What Causes Oppositional Defiant Disorder In Teens?

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Teenage defiant behavior is one thing that frustrates and scares almost every parent. It is extremely challenging for parents to deal with such teens. They often find themselves in a fix while trying to sort issues.

Defiant behavior isn’t abnormal in teens who find themselves at the threshold of a new life. They often express their defiance through their resistance, disagreement and even by disobeying and talking back. If you too find your teen going through this phase, then this article is just for you and your kid.

Should I Be Worried?

As we said earlier, defiant teen behavior is very common. You may say it is a part and parcel of growing up. But you must ring the alarm if this behavior continues for well over 6-7 months. This condition in teens is known as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

How To Identify Teenage Defiance?

Teens who suffer from Oppositional Defiant Disorder are said to suffer from low self-esteem and get frustrated easily. Here are few tell-tale signs of defiant teen behavior:

  • A continuous pattern of opposition, uncooperativeness, arguing and constantly disobeying people in authority – be it parents, siblings, teachers or any elders.
  • A constant annoyed temperament towards everything that doesn’t work according to them.
  • Holding others responsible for their own mistakes and faults.
  • Using abusive and obscene language to express everything.
  • Constant refusal to follow rules and requests.
  • A roller-coaster ride of emotions full of anger and resentment.

[ Read: Emotional Development In Adolescence ]

What Causes ODD In Teens?

Though the exact cause of Oppositional Defiant Disorder in teenagers is yet to be discovered, it is believed that a combination of reasons could be behind such behavior in teens. The causes of ODD may be:

  • Genetic: ODD can be inherited if someone close in the family suffers from the same problem. Mental illnesses such as personality disorder, anxiety disorder or mood disorder in one of the close family members can actually make the child susceptible to such disorders.
  • Biological: Studies say that certain injuries or defects in certain parts of the brain may also result in ODD in children. When certain brain chemicals don’t function well, then a child can develop such behavioral problem.
  • Environmental: Parents and a disturbed overall family life can also result in ODD. If a teen shows a family history of mental illnesses or even substance abuse, that can result in ODD.

[ Read: Aggression In Adolescence ]

Diagnosis Of ODD In Teens:

Largely, the signs and symptoms will help you identify this problem in your teen. If you find these problems and the behavior persistent, you must go and visit a doctor as soon as possible.

  • The doctor then will examine your teen by first evaluating medical history and do certain physical examinations.
  • The doctor can even refer you to an adolescent psychologist or psychiatrist.

[ Read: How To Manage Teenage Behaviour ]

Treatment For ODD In Teens:

Once your doctor diagnoses the cause behind your teen’s defiant behavior, he will then start treating him or her. The doctor will opt for:

1. Medication:

  • Although there isn’t any specific medication to treat such a disorder, the doctor may still prescribe a few medicines to treat your teen’s mental illness, if any.
  • It will help your teen fight problems that might be leading to his defiant behavior.

[ Read: How To Talk With Your Teenager ]

2. Psychotherapy:

  • Another treatment is counselling, known as psychotherapy. This therapy is aimed at improving the child’s thinking capability and helps him or her cope with the skills to solve problems.
  • This basically teaches teens to control and express themselves.
  • Even parents are a part of this therapy, wherein they are taught to modify their teen’s behavior in a more positive manner.

If you find your teen showing these signs, make it a point to take him to the doctor immediately. Teenage defiant disorder, if diagnosed early can be effectively treated soon. ODD, when treated on time, can actually help prevent a lot of ancillary problems associated with it.

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