Understanding Your Child’s Bad Attitude

Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) versus Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Parents severely struggling with their young child’s attitude often turn to their family practitioners for a diagnosis that can be treatable with a lifetime subscription to mood altering medications. This is due, in part, to the similarities of ADD (or even ADHD) and ODD.

Moreover, proper diagnosis of ODD is complicated by the similarities between ADD/ADHD and bipolar disorder. For example, mood shifts within children could be related to symptoms of both ADD/ADHD and bipolar disorder.

However, children with just ODD often act disruptive and attempt to annoy or irritate parents and other authority figures while displaying the aptitude and intellect of awareness of their actions. Ultimately, these children attempt to break rules, cause havoc, and challenge those in charge. Some typical behaviors seen with children who have ODD include: hypersensitivity, rage, resentment, and vengeance.[1]

Because ODD is similar to ADD/ADHD in certain respects, prescriptions are indeed written. However, while a few studies have shown successful results with drug treatment, the methodology with which these studies were implemented is often called into question.[2] In an effort to redefine ODD, practitioners are pushing ODD to be classified like other chronic diseases (e.g., heart disease or high blood pressure).[3]

As a result of this type of classification, the pills get put aside and instead a repetitive psychological approach is preferred. It is imperative for parents to treat the “disease” via maintaining a rigorous routine with the child in order to develop traits that are essential to functioning in society when the child becomes an adult.

Such routines must involve a support team consisting of everyone around them to chip-in and help. Rules need to be set in place at home, at school, and other places where the children may go so corrective actions can be properly enforced and good behavior rewarded. Without such parental treatment, the child’s success rate of overcoming ODD’s limitations is substantially lowered.