Conduct Disorder & ODD

What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Some children have extremely difficult and challenging behaviours that are outside what is usual for their age.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) describes behaviour in children who are consistently uncooperative, hostile and defiant towards authority figures like parents and teachers.

ODD is most common in children younger than 8 years old and is more prevelant in boys.

For a child to meet the diagnostic criteria for ODD:

  • The behaviour must be present for at least 6 months (loss of temper, argues with adults, actively defies to comply with rules, deliberately annoys people, vindictive, etc)
  • The behaviour must be unusual for the child’s age and impairment to normal social, academic or occupational functioning
  • The behaviour does not occur due to another pre-existing mood disorder

ODD symptoms are generally similar across gender, however, males may present more confrontational behaviour and persistent symptoms.

What is Conduct Disorder?

Conduct Disorder is associated with older children and adolecents who consistently violate rights of others, including, aggression towards animals and/or people, theft and destruction of property. These children lack empathy and/or do not understand the repercussions of their actions on others.

Conduct Disorder normally impacts older children and young teenagers.

To be diagnosed with Conduct Disorder, there must be persistent behaviour(s) for at least 12 months:

  • Aggression towards others – bullying, fighting and phyisical cruelty to animals or other people, purse snatching, extorting others
  • Destruction of property – setting items on fire and deliberately destroying other people’s property
  • Deceitfulness or theft – lies to obtain goods or favours, shoplifting, breaking & entering
  • Violation of rules – breaking curfew, running away from home, does not attend school

Difference between Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Children with either ODD or Conduct Disorder both oppose being controlled.

Individuals impacted with Conduct Disorder not only fight against being controlled, but also try to control others.

Causes of Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder

The exact cause of Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder is not known but is believed to be due to a combination of:

  • Biological and Genetic Factors, such as, impairment to certain brain functions relating to regulating behaviour, impulses and emotions. In addition, pre-existing conditions, such as, ADHD, depression and anxiety disorders may also contribute.
  • Psychological Issues, such as, deficits in cognitive processiong and moral awareness
  • Environmental Factors, such as, inconsistent discipline by parents and other family issues

Treatment for Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Effective treatment for Conduct Disorder and ODD depends on number of factors, including, the child’s age ,the presenting symptoms and the child’s ability to cope with relevant therapies.

At Think Psychological Services we believe in employing a combination of different therapies, including:

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is used to help the child discriminate between thoughts and feelings so that they can improve problem solving, understand socially acceptable behaviour and control impulses.
  • Behavioural Modification which focuses on specific problem behaviours by rewarding appropriate behaviour and discouraging inappropriate behaviours.
  • Anger Management Training to educate the child on how to recognise signs of frustration and how to manage these feelings.
  • Social Skills Training where the child is taught to use problem solving skills within a series of role-playing activities.
  • Parent Training to provide techniques for better communication and child management.
Conduct Disorder & ODD