How is oppositional defiant disorder treated?

Treatment for ODD is determined based on many factors, including the child’s age, how severe the symptoms are, and the child’s ability to take part in and tolerate specific therapies. Treatment usually consists of a combination of the following:

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) is designed to help the child develop more effective ways to express and control anger. A type of therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to reshape the child’s thinking (cognition) to improve behavior. Family therapy might be used to help improve family interactions and communication among family members. A specialized therapy technique called parent management training (PMT) teaches parents ways to positively change the child’s behavior in the home
  • Medication: Although there is no medication formally approved to treat ODD, various medications might be used to treat other disorders or symptoms that would make a child’s behavior worse.

What are the complications associated with oppositional defiant disorder?

Children who have ODD might experience rejection by classmates and other peers because of their poor social skills and aggressive and annoying behavior. Without treatment, a child who has ODD has a greater chance of developing a more serious behavioral disorder called conduct disorder.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy