502 A Red Banks Rd,
Greenville, NC 27858

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)


Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavior disorder commonly diagnosed in childhood. Children with ODD are typically uncooperative, defiant, and hostile towards figures of authority like teachers, parents, and peers. 

Causes of ODD

Researchers do not know what causes ODD, but two theories known as the developmental theory and the learning theory are possible reasons. The developmental theory suggests that issues begin at the toddler age. Children and teens with ODD may have struggled with becoming independent from a parent or person to whom they were emotionally attached. The learning theory suggests that the negative symptoms of ODD are learned attitudes that mirror the effects of negative reinforcement used by parents and other authoritative figures. Negative reinforcement increases ODD behaviors because they give the child a reaction from parents or others. Children with mood or anxiety disorders, conduct disorder, and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to have ODD.


Many children disobey their parents and argue with them, but in those with ODD, the symptoms happen more often. They can even interfere with learning and school and may disrupt relationships with others. Symptoms may include:

  • Arguing with adults frequently
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Questioning and refusing to follow rules
  • Angry attitude
  • Intentionally doing things to annoy or upset others
  • Blaming others for their own mistakes or misbehaviors
  • Seeking revenge or being vindictive


Treatment will depend on symptoms, age, and health as well as the severity of the disorder. Treatment may include cognitive-behavior therapy, family therapy, or peer group therapy. To help your child with ODD, talk with your child’s healthcare provider about other providers who will be involved in their care, such as counselors, therapists, psychologists, etc. Take part in your role in family therapy as needed. 

Greenville Psychiatric Associates, PA

Greenville Psychiatric Associates is a locally owned and operated private practice that offers a wide range of outpatient treatments for mental health and substance use disorders. Established in the early 1970s, we have had the privilege of assisting numerous individuals to live a healthier and more fulfilled life. Our psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and licensed therapists offer well-rounded, evidence-based treatment approaches to target most mental health and substance use disorders. Our goal is for you to feel better about yourself and your life.