Self-Test: Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Does your child have Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), or is it just normal moodiness? Take the ODD self-test below to find out.

Signs of Oppositional Defiant Disorder will generally begin before your son or daughter is 8 years old. Occasionally, Oppositional Defiant Disorder can develop later, but it almost always develops before the age of 13.

When Oppositional Defiant Disorder behavior develops, the signs tend to begin gradually, but then worsen over subsequent months and years.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder: Self-Test—

My child:
  1. Is often a very negative person. Y or N
  2. Is often disobedient. Y or N
  3. Has had several suspensions and after-school detentions. Y or N
  4. Is often hostile or disrespectful toward authority figures. Y or N
  5. Uses excessive profanity. Y or N
  6. May be experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Y or N
  7. Has severe temper tantrums when things don’t go his/her way. Y or N
  8. Is frequently argumentative with adults. Y or N
  9. Often refuses to follow the rules at home and school. Y or N
  10. Often annoys other people deliberately. Y or N
  11. Usually blames others for his/her mistakes and misbehavior. Y or N
  12. Is touchy and easily annoyed. Y or N
  13. Seems to have a lot of anger. Y or N
  14. Seems to harbor a lot of resentment. Y or N
  15. Can be very vindictive (i.e., seeks revenge against those he/she is mad at). Y or N
  16. Is verbally aggressive toward peers. Y or N
  17. Is physically aggressive toward peers. Y or N
  18. Has difficulty maintaining friendships. Y or N
  19. Is having academic problems (i.e., makes poor grades). Y or N
  20. Seems to have very low self-esteem. Y or N
  21. Does NOT see anything wrong with his/her attitude or behavior. Y or N
  22. Believes that unreasonable demands are being placed on him/her. Y or N
  23. Has been defiant for 6 months or longer. Y or N
  24. Is disruptive to the family. Y or N
  25. Is disruptive to the home environment. Y or N
  26. Is disruptive to the school environment. Y or N
  27. Is persistently defiant (i.e., it occurs nearly every day). Y or N
  28. Does not care about school and is not worried about failing. Y or N
  29. Has threatened to run away – or has run away.
  30. Often says, “I hate __________” (e.g., I hate you … I hate that teacher … I hate school … etc.). Y or N

If you answered ‘yes’ to any 3 of the statements above, it should be a red flag that your child is headed for trouble.

If you answered ‘yes’ to 5 or more, then it is highly likely that he/she has Oppositional Defiant Disorder and should be tested by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist.

==> Help for Parents with Oppositional Defiant Children and Teens

How Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder diagnosed?

While there is no single test that can diagnose Oppositional Defiant Disorder, a mental health professional can determine whether a youngster or teenager has the disorder by assessing the youngster’s symptoms and behaviors and by using clinical experience to make a diagnosis.

Many moms and dads first call upon the youngster’s doctor for an evaluation. This evaluation typically begins by compiling a medical history and performing a physical examination.

During the evaluation, the youngster’s doctor will look for physical or other mental health issues that may cause problems with behavior. If the physician can’t find a physical cause for the symptoms, he may refer the youngster to a psychiatrist or a mental health professional who is trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses in kids and teenagers.

A psychiatrist or a qualified mental health professional usually diagnoses Oppositional Defiant Disorder. A mental health professional will gather information from moms and dads, educators, and daycare providers as well as from the youngster.

Gathering information from as many people as possible will help the physician determine how often the behaviors occur and where. It also will help her determine how the behaviors affect the different areas of the youngster’s life.

The mental health professional will determine whether:

• The behavior is a result of stressful situations within the home
• The behavior is severe
• The youngster reacts negatively to all authority figures, or only his mom and dad
• The conflicts are with peers or authority figures

Answering these questions will help a mental health professional determine whether the youngster or teenager has developed Oppositional Defiant Disorder or is responding to a short-lived, stressful situation.

Assessment tools (e.g., rating scales, questionnaires) may help the youngster’s physician measure the severity of the behaviors. These tools also may assist in establishing a diagnosis and tracking progress once treatment begins.

In addition to establishing a primary diagnosis, the physician will look for signs of other conditions that often occur along with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (e.g., ADHD, anxiety, mood disorders). The physician also should look for signs that the youngster has been involved in bullying (as either the victim or perpetrator). Involvement in bullying often is a sign that the youngster is at risk for aggression and violence.

Like many mental health disorders, Oppositional Defiant Disorder is not always easy to accurately diagnose. Open communication among the mental health professional and the moms and dads and youngster can help overcome the difficulties diagnosing this disorder. For example, some kids see their behaviors as justified and are unmotivated to change. Also, some moms and dads can become defensive when questioned about their parenting style. Having the parent and the youngster view the mental health professional as an ally can help.

==> Parenting Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder