New Member
Hey everyone, tomorrow is difficult child's first appointment. with a 2nd dr. to get a 2nd opinion. I have read a lot of info on ODD and there are a lot of underlying problems/causes, etc. What can you guys tell me about things like that? I don't want to be unprepared. Thanx


Well-Known Member
ODD is a symptom that almost every single child on this board has. It rarely travels alone. ADHD is often misdiagnosed and is very often a first diagnosis but is also often not the last one. It is impossible to tell you what to expect tomorrow, but I'd just keep an open mind and, at the same time, take it with a grain of salt. You have a three year old--it is nearly impossible to nail the right diagnosis at that age. When the child gets older, then you get a better idea of what is going on. What I'd do is have him evaluated/tested in all areas of his functioning so that you can get him help/interventions in Early Education, even if it's just emotional support for him. That is given thru the school district and gives you free hours to recover for his arrival home.
My son was dxd. ADHD/ODD at three, but it wasn't right. He went through several diagnosis. before he got the right one. I'd concentrate more on how to help him. If he has any delays or motor skills issues, I'd want them addressed in school. Most of all, relax. At his age, nothing is written in stone.


Well-Known Member
This is from our archives:

Oppositional Defiance Disorder
Oppositional Defiance Disorder is a supposed and largely disputed 'mental illness' characterized by an ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile, and defiant behavior toward authority figures that goes beyond the bounds of normal childhood behavior.

When a child cannot seem to control his anger or frustration, even over what seems to be trivial or simple to others, the child will often react in violent or negative ways to his own feelings.

In its basic form, Oppositional Defiance Disorder has specific criteria, according to the DSM-IV-TR, the diagnostic manual of mental disorders. The defiance must interfere with the child’s ability to function, first of all, either in school, home, or the community. Secondly, the defiance cannot be happening just because of another problem, such as depression, anxiety, or the more serious Conduct Disorder. Third, the child’s problem behaviors have been happening for at least six months. In these last six months, at least FOUR of the following eight problems have been happening most every day, or almost all the time:

Losing temper
Arguing with adults
Refusing to follow the rules
Deliberately annoying people
Blaming others
Easily annoyed
Angry and resentful
Spiteful or even revengeful
If the child meets at least four of this criteria, and the rest described above, then he or she technically meets the definition of Oppositionally Defiant.

In a clinical setting, typical treatment begins with a careful assessment. Assessment requires that a professional therapist, first of all, take a psychological history and develop a family genogram. That’s a sort of picture of the family, like a family tree, that helps put relationships and resources into perspective. Afterward, the therapist asks questions and listens to the parent and child describe what is going on with the child. This is known as the presenting problem. Experienced therapists will be interested in exceptions to the problem, or times when the child is not defiant, and why that may be. There will also be questions about parenting style, starting back when the child was a baby, as well as school, typical family schedules and routines, and ways that conflict is managed. The clinician will try to rule out another mental illness first, in order to focus the right amount of energy and direction on treating the defiance. Other questions will help to fill in the background necessary to get started. This initial assessment might take about 30 minutes, but is often longer.

The next step is to lay out a treatment plan. This might take a couple of sessions. There are several effective and research-proven ways to treat defiance, but the most effective and research-driven technique is a combination of Parent Management Training and an individualized Behavioral Modification Plan. Although each family is treated uniquely, there are certain qualities to this approach that are the same. With Parent Management Training, most of the energy and work with the therapist is directed at the parents, emphasizing new ways to manage the child. The Behavioral Modification Plan will outline rules of the home and society. It will also include rewards the child can earn for following the rules, and consequences associated with breaking the rules. In those consequences, there will be specific steps to follow to make sure the child is held accountable, learns from mistakes, and is ultimately successful.

Eventually, there will be progress, until the child understands that following the rules is a necessary part of life. Although it is possible to complete this treatment program alone, success is almost always more likely with the help and close support of a professional clinician experienced in the use of Parent Management Training and behavioral modification. Typical treatment of moderate to severe defiance requires four to five months. Several visits are usually necessary to get background and rule out other concerns, explain the process, answer questions, and get ready. At least one visit is necessary to develop and practice the Behavioral Modification Plan. The intensive treatment that follows usually involves two or three weeks in itself. The “maintenance phase” afterward can last from a month or two to six months, although most families are very happy with the results within six weeks, and termination, the final phase, is just one visit.

Some critics have taken the view that at least some behaviour diagnosed as mental illness is in fact a mentally healthy reaction to circumstances of life or unreasonable behaviour of parents or other authorities.

See for example

Drapetomania - a 'mental disorder' suffered by slaves which caused them to want to run away.
Sluggishly Progressing Schizophrenia, another 'mental illness', affecting political dissidents in the former Soviet Union.

See also
Controversy about ADHD (details similar arguments that surround Oppositional Defiance Disorder)
Conduct disorder
Bipolar disorder

xternal links
Mental article
The Scotsman article
eMedicine article
NIH article about ODD
Web site for parents of children with Conduct Disorders
Song critical of ODD