Disorders in Children: Oppositional Defiant Disorder ODD, Anti-social behavior
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I. What are Conduct Disorders?
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot
coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are
the one who gets burned. ~Buddha
In our society, children and adolescents who
exhibit the complicated group of behavioral and emotional
problems of conduct disorders,
are those children who are considered 'bad', rather than mentally
ill. These children have a great deal of difficulty controlling
their anger, following rules and acting in socially accepted
ways. It has been estimated that these disorders occur in
approximately 3 to 10 children out of 100, with boys more
likely than girls to exhibit this behavior.
The grouping of the behaviors of Conduct
Disorders is broken down into two areas: Conduct Disorder
and Oppositional Disorder. Conduct Disorder (CD) is defined
as a persistent pattern in which the basic rights of others
and important social norms and rules are violated.
The Conduct Disorder syndrome groups may sometimes include
other forms of anti-social behavior such as Explosive Disorders.
Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) is defined as a pattern
of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior without the
more serious violations of the basic rights of others that
are seen in conduct disorders. There are many features that
overlap the two areas of behavior.
II. What are the symptoms of Conduct Disorder?
Symptoms of Conduct Disorder are characterized
by a grouping of behaviors. Some of the behaviors associated
with CD are stealing, running away from home, lying, setting
fires, truancy, vandalism, cruelty to animals and people,
weapon use, and initiating fights.
Some behavioral symptoms associated with ODD
are: losing temper easily, argumentive with both children
and adults, active defiance of rules, angry or resentful,
deliberately annoys others and is easily annoyed, blames others
for their actions, and spiteful and vindictive.
III. How are Conduct Disorders diagnosed?
When CD or ODD is being diagnosed, the diagnostician
or therapist) will ask a series of questions to attempt to
identify the behavior. They will also ask the parents or caregivers
whether or not the child's normal day-to-day activities are
characterized by some of these behavior patterns. They will
want to try to identify a pattern in these behaviors, and
also determine how often they occur. By following a set of
behavior indicators, the diagnosis is made based
on these factors. CD and ODD rarely if ever occur on their
own: usually the child will have some other neuropsychological
disorder such as AD (H) D. These co-occurrences are taken
into consideration when recommendations for treatment are
IV. How are Conduct Disorders and ODD treated?
A. Medication: Medications are rarely
used alone in the treatment of conduct disorder and ODD. They
are used when treating the disorder that occurs simultaneously,
such as ADD, depression and anxiety.
Link here to see medications for other disorders
B. Behavior modification for both parents
and child: Therapist will
work with the child and his or her parents to teach them better
methods. Among the techniques that are used are modeling,
selective reinforcement, and behavioral role-playing.
information on Behavior Modification
C. Community-based residential programs:
Education. These are programs in which children and sometimes
the parents are involved
in social skills training, tutoring, and reinforcement procedures.
D. School interventions if possible.
E. Education: social skills training
F. Residential Treatment Program: How can a residential program
help my child?
V. I suspect that my child has a Conduct
Disorder or ODD-what do I do now?
Professionals to Seek Out
- See your physician
- Consult with your clergy to assist in spiritual
- Consult with an educational consultant
to help you
find the right program for your child.
- Consult with a therapist or counselor.
- Consult with an Educational Advocate to
with your current school situation
- Consult with an Educational Consultant
to find the
right program for your child.
out more about Educational Consultants
- Inpatient: hospitalization
Outpatient facilities have therapeutic staff on-hand to
therapy and support to patients on a part-time basis.
Emotional Growth schools are highly structured environments
that stress academics and teach coping skills through the
use of conflict resolution. Children learn they can make choices
and learn to accept responsibility through the use of modeling
behavior and outdoor therapy. The length of stay is between
9 and 18 months, at which time they either return to the mainstream
or attend a boarding school, if possible. Parents are involved
with the school staff and the children throughout the child's
attendance at the school.
out more about Outdoor Therapy
Residential Boarding School
These schools are usually fully accredited schools with emotional
growth programs. They stress holistic education: growth of
the person through holding children responsible for their
actions. There is no rehabilitation or physicians on staff.
A Therapeutic Wilderness program does not necessarily have
academics; their goal can be to introduce the children to
a different role. These programs use Outdoor Therapy to help
build low self-esteem. They make obtainable goals for them
to reach. The programs vary but they are about 6 to 8 weeks
long. It is a very structured program with a goal of teaching
the children coping skills and raising their self-esteem.
Children go from this program to mainstream back into their
public school or attend a small structured boarding school.
more about Therapeutic Wilderness Programs
d. Residential Treatment School
A Residential Treatment Program or School provides a full
professional staff that includes therapists, psychologists,
and psychiatrists. They also have a small academic program.
the children in the program have been recommended there by
mental health agencies that make the placements. It is a highly
structured environment whose emphasis is on treatment and
learning coping skills and independent living. Chemical dependence
and rehabilitation is also provided. Outdoor therapy is sometimes
used to facilitate building social skills and self-esteem.
Recovery programs are also available. Residential Treatment
schools are secure schools.
more about Residential Treatment Schools
program is right for my child?