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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a diagnosis attached to a certain set of behavioural symptoms most commonly seen in children although it can be present in adults as well.
“Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a recurrent pattern of negativistic, disobedient, and hostile behavior by young people toward authority figures. A diagnosis of ODD requires that four or more of the following eight symptoms have been present over the course of at least 6 months: (1) losing one's temper, (2) arguing with adults, (3) actively defying adults' requests or rules, (4) deliberately annoying others, (5) blaming others for mistakes, (6) being easily annoyed, (7) being angry and resentful, and (8) being spiteful or vindictive” (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).

The diagnosis is given when the behavior interferes with social or academic functioning. The symptoms are typically seen in multiple settings but in some cases, the child may act out only in response to particular settings or individuals. He or she may be violent and uncooperative at home but very well mannered and controlled in the school setting for instance. The reverse is also possible and parents may be shocked to hear their child is a problem in the school setting. Teachers may identify symptoms in students that don’t show the same severity of problems in the nonacademic setting.

The diagnosis of ODD seems to reside within the categories of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, and mood disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. In some cases children may be diagnosed with more than one of these conditions and treatment may be focused on more than one aspect.

The treatment for ODD is often focused on psychotherapy in order to encourage more effective anger management. Family psychotherapy is encouraged to improve communication and mutual understanding. Parent Management Training Programs are encouraged to help parents better manage and cope with the child’s behaviour. A particularly popular version of a parent management training program called “The Total Transformation” by James Lehman is available on-line and can be completed at home.

Conventional medicine treatment of ODD also may include medications. The typical drugs include Methylphenidate or Ritalin, and Depakote. Methylphenidate, commonly known as Ritalin, is a stimulant used to help focus attention and reduce restlessness. It is commonly prescribed for ADHD disorders. Depakote is an anti-convulsant drug used to treat seizure disorders as well as bipolar disorders.

At Pixie Dust Healing, our aim is to provide information on alternatives to conventional treatments. This is not to say conventional treatments aren't effective and right for you. But you have a right to know there are other options as well so you can make an informed choice and explore options if they feel right for you.

There are alternatives for the treatment of ODD. There are at least 7 homeopathic remedies that may be helpful for the symptoms of ODD. The materia medica is the homeopathic version of the Compendium of Pharmaceutical Specialties (CPS) that conventional doctor’s use as a reference to match symptoms with drug treatments. Unlike the CPS which changes every year, the materia medica was based on Dr. Samuel Hahnemann’s work, the founder of homeopathic medicine, over 200 years ago. The medica outlines the type of symptoms that match each of the homeopathic remedies. It is interesting to note that over 200 years ago, all the noted symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder are described. Apparently this “disorder” was present hundreds of years ago despite different parent practices, social constructs, environmental influences, and diet.

The 7 homeopathic remedies most commonly matched to the symptoms of ODD include:
Tarentula Hispanica
Lycopodium Clavatum
Hepar Sulphuris Calcareum
Anacardium Orientale
Ignatia Armara
While all 7 of the remedies describe aspects of ODD, there are subtle differences between the remedies. A homeopathic practitioner will investigate various aspects of the person and their behavior, looking at the "whole patient" in order to determine which remedy would be most helpful.

Bach Flower essences may also be helpful for Oppositional Defiant Behavior. Like homeopathy, Bach Flower essences don't match remedies to conditions but look at the individual so any combination of the 38 essences may be indicated. Some of the obvious ones include:

Cherry Plum- for lack of control/outbursts
Holly- for anger that is manifested physically
Vine- for bullying type behavior
Rock Water- for fixed ideas/ things have to be a certain way
Scleranthus- for the rapid mood swings and contradictions
Beech- for intolerance
Clematis - for lack of focus/inattention
Rock Rose- for terror

Rescue Remedy would be helpful during an episode if possible to administer- the spray might help with that instead of the drops. And most definitely, any parent or caregiver of a child displaying these tendencies could benefit from a healthy dose of Bach Flower Remedies as well!


  1. Thank you for sharing this information. I have found it very informative.

  2. I'm always happy to share! Glad you got something out of it. Life isn't always easy...

  3. I am desperately seeking something for my 8 year old,we're having such a hard time:(

    1. A lot of kids are having a tough time of things right now I think. Send me an email through my website or if you want to try some Bach Flowers.

  4. Hello I have an 11 year old daughter that has a very diftecult time consentrating she has add and bipolar disorder so I have found on this site remieies that may help her her father has her convinced not to take pills but I have gotten her to take vitamens before so these treatments will be helpfull thank you

    1. Thanks for the feedback. Not an easy journey you are on- hope this helps!

  5. Tank you so much!! I have been searching for a list like this! Maybe this can help my 13 year old son!!

  6. Glad to help! It's tough times for a lot of kids these days. I'm still writing this blog, but on a different site