What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)?

The co-morbid condition of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) occurs in around a third to a half of children with ADHD.

Most children can be difficult and challenging at times and the difference between an emotional or strong-willed child and one with ODD might be hard to distinguish sometimes. Indeed, oppositional behavior can be perfectly normal at certain developmental stages such as with toddler tantrums or teenagers. However, if your child or teen displays tantrums, argumentative and angry or disruptive behavior toward you and other authority figures persistently, he or she may have oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).

ODD almost always develops before the early teen years with signs of ODD generally beginning before a child is 8 years old, although sometimes it may develop later.

The signs of ODD behavior generally tend to begin gradually and worsen over months or years.

What behaviours are associated with ODD?

  • Negativity
  • Defiance
  • Disobedience
  • Hostility directed toward authority figures

What do ODD symptoms look like?

  • Having temper tantrums
  • Being argumentative with adults
  • Refusing to comply with adult requests or rules
  • Deliberately annoying other people
  • Blaming others for mistakes/misbehavior
  • Becoming annoyed easily
  • Feeling angry and resentful
  • Acting spitefully or vindictively
  • Act aggressively toward peers
  • Finding maintaining friendships difficult
  • Having academic problems
  • Lacking self-esteem
  • Not seeing his/her behaviour as defiant
  • Believing unreasonable demands are being made of him/her

How will a diagnosis be made?

For a diagnosis to be made the symptoms and behaviours must:

  • be persistent
  • have lasted at least 6 months
  • be disruptive to the family and home or school environment

Up to 30% of children diagnosed with ODD may go on to develop Conduct Disorder.

Biomedical practitioners believe that ODD can have its roots in a chemical or nutritional imbalance within the body and can be managed with dietary and supplemental changes.


PANDAS is an acronym for a condition called Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus (PANDAS). Current research suggests that symptoms of Tourette’s and OCD have been associated with PANDAS at least in some cases. PANDAS results from the effect of the body's own immune system's antibodies attacking parts of the brain. The onset usually occurs following an ear, nose or throat (ENT) infection from Group A Beta Haemolytic Streptococcus (GABHS). GABHS antibodies in some cases can damage parts of the brain resulting in a range of behavioural disorders. OCD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Tourette’s, ADHD and even psychosis.

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