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ODD SYMPTOMS: Up Close and Personal

written by: Olive Estrella Coronado • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 9/16/2010

What are the signs and symptoms of Oppositional defiant disorder? Learn to recognize them and find out how they affect a person’s life.

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    What is ODD?

    If you have ever encountered a child who often shows hostility towards others and seems to disregard authority, or perhaps a teenager who just cannot help himself from annoying people whenever he has a chance, then perhaps you have had a close brush with the psychiatric condition called Oppositional defiant disorder.

    There are two main tendencies that are closely associated with it: the tendency to be aggressive or hostile, and the tendency to cause hassle or be a nuisance to others. This condition should especially be given proper and immediate attention and treatment when present with other neuropsychiatric disorders like ADHD, depression, and anxiety.

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    What are the symptoms?

    There are many Oppositional defiant disorder symptoms that are commonly exhibited by many kids but only for a short period of time. However, if these are recurring and go on for more than six months, they may be signs that the individual has ODD. More often than not, persons with ODD consistently display the following attitudes/behaviors:

    • Being pessimistic about many things
    • Throwing tantrums frequently and sometimes for long periods of time
    • Having forceful outbursts of fury and bitterness
    • Often blaming others for their own mistakes or wrong doings
    • Getting easily annoyed or irritated
    • Using inappropriate or obscene language
    • Being spiteful and resentful
    • Disobeying rules
    • Defying adults and other figures of authority
    • Intentionally annoying or bothering others
    • Saying unkind and hateful words when distressed or angry
    • Carrying on unwarranted arguments with adults
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    How does it affect a person’s life?

    Oppositional defiant disorder symptoms have tremendous effects on a person’s life. For children and teenagers with ODD, such a disorder can be detrimental to their growth mentally, socially, and emotionally. Their ability to acquire knowledge is limited because they may tend to rail against learning or may dislike some activities. It is therefore difficult to focus or to take part since they will not have the patience or understanding to go through with things they do not like.

    In school, their hostile behavior will also get them into trouble which will hinder learning as well as create an atmosphere of enmity. Furthermore, it will be difficult for them to make and keep friends because of their symptoms as they find it hard to adjust to social norms, which may cause others to view them disapprovingly.

    This may then turn into a vicious cycle as such treatment from people can set off greater aggressiveness and more outbursts. Moreover, their emotions often get jumbled up and are easily triggered, causing mood swings and easy frustration over little things.

    Adults with ODD, on the other hand, experience problems in maintaining a job or excelling at work. These are also the people who have low self-esteem, which may lead to abuse of and addiction to alcohol and drugs. It can be hard for them to recover from errors and failures, and often they just give up. They have a great tendency to either hurt others or themselves.