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Oppositional Child Specialist

O.C. Child and Family

Harry B. Rauch, MD

Board-Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist located in Irvine, CA

Up to 16% of children in the United States may have a condition known as oppositional defiant disorder, a condition that causes angry outbursts and even physical aggression. At his psychiatry practice in Irvine, California, Harry B. Rauch, MD, offers a comprehensive evaluation of aggressive, defiant behaviors. He can recommend treatments, including behavior and medication therapy, to help your child manage symptoms. He also offers family counseling that teaches you and your family coping strategies. Learn more about diagnosing and treating oppositional defiant disorder by calling the Irvine office or booking online.

Oppositional Child

What is oppositional defiant disorder?

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a disruptive behavior disorder that causes your child to demonstrate a pattern of disobedient, defiant, or hostile behaviors.

Children with ODD typically target authority figures, including parents and teachers, with verbal and physical outbursts of anger.

What are the symptoms of ODD?

While negative behaviors and defiant attitudes are a normal part of childhood development, children with oppositional defiant disorder typically have difficulty controlling their temper for periods of six months or longer, causing a major disruption at home and school.  

In addition to the angry outbursts and defiant behaviors, your child may display symptoms like:

  • Spitefulness
  • Refusal to obey
  • Frequent arguing
  • Negative attitude
  • Difficulty controlling their temper

When tempers and aggression become out of control and interfere with your child’s academic and social life, professional treatment may be necessary.

What causes oppositional defiant disorder?

There isn’t a clear cause for ODD or its symptoms. Several factors can influence your child’s risk for developing the condition, including:

  • Abuse
  • Family history
  • Poor nutrition
  • Exposure to toxins
  • A chemical imbalance in the brain
  • Relationship issues in the family

There may also be a link between oppositional defiant disorder and the mother’s smoking, drug, or alcohol abuse during pregnancy.

What treatment options are available for oppositional defiant disorder?

Because every child has needs that differ from other children, Dr. Rauch specializes in creating custom treatment plans to manage symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder. He considers all aspects of your child’s life, including family, friends, academics, and overall health, to determine the best course of treatment.

Dr. Rauch assesses your child’s symptoms and may recommend treatments like:

  • Medication
  • Problem-solving skills training
  • School-based support programs

Family therapy may also be part of the treatment plan to help you and your child learn how to cope with the impact oppositional defiant disorder has on your family as a whole.

Are medications safe for treating oppositional defiant disorder?

Dr. Rauch may recommend medications to help your child manage severe symptoms of ODD, as well as symptoms from related conditions like anxiety and other mood disorders.

However, medications alone aren’t a cure for oppositional defiant disorder. Dr. Rauch uses medications as a last resort and in combination with cognitive therapies and counseling.

To help your child succeed personally and socially despite an oppositional defiant disorder diagnosis, schedule a full evaluation by calling the Irvine office or using the online booking feature.