We all behave badly at times when things go wrong or we feel like the world is against us, and children are no different. They might throw a tantrum or start an argument when they are asked not to do something, but whilst this type of behaviour is perfectly normal, particularly in teenagers, regular patterns of hostile and confrontation behaviour can sometimes indicate that a child has Oppositional Defiant Disorder. So, what are the Oppositional Defiant Disorder DSM diagnostic criteria and are only children affected?
In order to meet the Operational Defiant Disorder DSM criteria, a child must have exhibited a negative pattern of behaviour full of hostility and defiance over a period lasting longer than six months. The DSM lists a number of behavioural traits and a child must have shown at least four of them.
Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder traits may show any or all of the following:
- Frequent loss of temper
- Spiteful and vindictive behaviour
- Pick arguments with adults and show hostility and refuse to comply with figures of authority
- Blame others for their own mistakes
- Get into fights are arguments
- Overly sensitive to criticism and easily annoyed
- Often deliberately annoying to others
Many of the criteria will apply to the majority of children at some point, particularly when they are very young or going through adolescence, but before a child can be firmly diagnosed using the Oppositional Defiant Disorder DMS criteria, the behaviour must occur more frequently than in children of a similar age and cause significant disruption to home and school life.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder DMS and other behavioral disorders
One of the problems with diagnosing a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder is that the symptoms of the disorder are very often mistaken for other, similar, behavioural disorders such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, anxiety or depressive disorders. In some cases, a child may be suffering from more than one behavioural disorder and each problem must be treated separately or one condition can cause another to worsen.
What are the Oppositional Defiant Disorder causes?
The exact causes of Oppositional Defiant Disorder are not known, but experts believe that a combination of environmental and biological factors can lead to propensity for the development of Oppositional Defiant Disorder symptoms. Children who have been abused or neglected, raised in a dysfunctional environment where parental supervision is lacking, or where discipline is inconsistent or overly harsh, are more likely to go on to develop ODD. Research has also indicated that a lack of serotonin on the brain can play a role in the development of the illness.
Oppositional defiant disorder in adults
Children with ODD who do not receive effective treatment can sometimes go on to develop the symptoms of Conduct Disorder or Antisocial Personality Disorder as adults, both of which are closely related to oppositional defiant disorder in children. Indeed, research has indicated that a child with ODD is four times more likely to suffer from a personality disorder in adulthood, although certain factors such as substance abuse and a family history of ADHD can increase the risk level.