It is normal for children to be defiant at different times during development. For some children however, defiant behavior far surpasses normal oppositional behavior. These kids are so obstinate and argumentative that their behavior inhibits their capacity for learning, thriving and acting appropriately in social settings. Parents of children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder know this condition is more than the normal disobedient or rebellious behavior seen during the “terrible two’s” or during adolescence.
Children with ODD purposely confront, test and upset authority figures and blame others for their own errors or unscrupulous behavior. These characteristics can lead to a number of complications in the child’s connections with parents, teachers and other adults in their life. Children with ODD often have serious interpersonal and educational impairments that are significantly worse compared with the normal problems experienced by their non-ODD peers. In fact, their degree of social impairment is usually far more severe than what is observed in youth with depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety disorders.
Why Seek Inpatient Treatment at Lakeland?
Without treatment the long term effects of ODD can be detrimental to the child not only when young, but throughout life. In particular, children with ODD have a significantly greater risk of developing Conduct Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder later in life. These conditions frequently result in aggression towards others, harming or torturing animals, disrespecting the rights of others, stealing, fire setting and property destruction. These problems often subsequently lead to legal problems including incarceration, social rejection, job loss, financial problems and loss of relationships. ODD in childhood has also been related to the development of Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorders and Bipolar Disorder in adulthood.
At Lakeland’s behavioral health rehab in Missouri, we understand how difficult it is to decide to admit your child or adolescent to an inpatient program. We also recognize the stress your family is under due to symptoms of your child’s disorder. We strive to make the environment as comfortable and supportive as possible to enable the entire family to get back on track and enjoy each other’s company.
Our Philosophy and Benefits
At Lakeland we are committed to providing a course of treatment that takes into account all the varied and special characteristics of your child or adolescent. We have a complete multi-disciplinary team which includes psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, registered nurses, behavioral health specialists, therapists, social workers, recreational specialists, and educators who will comprehensively evaluate your child’s problems while also spending time getting to know them along with involved family members. They will work together to formulate an individualized treatment plan specific to your child’s difficulties and needs, but which will take their strengths into consideration as well. At Lakeland’s behavioral health rehab we know how having a child with ODD can affect the whole family and will do everything possible to help them and you work through the variety of problems and co-existing symptoms or conditions that may exist until your family is once more the happy, healthy group it once was.
Treatment for ODD at Lakeland
Before we determine a treatment regimen for your child, we complete a comprehensive evaluation to ensure that we know not just the symptoms related to your child’s condition, along with other symptoms related to co-existing disorders which may exist but we also focus on what makes your child unique and special. Once the assessment has been completed, the treatment team will determine the best course of action to address the needs of the entire child. Family members and other caretakers will be consulted in this process and your needs will also be assessed.
ODD is treated primarily with cognitive behavior therapy, but the specifics depend on the age of the child, the degree of impairment and any co-morbid conditions which may be present. The essential objective of therapy of ODD is to help those affected “unlearn” negative behavior patterns and relearn positive, adaptive ways of interacting with and relating to others.
The aim of cognitive behavioral therapy is to help children better understand and tolerate their negative emotions, and to alter negative evaluations of themselves, others and the world around them so they can form positive connections with authority figures, family and friends. Social skills training can also be extremely beneficial in addressing the interpersonal difficulties experienced by the child by improving the ability to form relationships with others while teaching them to control their aggressive emotions and reactions. Additionally, these techniques can help re-establish a positive parent-child bond which may have been damaged by the symptoms of the disorder.
Treatment will also include individual psychotherapy for the youth to help them work through difficult aspects of their problem one on one, and group therapy including educational/skills building groups and therapeutic process groups.
Parent participation in treatment for ODD is extremely important. Parents will be encouraged to learn new types of parent child interaction skills and problem solving techniques. These strategies have proven to be the most significant predictors of long term positive outcomes in youth with ODD.
Medication may be used if deemed appropriate, especially in cases with co-morbid conditions such as ADHD or CD. Stimulant medications that are used to treat ADHD can also be effective at decreasing the symptoms of ODD.
In addition, other types of therapeutic activities may be available. These include:
- Therapeutic Exercise/Stress Reduction
- Art Therapy
- Music Therapy
- Expressive Therapy
- Recreation Therapy
- School programming
- Pet therapy
Continuing Care – What Comes Next?
At Lakeland’s behavioral health rehab in Missouri we understand that it can be extremely anxiety provoking when it’s time for discharge. Although your child will not leave our care until they are completely stabilized and have begun the journey to complete recovery, we know that given the negative interaction pattern that generally characterizes the child’s relationships that it is normal to feel concerned about potential relapse as discharge approaches. Our treatment team will work with your child and any involved family members to provide additional coping strategies and address symptoms of co-existing conditions as needed to ensure that the progress made while participating in our rehab program will be maintained and further gains will be achieved. We are committed to identifying whatever continued needs your family may have and to determine the best course of action to take as a next step. We will work collaboratively with your family to create the most appropriate discharge plan which will include additional treatment recommendations and referrals for community resources so your child and family can attain complete freedom from the negative effects caused by the symptoms of ODD now and in the years to come.