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What Are the Symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Most kids argue with moms and dads and defy authority from time to time, especially when they are tired, hungry, or upset. Some of the behaviors associated with Oppositional Defiant Disorder also can arise in kids who are undergoing a transition, who are under stress, or who are in the midst of a crisis. This makes the behavioral symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder sometimes difficult for moms and dads to distinguish from stress-related behaviors.

Kids with Oppositional Defiant Disorder show an ongoing pattern of extreme negativity, hostility, and defiance that:

• Is constant
• Is disruptive to the family and the school
• Is excessive compared with what is usual for the youngster’s age
• Is usually directed toward an authority figure (mother or father, educators, the principal, the coach)
• Lasts at least 6 months

The following behavioral symptoms are associated with Oppositional Defiant Disorder:

• Actively refusing to comply with requests and rules
• Blaming others for their mistakes
• Deliberately annoying and upsetting others
• Excessive arguments with adults
• Frequent outbursts of anger and resentment
• Frequent temper tantrums
• Often questioning rules
• Often touchy or annoyed by others
• Spiteful attitude and revenge seeking

Typically, kids with Oppositional Defiant Disorder do not engage in delinquent behavior. Also, those whose behavioral symptoms are specifically related to a mood disorder (e.g., depression, bipolar disorder) are usually not diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

Recently, it has been discovered that females may show the symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder differently than males. Females with Oppositional Defiant Disorder may show their aggressiveness through words rather than actions and in other indirect ways (e.g., they are more apt to lie and to be uncooperative, while males are more likely to lose their temper and argue with grown-ups).

My Out-of-Control Child: Help for Parents with ODD Children and Teens

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