How Do You Know If Your Child Needs Oppositional Defiant Disorder Treatment?

boy 1666611 640Teenagers are a volatile and hormonal bunch–it’s normal for a teen to be angsty, right? While teen angst is relatively normal, it can be difficult for a parent to discern between regular angst and real signs of mental health issues, like oppositional defiant disorder. You’re not alone in your confusion, many parents find it hard to identify and read the signs–often because they don’t know what to look for. If your son or daughter’s defiance is becoming a barrier to daily life and getting in the way of their education, it may mean you need to look into oppositional defiant disorder treatment options.

What is oppositional defiant disorder?

According to Mayo Clinic, oppositional defiant disorder is described as a teenager having “a frequent and persistent pattern of anger, irritability, arguing, defiance or vindictiveness toward you and other authority figures.”
Currently, the specific cause of oppositional defiance disorder eludes scientists, but they do theorize that it has to do with two things: genetics and the environment a child is brought up in. Genetics and the environment have a lot to do with a child’s temperament, coping skills, neurobiological makeup of the brain, and behavior.
We also know of risk factors that could make your child more likely to develop oppositional defiant disorder:

  1. Temperament. Does your child have issues regulating their emotions? Are they very sensitive to difficult situations or challenges? Do they often react to problems with frustration? This could most definitely be a risk factor for oppositional defiant disorder.
  2. Family Issues. Children who have experienced neglect, poor discipline, or adversity in their lives are much more likely to develop oppositional defiant disorder.

Signs your child may need oppositional defiant disorder treatment

Intervening early with oppositional defiant disorder treatment is essential to success for teens dealing with this type of issue. If it goes on ignored, it’s likely the issue will worsen into adulthood, making treatment even more difficult. This is while it’s critical to know the signs of oppositional defiant disorder in order to recognize it in your child and get them help as soon as possible. From the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology, common signs of oppositional defiant disorder include:

  • Temper tantrums
  • Issues with authority figures
  • Frequently questions rules
  • Often defies and refuses to listen to adults
  • Purposely tries to upset or annoy others
  • Easily peeved or annoyed by others
  • Often blames others for their own mistakes
  • Bursts of anger or resentment
  • Spiteful and revenge seeking behavior

If you believe your child could benefit from oppositional defiant disorder treatment, it’s incredibly important to seek out a professional for further guidance on how to best help your child succeed.

Trails Carolina can help your family

Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling youth, ages 10-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other behavioral challenges. We strive to improve the lives of young people.
For more information about oppositional defiant disorder treatment at Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303 today

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Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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