Oppositional defiant disorder, or ODD, is an often misunderstood disorder that is characterized by argumentativeness, irritability, and defiance of authority. The symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder can impair the ability of the afflicted individual to successfully interact with others, which can have a detrimental impact on his or her academic, occupational, and social progress. People who have ODD may be easily annoyed, engage in resentful or vindictive behaviors, and have a tendency toward explosive outbursts of anger. Depending upon the severity of a person’s ODD, these and related behaviors will be distressing both to the individual with the disorder and to those in his or her family, peer group, and/or workplace environment.
At Southcoast Behavioral Health, we understand the many ways that oppositional defiant disorder can affect a person’s life, and we are prepared to provide the comprehensive care that can empower that person to regain control over his or her behaviors, develop appropriate communication and social skills, and pursue a much less turbulent, more productive, and ultimately more satisfying future.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Caring about someone who has oppositional defiant disorder can be a confusing and frustrating experience, in no small part because the behaviors that are associated with ODD are counterproductive to the maintenance of healthy interpersonal relationships. But your continued empathy and compassion may be the key to getting your loved one the professional treatment that he or she so desperately needs:
- First, it is important to educate yourself about oppositional defiant disorder. The Internet can be an excellent avenue for acquiring information, but it is important to be sure that you are getting accurate facts from reputable and reliable sources.
- Learn about the levels and types of care that have helped others who struggled with ODD, and identify programs that may be best prepared to meet your loved one’s unique needs.
- Do not neglect your own needs. Caring about someone with ODD can take an emotional toll, and it is essential that you practice self-care, as maintaining your physical and mental health will allow you to provide the most valuable support that you can for your loved one.
- If possible and appropriate, share your concerns with other friends or family members. They can be life-affirming sources of support both for you and for your loved one.
- Discuss your concerns with your loved one, and share the information that you have gathered. Given the nature of your loved one’s disorder, it is important that you prepare yourself for a less-than-positive response, and realize that more than one conversation may be necessary before your loved one agrees to get help.
When your loved one enters a program, inquire about therapy, support sessions, or other family activities that will allow you to remain a positive presence in your loved one’s life while he or she is in treatment. Also, work with the treatment program to ensure that an appropriate aftercare plan is developed to ensure that your loved one has ongoing support, and plan to be a part of that support network.
Why Consider Treatment at Southcoast Behavioral Health
Untreated oppositional defiant disorder can expose a person to a wide range of both immediate and long-term consequences. ODD can undermine a person’s ability to perform to his or her potential in school or at work, which can reduce the likelihood of securing and maintaining gainful employment. The anti-social behaviors that are symptomatic of oppositional defiant disorder can cause family discord and lead to social ostracization, which can both diminish the afflicted individual’s quality of life and decrease the likelihood that he or she will have a robust and effective support network. In addition to making it difficult for a person to get and keep a job, the defiant aspect of ODD may also make it more likely that a person will have legal problems, including incarceration. Adults who have ODD are also at increased risk for developing several serious co-occurring disorders, including a substance use disorder, anxiety disorders, and depressive disorders. The cumulative effect of these negative experiences can lead to financial ruin, incarceration, chronic unemployment, homelessness, and suicide.