What parents should know about Oppositional Defiant Disorder

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by Priscilla Luong

BROWN DEER-- No indication it had anything to do with his death, but the mother of 11-year old Eric Gutierrez, a boy shot and killed in Walworth County, says he was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) shortly before his passing.

Doctors say up to 16% of children have ODD and the behavioral disorder is extremely prevalent among boys.

Temper tantrums, angry outbursts, and vindictive behavior toward authority figures are all signs of ODD.

"It is something that shouldn't be ignored," said Candice Lipski, a psychotherapist.

To an outsider, the symptoms may appear as though a child is just being emotional, but Lipski says it can affect their daily life.

"A lot of the children diagnosed with this disorder have a lot of problems in the home and in the school," said Lipski.

Children with ODD typically show signs before they're 8-years old.

"These are behaviors that will stand out," said Lipski, "and will be evident for more than 6-8 months, so it's not just if they have a bad week."

Lipski says behavioral therapy can help children diagnosed with ODD and their families.

"I would say that the behaviors can be minimized," she said.

Lipski says if left untreated-- the disorder could eventually lead to criminal behavior.

"It can lead into conduct disorder in teens, and anti-social behaviors in late teens and early adult years," she explained.

Lipski says parents who believe their children could have ODD should contact their pediatrician for a referral to a psychiatrist.  She says it could take months before parents see a change in their child's behavior after they begin therapy.


 

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