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How is oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) treated?

Because oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavioral condition, it is predominantly treated with behavior modification. After a child therapist or psychologist diagnoses your child with ODD, a series of counseling appointments will be scheduled. These appointments may incorporate individual counseling, family therapy, parent training, and guidance on social skills. Parent-child interactive therapy is one method used to teach effective communication for the entire family. Rules and boundaries established during therapy sessions need to be consistently followed at home by everyone in the household. Finally, medications may be added in some cases of ODD, especially for children who have other mood disorders.

Specific treatment for children with oppositional defiant disorder will be determined by your child's (adolescent's) physician based on:

  • your child's (adolescent's) age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of your child's (adolescent's) symptoms
  • your child's (adolescent's) tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the condition
  • your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • Individual psychotherapy, which often uses cognitive-behavioral approaches to improve problem solving skills, communication skills, impulse control, and anger management skills.
  • Family therapy, which is often focused on making changes within the family system, such as improving communication skills and family interactions. Parenting children with ODD can be very difficult and trying for parents. Parents need support and understanding as well as developing more effective parenting approaches.
  • Peer group therapy, which is often focused on developing social skills and interpersonal skills.
  • Medication, which is not considered effective in treating ODD, but may be used if other symptoms or disorders are present and responsive to medication.

Continue Learning about Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.