Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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I could really use some help...

I really could use some help with dealing with my 9-year-old son, who may be dealing with this ODD disorder. He is very disrespectful towards myself, and I am his mother, also to his siblings not quite as bad, and a tiny bit with his father. He is fine with his friends and does great in school. I don't feel that physically hitting him is going to make the situation any better and is only making him resent me even more. How can I go about getting an accurate diagnose for his behaviors? Thanks, you may email me @ anytime.


ODD is a psychiatric disorder that is characterized by two different sets of problems. These are aggressiveness and a tendency to purposefully bother and irritate others. It is often the reason that people seek treatment. When ODD is present with ADHD, depression, Tourette's, anxiety disorders, or other neuropsychiatric disorders, it makes life with that child far more difficult. For Example, ADHD plus ODD is much worse than ADHD alone, often enough to make people seek treatment. The criteria for ODD are:

A pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least six months during which four or more of the following are present:

1. Often loses temper

2. Often argues with adults

3. Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules

4. Often deliberately annoys people

5. Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior

6. Is often touchy or easily annoyed by others

7. Is often angry and resentful

8. Is often spiteful and vindictive

The disturbance in behavior causes clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.

All of the criteria above include the word "often". But what exactly does that mean? Recent studies have shown that these behaviors occur to a varying degree in all children. These researchers have found that the "often" is best solved by the following criteria.

Has occurred at all during the last three months:

Is spiteful and vindictive
Blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior

Occurs at least twice a week:

Is touchy or easily annoyed by others
Loses temper
Argues with adults
Actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules

Occurs at least four times per week:

Is angry and resentful
Deliberately annoys people

The usual pattern is for problems to begin between ages 1-3. A lot of these behaviors are normal at age 2, but in this disorder they never go away. It does run in families. If a parent is alcoholic and has been in trouble with the law, their children are almost three times as likely to have ODD.

ODD is diagnosed in the same way as many other psychiatric disorders in children. You need to examine the child, talk with the child, talk to the parents, and review the medical history. Sometimes other medical tests are necessary to make sure it is not something else. You always need to check children out for other psychiatric disorders, as it is common the children with ODD will have other problems, too.

What can parents do? They can use the strategies outline in my eBook:

Mark Hutten, M.A.

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