The troubling symptoms of ODD often occur with ADHD

Oppositional defiant disorder, or ODD, is a condition that is often seen in children and teens with ADHD. According to one report, roughly 30 to 50 percent of youth with ADHD also have ODD or a different disruptive behavior disorder known as conduct disorder.

Before puberty, ODD is more common in boys than girls, according to some researchers. The condition can be a particularly thorny issue for parents, teachers and others because ODD is characterized by a number of troubling symptoms.

Symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a child with oppositional defiant disorder exhibits two or more of the following behaviors quite often:

  • loses temper
  • argues with adults
  • actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules
  • deliberately annoys people
  • blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
  • is touchy or easily annoyed by others
  • is angry and resentful
  • is spiteful or vindictive

For ODD to be diagnosed, troubling behaviors must persist for six months or more and must be serious enough to interfere with day-to-day interactions with people and functioning at home; in more severe cases, the behavior spills into school life and other settings. The behavior goes beyond what's typical of children the same age.

A child with ODD usually develops the disorder by 8 years old. Identifying ODD as early as possible is important because the condition can cause a number of social, academic, developmental and health problems if left untreated.

A doctor will diagnose ODD based upon a child or teenager's medical history, physical examination, behavioral observations, psychological assessment tools and reports from parents and teachers.

Treating Oppositional Defiant Disorder

The treatment of ODD usually involves some combination of psychological counseling and behavioral modification. When a child also has ADHD (a comorbid condition), medications like stimulants or other ADHD drugs may be used. Currently, there are no medications specifically for ODD. For parents of children with ODD, support programs and workshops are available.


American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

American Psychiatric Association: DSM-V Development

Merck Manual

Publication Review By: the Editorial staff at

Published: 09 Feb 2011

Last Modified: 27 Aug 2015