Symptoms And Causes You Must Know About

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Oppositional Defiant Disorder: Symptoms And Causes You Must Know About

We all behave in a certain way and there is always an ideal behavior which is expected from you. This is more common in children because they need to be trained in a certain way in order to have good behavior. However, it not always happens and due to lack of communication with parents or problems in raising children, you may face oppositional defiant behavior disorder. This is a basically a children’s mental health disorder but it can occur to adults in some conditions as well. Oppositional defiant disorder is a condition of disruptive behavior which could cause problems to the person and people around him. Let us discuss about this mental health condition in detail with help of an expert.

What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

We spoke to Dr. Tanu Chowdhury, Clinical Psychologist from Healthcare Clinic, Lucknow to know about oppositional defiant disorder in detail. She told us that this is a childhood mental health condition that could get worse with passing time. Nearly every child has this emotional outburst or occasional frustration because of which he may disobey, but it is temporary. This mental health disorder can be observed when there are constant temper issues, tantrums and lack of empathy for his parents as a child. This can also develop a sense of behavioral problems such as not following instructions, indulging in wrong acts, etc.


How to know Oppositional Defiant disorder?

Here are some behavioral issues that can suggest that a child has this disorder-

  • Vindictiveness towards others
  • Irritable nature in child, not talking properly to anyone or staying in angry or short temper mood most of the time
  • There is a long standing pattern of defiant behavior where child has argumentative behavior towards his caregivers, parents and friends. 

Children having ODD can be very challenging to communicate and that is the main reason that this disorder needs to be attended very carefully. Usually the behavior of children with defiant disorder is worse in ages between 5-15 years of age. This is because they understand what they need and continuously try to indulge in activities that have been exempted for them. 

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Symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

There are no symptoms that can determine ODD until the child reaches pre-school, this is where he is almost 4-5 years of age. Children are able to ask and develop the understanding of things around them and hence they also develop a tendency of becoming very argumentative. 

Nearly early teenagers show maximum symptoms of defiant behavior. They can have these following signs if they are close of ODD-

  • Not following instructions given to children
  • Being unresponsive in class and not taking part in activities
  • Argument with teachers at school and with parents at home
  • Fighting with sibling or friends often
  • Loss of concentration and poor results
  • Indulging in mischief that may harm or injure the other person
  • Trying to break things just of make themselves heard

What are the Causes of Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

1. Genetic and Biological Factors 

In most of the cases if the parents are having some behavioral problems then it can get transferred in their kids also. This is because of the genetical and biological factors. Interestingly around 50% of children that are affected by oppositional defiant disorder are because of genetic and biological factors that follow. ADHD is one of the major causes that contribute in this disorder.


According to our expert, there are different kinds of impulse controls that take place in the brain of certain people. As a result of this condition, they face problems such as social behavioral issues, problems in concentrating, empathy issues and some more. Parents of children having these problems can get carried away to their children as well.

2. Environmental and Problems in the upbringing

Some parents lack skills to raise their children and are extremely negative about giving time to their children. Because of this condition, children also do not follow their instruction and there is lack of communication that is established. It results to defiant behavior in children and they tend to be more irritated at times. 

Other environmental factors can include-

  • Harsh or permissive parenting
  • Negative reinforcement or problems in the behavior of the children
  • Neglectful parenting
  • Having a hard time with the caregivers because children are detached from them
  • Disruptive behavior in children because of seeing similar environment around them 
  • Being involved in social conflicts and are seen fighting more often with their friends or other children
  • Not behaving properly with their teachers and mentors
  • Violence in home or in the neighboring areas that impacts minds of children
  • Inconsistent parenting style or not giving proper time to their kids

Also Read- Anxiety Attack Symptoms: When To Seek Help From An Expert

3. Personality and temperament issues

There could also be oppositional defiant disorder in children and adults because of several underlying issues that can happen. These issues are more common towards adults-

  • Due to lack of emotional regulation
  • Having impulsive behavior
  • Getting irritated and reactive more frequently
  • Difficulty in regulating emotions
  • Having low frustration tolerance and problems in behavior
  • Lack of sensitivity for other 
  • Lack of empathy


Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Adults

Defiant behavior in adults is usually because they have not being diagnosed for this condition in their early life stages. As a result of it, they have developed and caused defiant disorder which has most probably increased with time. In this condition, they continue to show more problems as they grow up and get irritated with every other situation. 

In some conditions, oppositional defiant disorder also develops in adults. This is rare but it can happen because of the following issues-

  1. Having anger or frustration towards the society because of some trauma
  2. Feeling of being misunderstood all the time
  3. It can be because of people disliking them for their behavior, style, looks or some other cause
  4. Being impatient with others
  5. Due to strong attitude and opinion towards the authorities of political views
  6. It can be because of getting rejected in romantic relationships, maintain jobs, social relationships, friendships and other conflicts
  7. Finding it hard to follow rules because of different sorts of expectation or upbringing
  8. Developing a habit of defending themselves forcefully

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