 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 5:30 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm