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Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is defined as an enduring pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that does not involve major antisocial violations, is not accounted for by the child's developmental stage, and results in significant functional impairment. A certain level of oppositional behavior is common in children and adolescents.

It should be considered a disorder only when the behaviors are more frequent and intense than in unaffected peers and when they cause dysfunction in social, academic, or work-related oppositional defiant disorder, oppositional disorder, defiant.

For at least 6 months, these person's show defiant, hostile, negativistic behavior; 4 or more of the following often apply:-

Losing temper.
Arguing with adults.
Actively defying or refusing to carry out the rules or requests of adults.
Deliberately doing things that annoy others.
Blaming others for own mistakes or misbehavior.
Being touchy or easily annoyed by others.
Being angry and resentful.
Being spiteful or vindictive.

The symptoms cause clinically important distress or impair work, school or social functioning.

The symptoms do not occur in the course of a Mood or Psychotic Disorder.

The symptoms do not fulfill criteria for Conduct Disorder.

If older than age 18, the patient does not meet criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Associated Features:

Learning Problem
Depressed Mood
Dramatic or Erratic or Antisocial Personality

Differential Diagnosis:

Some disorders have similar or even the same symptoms. The clinician, therefore, in his/her diagnostic attempt, has to differentiate against the following disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis

Conduct Disorder;
Mood Disorders;
Psychotic Disorders;
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder;
Mental Retardation; impaired language comprehension;
Typical feature of certain developmental stages


No systematic research into the causes of oppositional defiant disorder has been conducted. Its etiology is believed to be multifactorial. Genetic and environmental factors are probably combined. Children with oppositional defiant disorder are more likely to have family history of disruptive behavior disorders, substance-use disorders, or mood disorders.


Extremely few studies are available on the treatment outcome of oppositional defiant disorder.

Counseling and Psychotherapy [ See Therapy Section ]:

A variety of treatment approaches are commonly employed in clinical practice, including behavior therapy, various forms of family therapy, parent management training, and dynamic psychotherapy.

related books
  Defiant Child, The: A Parent's Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder
UK Support Groups
  The Discovery Centre

4a Church Road
CF14 2DZ
Tel: 029 2062 8222
Fax: 029 2062 8333
Email:info@dyscovery.co.uk Web: http://www.dyscovery.co.uk

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Page Updated
20th July 2003