If your child has signs and symptoms common to oppositional defiant disorder, make an appointment with your child's doctor. After an initial evaluation, your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional, who can help make a diagnosis and create the right treatment plan for your child.
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down the signs and symptoms your child has been experiencing, and for how long.
- Write down your family's key personal information, including factors that you suspect may have contributed to changes in your child's behavior. Make a list of stressors that your child or close family members have recently experienced and share it with the doctor.
- Make a list of your child's key medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which your child has been diagnosed. Also write down the names of any medications, including over-the-counter medications, your child is taking.
- Take a trusted family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor in advance so that you can make the most of your appointment.
Questions to ask the doctor at your child's initial appointment include:
- What do you believe is causing my child's symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- How will you determine the diagnosis?
- Should my child see a mental health provider?
Questions to ask if your child is referred to a mental health provider include:
- Does my child have oppositional defiant disorder?
- Is this condition likely temporary or long lasting?
- What factors do you think might be contributing to my child's problem?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- Is it possible for my child to grow out of this condition?
- Does my child need to be screened for any other mental health problems?
- Is my child at increased risk of any long-term complications from this condition?
- Do you recommend any changes at home or school to encourage my child's recovery?
- Should I tell my child's teachers about this diagnosis?
- What else can I and my family do to help my child?
- Do you recommend family therapy?
- What can we, the parents, do to cope and sustain our own ability to help our child?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Being ready to answer your doctor's questions may reserve time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth. You should be prepared to answer the following questions from your doctor:
Jan. 06, 2012
- What are your concerns about your child's behavior?
- When did you first notice these problems?
- Have your child's teachers or other caregivers reported similar behaviors in your child?
- How often over the last six months has your child been spiteful or vindictive, or blamed others for his or her own mistakes?
- How often over the last six months has your child been touchy, easily annoyed or deliberately annoying to others?
- How often over the last six months has your child argued with adults or defied or refused adults' requests?
- How often over the last six months has your child been visibly angry or lost his or her temper?
- Do any particular situations seem to trigger negative or defiant behavior in your child?
- How have you been handling your child's disruptive behavior?
- How do you typically discipline your child?
- How would you describe your child's home and family life?
- What stresses has the family been dealing with?
- Has your child been diagnosed with any other medical conditions, including mental health conditions?
- Oppositional defiant disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Oct. 25, 2011.
- Nurcombe B. Oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder. In: Ebert MH, et al, eds. Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Psychiatry. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3290408. Accessed Oct. 25, 2011.
- Disruptive behavioral disorders. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/mental_disorders_in_children_and_adolescents/disruptive_behavioral_disorders.html#v1106068. Accessed Oct. 25, 2011.
- Hamilton SS. Oppositional defiant disorder. American Family Physician. 2008;78:861.
- Children with oppositional defiant disorder. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/children_with_oppositional_defiant_disorder. Accessed Oct. 25, 2011.
- Steiner H. Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with oppositional defiant disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2007;46:126.
- Loeber R, et al. Perspectives on oppositional defiant, conduct disorder, and psychopathic features. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2009;50:133.