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Is There Really a Difference When the Behaviors are "Out of Control"

Our team of behavioral specialists and child therapists are no strangers to intense and out of control behaviors. We often speak with parents that are attempting to find a way to address the behaviors that they are seeing in the home. Sometimes these are smaller behaviors of kids not meeting family rules and sometimes these are behaviors that are sparking discussions of residential facilities.


So how as a parent do you start to distinguish between the needs of the more extreme behaviors?


Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD) are two types of behavior disorders that often appear in children and adolescents. While they share some similarities, there are important differences between them that can help parents distinguish between the two.


Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a mental health condition that is characterized by a persistent pattern of defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior towards authority figures. Children and adolescents with ODD often argue with adults, refuse to comply with rules, and deliberately annoy others. ODD usually starts before the age of eight and can continue into adulthood. ODD is more common in boys than girls.


Conduct Disorder (CD) is a more severe behavior disorder that involves a persistent pattern of violating the rights of others or breaking social norms. Children and adolescents with CD often engage in aggressive and destructive behaviors, such as physical fights, theft, and vandalism. They may also engage in deceitful and manipulative behaviors, such as lying or stealing. CD usually starts around age 11 or 12 and is more common in boys than girls.


The symptoms of ODD and CD can overlap, but there are some key differences between the two disorders. One of the main differences is the nature of the behavior. Children with ODD tend to be more passive-aggressive, arguing and refusing to comply with rules, while children with CD tend to be more aggressive and physically violent.


Another key difference is the intent behind the behavior. Children with ODD often engage in their behavior as a reaction to perceived injustice or as a way to assert their independence, while children with CD often engage in their behavior to achieve a specific goal or to satisfy their own desires.


Another difference between ODD and CD is the level of impairment caused by the disorder. While both disorders can cause significant problems for children and their families, CD is generally considered to be more severe and more likely to result in legal problems or other serious consequences. Children with ODD may have difficulty getting along with authority figures, but they usually do not engage in behaviors that are illegal or seriously harmful to others.


It is important to note that ODD and CD are not caused by poor parenting or bad behavior on the part of the child. These disorders are thought to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and social factors. Children with a family history of ODD or CD, or who have experienced trauma or abuse, may be more likely to develop these disorders.


Treatment for ODD and CD usually involves a combination of therapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and family therapy can be effective in helping children learn new coping skills and improve their relationships with others. In some cases, residential treatment programs or specialized schools may be recommended for children with severe ODD or CD. Many families feel that a full WRAP program may be the best option for treatment in that it provides support for not only the child but also for parents and siblings.


If you feel that your child may be experiencing out fo control behaviors of ODD or CD our team is here to help through our Therapeutic and Behavioral Services WRAP program. If you would like more information about this program please click here.


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