Adolescents with oppositional defiant disorder, or ODD, display a pattern of angry, irritable, or defiant behaviors. They may intentionally violate rules and ignore instructions from authority figures, or they may deliberately annoy or harass others and can engage in vindictive behavior. They often do not view their behaviors as oppositional, but rather feel justified in acting the way they do because they feel a situation or demand placed upon them is unreasonable. ODD can have numerous negative effects in an adolescent’s life, but at Youth Care, we have nearly two and a half decades of experience helping young people with a range of presenting concerns, including ODD. With caring, supportive treatment, it is possible for adolescents with ODD to learn to manage the symptoms of their disorder and live successful and prosperous lives.
Helping Your Child Get Treatment
Trying to parent a child with ODD can be an exercise in frustration as you attempt to teach your child appropriate and helpful behaviors only to have him or her openly disobey, resist, or antagonize you. It may seem as though no matter what you try, nothing seems to work well. Although you may feel as though your efforts are futile, there are some steps you can take to help your child get the help he or she needs, such as:
- Research the signs and symptoms of ODD and learn the uniquenesses of how the disorder presents in your child. Consider speaking with mental health professionals who have experience treating ODD and ask them for guidance or referrals to centers that can treat your child.
- Consider different treatment centers and find a few that seem like they may be a good fit for your child. Once you have narrowed down a list, contact the treatment centers and speak to their admissions staff about their programs and treatment approaches.
- Once your child is in treatment, actively participate in his or her care. Keep in touch with your child’s primary therapist and try your best to attend any family sessions that your treatment center may provide. Provide affirmation to your child frequently and remind your child how much you love him or her.
- Pay attention to your own needs. In the course of taking care of a child with ODD, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself as well. Set aside time for yourself to enjoy your own hobbies and continue to invest in your social network. Also, it may be helpful to consider joining a support group for parents of children with ODD.
Why Consider Treatment at Youth Care
If left untreated, ODD can lead to a number of negative outcomes. Adolescents with this disorder may struggle in school and can frequently be on the receiving end of disciplinary action. They may face expulsion from school, possibly resulting in lost occupational opportunities later in life. Adolescents with ODD also commonly struggle with social relationships and can have difficulty maintaining strong friendships because of their difficulties controlling their behavior and effectively reading social cues. They may also engage in substance abuse and may suffer from symptoms of other mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety. While it can no doubt be challenging to the parent of an adolescent with ODD, expert treatment provided by patient and compassionate staff in the context of a well-established treatment program can help your child learn to manage the symptoms of ODD so that he or she can live a life rich with relationships and opportunity.
Types of Treatment Offered at Youth Care
Youth Care offers residential treatment for adolescents, aged 11 to 17, who are battling the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder. Here at Youth Care, we are dedicated to providing treatment in a structured, home-like setting that offers a family-like atmosphere for adolescents as they work towards recovering from the concerns that plague them. By implementing individualized programming that is tailored to meet each adolescent’s unique needs, the treatment delivered at Youth Care is comprehensive and is designed to promote true and lasting healing.
The residential program here at Youth Care is founded on the principles of respect, accountability, and responsibility. Our staff uses a level system with students so that they can provide constructive feedback as students learn how to demonstrate respect and behave in appropriate ways. In doing so, students earn various privileges and increased levels of trust. We believe that the connection between privileges, accountability, trust, and responsibility is an invaluable lesson that will serve to benefit our students for the rest of their lives.
When adolescents are entrusted into our care for the treatment of ODD, they will be provided with various therapeutic interventions, which may include the following:
Medication management: When treating the symptoms of ODD, there are times when certain psychotropic medications may be implemented that could serve as a beneficial means of alleviating some of the distress that an adolescent is experiencing. The use of any medication, however, is always determined on a student-by-student basis, depending on each youth’s individual circumstances. Meetings with a psychiatrist occur on a weekly basis, and Youth Care’s nursing and medical teams will assist in handling all medication management needs.
Individual therapy: The use of individual therapy is a very important aspect of the treatment offered at Youth Care. Students will meet with their primary therapists three times every week and can also meet with an addictions counselor once each week if they are struggling with substance abuse and addiction.
Group therapy: At Youth Care, the use of group therapy is a major component of our students’ overall treatment plans. Various group sessions are held on a daily basis and can play an instrumental role in helping our students learn to manage the symptoms of ODD. The different types of groups that are offered as part of programming include the following:
- Recreational therapy groups
- Dialectical behavior therapy groups
- Process groups
- Addictions groups
- Music therapy groups
Family therapy: The role of our students’ families is crucial in helping them recover from or learn how to manage the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder. Keeping this in mind, we, at Youth Care, are dedicated to ensuring that the family members of our students are actively involved in the therapeutic process. The primary therapist for each student will conduct family therapy sessions once each week, and Parent Days are held every 6 to 8 weeks. Parent Days include a variety of therapeutic activities, including multifamily group therapy, parent support groups, family recreational activities, family therapy sessions, and educational seminars.
Recreational therapy: Recreational therapy plays another integral role in the therapeutic experience at Youth Care. Throughout our years of experience, we have found that participation in recreational activities gives adolescents a valuable opportunity to learn important life skills, including problem solving, communication, teamwork, and trust. Additionally, we have found that recreational therapy can enhance the self-esteem of our students as they develop new interests and discover talents that they did not previously know they possessed. Participating in these recreational activities also aids in enriching other types of skillsets as well, including coping skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, and social skills. Our licensed recreational therapist guides and supervises students as they participate in both community and in-house recreational activities 3 to 7 times each week.
Experiential therapy: Students who are receiving treatment for ODD may also participate in various experiential therapies throughout the duration of their time spent at Youth Care. Examples of the experiential options that students may engage in include situational therapy, expressive therapy, and exposure therapy. Their primary therapists will work with them to determine when these therapies may be most appropriately implemented.
Community service activities: Participation in community service activities occurs at least twice every month for students at Youth Care. They will have the opportunity to take part in various types of activities, which may include visiting the elderly, caring for animals at the Humane Society, and filling shelves at the Food Bank. These experiences allow students to develop a sense of empathy towards and an understanding of others. This, in turn, can aid them as they, themselves, continue to grow and progress in their treatment.
Academics: Knowing how important education is, Youth Care has a fully accredited academic program that meets from 9:00am to 5:00pm each weekday. This program allows students to receive all of the benefits of a traditional education while also having therapeutic interventions included in their daily schedules. The curriculum is led by special education teachers and secondary education teachers, all of whom have experience with and have been trained in working with youth who have varying learning abilities. When adolescents receive treatment for ODD at Youth Care, they will not have to worry about falling behind academically because they will be able to earn school credits and achieve any academic goals they have, including graduating high school.
In addition to the treatment that is offered through our residential programming here at Youth Care, we are also pleased to offer partial hospitalization programming (PHP) for students suffering from the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder. This option for day treatment allows adolescents to experience the same type of daily programming that students in the residential program receive, while being able to return home at the end of the day.
If your child is battling the symptoms of ODD and is in need of comprehensive treatment that will be tailored to meet his or her specific needs, look no further than Youth Care. Our caring and compassionate staff will dedicate themselves to ensuring that your child develops the skills necessary to successfully overcome the struggles that are plaguing him or her and move forward towards the bright and happy future that he or she deserves.