Tips for managing ADHD and ODD in children and adults

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impulsive and hyperactive behavior and/or inattention.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a behavioral disorder characterized by uncooperative, defiant, negative, irritable, and intentionally annoying behavior, especially toward authority figures.

Although they are separate conditions, they often occur together. Some studies suggest that as many as 40% of children with ADHD also meet the diagnostic criteria for ODD.

This article will explore why ODD often occurs with ADHD, how to treat and manage the condition, and coping strategies for parents and children.

Can You Have ADHD and Odds at the Same Time?

It is common for people with ADHD to have odd numbers as well. According to children and adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (CHADD), one-third to one-half of children with ADHD also have ODD.

in children

Some symptoms of ADHD in children include:

  • Symptoms of inattention: such as being easily distracted, making “careless” mistakes, difficulty planning, organizing, and following up on tasks
  • Hyperactivity symptoms: such as restlessness, frequent “busy”, and difficulty staying seated
  • Impulsive symptoms: such as interruptions, unthinking, risk-taking, etc.

Odd-number symptoms in children include:

  • over-arguing
  • refuse to comply with appropriate requirements
  • Constantly questioning the rules and refusing to follow them
  • Deliberately annoy or annoy others with one’s own behavior
  • blame others for their actions or mistakes
  • easily annoyed by others
  • Often displays an angry attitude

All of these behaviors happen to every child at times, but they occur much more frequently for children with ODD and can interfere with their studies and relationships.


ADHD begins in childhood but usually persists into adulthood, although symptoms can change over time.

Adults with ADHD may:

  • often feel uneasy
  • Poor planning and organizational skills
  • forgetfulness, missed appointments and deadlines, and misplaced items
  • Difficulty concentrating and completing tasks
  • Problems with time management
  • Other behaviors associated with hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention

Like ADHD, ODD is usually diagnosed in childhood (usually before school age, whereas ADHD is mostly diagnosed in school-age children). ODD usually resolves by age 18, but can persist into adulthood alone or with ADHD.

Adults and adolescents with ODD have a high risk (90% chance) of being diagnosed with another psychiatric disorder during their lifetime. They are also at higher risk for social and emotional problems, mood disorders (such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder), conduct disorders, and substance use disorders in adulthood.

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Early intervention can help reduce these risks.

What Causes ADHD and Odds?

The exact cause of ADHD and ODD is unknown, but both are thought to be genetically linked and may be influenced by a variety of factors.

Some studies suggest that ODD can be caused by parental influences such as insecure attachments, harsh parenting, inconsistent parenting, or abuse. It’s important to note that despite this association, children with loving, supportive, and consistent home environments can also develop ODD.

Diagnosis and Treatment at a Glance

Both ADHD and ODD have different criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Although they may occur at the same time, they are diagnosed separately according to their respective criteria.

Diagnosis usually begins with a visit to a health care provider who can perform a physical examination, ask about symptoms and family history, and make a referral if necessary.

ODD is usually diagnosed in early childhood. ADHD is usually diagnosed at age 12, but it is not uncommon for adults to be diagnosed with ADHD that was missed in childhood, especially in women.

Treatment usually involves treating each condition separately as they occur at the same time, but there may be overlap.


Medications, especially stimulants, are the first-line treatment for ADHD and can be very effective in managing ADHD symptoms.

There are no specific medications for ODD, but when ODD occurs in ADHD, stimulant medications can help manage ADHD symptoms so that other measures can be used to treat ODD more effectively.


Individual, family, and peer group therapy can be helpful for ADHD and/or ODD. This can include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Parent training
  • psychoeducation
  • social skills training
  • Other broad and targeted therapies

Raising and Disciplining Children with ADHD and ODD

Parenting a child with ADHD and/or ODD can be daunting, but there are some strategies that work:

  • Routine: Develop and stick to a routine.This helps children know what to expect and what to expect from them
  • Keep Calm: Yelling a lot can cause your child to get used to it and adjust to it, making it less effective
  • Be explicit: say exactly what you want your child to do, set boundaries, and communicate what will happen if they break them
  • Be Consistent: Enforce the consequences you enact in a fair and consistent manner
  • Praise generously: Effective praise is important, both as positive reinforcement and as a way to mitigate the frequent negative feedback your child often receives
  • Help them manage their emotions: Mark emotions and talk to your child. Show them how to express emotions in an acceptable way.Modeling can help
  • Choose your battles: Prioritize what’s important, then stick to it
  • Avoid power struggles and arguments: State the consequences calmly and firmly, without going back and forth.If you feel like you are leveling up, leave and take a break
  • Spend quality time together: Find activities you and your child can enjoy together.It’s important to build relationships outside of rules and consequences
  • Seek support: In addition to providing professional support for your child, it may be helpful to find a support group with other parents who understand what you’re going through.It is also beneficial to have time and interests outside of children
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Safety Tips to Avoid Injury

Having a safe space where children can calm down without hurting themselves or others can help them express their big emotions safely.

Consider providing a space with soft seating, pillows, plush toys, play dough, and other safe sensory items. Supervision is important even in this safe space, but spending the right amount of time in this environment can give your child (and you) room to reset.

Try to make sure this space is used for self-regulation, not punishment. Recognize when you’ve reached your limit. If possible, let another adult step in, or make sure your child is safe and walk away for a moment to calm yourself down.

Effects of diet on ADHD and ODD

Food does not cause or cure ADHD or ODD. Evidence to support special diets as a treatment is limited, with conflicting findings.

More research is needed on the relationship between diet and ADHD and/or ODD.

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Calming Tips for Better Mental Health

Practices that have a sedative effect on children and adults include:

  • breathing focus
  • bootstrap image
  • yoga
  • mindfulness meditation

Other resources

Some of the many resources available include:

  • DocSpeak
  • living in balance
  • Rehabilitation of Difficult Children
  • problem teen
  • Additional Magazine
  • AD/HD National Resource Center
  • Chad


ADHD and ODD are different conditions, but often occur together. ADHD is a mental developmental disorder whereas ODD is a behavioral disorder.

Medications are often helpful for ADHD, but are rarely used alone for ODD. Several forms of treatment are useful for both disorders. Early intervention is associated with more successful treatment. Routine, consistency, and clear expectations and consequences are key to raising children with ADHD and/or ODD.

VigorTip words

Raising a child with ADHD, ODD, or both can be daunting, but there are resources to help you and your child.

If your child shows signs of one or both of these conditions, talk with your healthcare provider to determine next steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are ADHD and ODD considered disabilities?

    In the United States, ADHD and ODD may be considered disabilities for benefits under certain conditions, such as related to severity and the ability to work or function in certain capacities.

    understand more:

    Is ADHD a disability?

  • Can a child be expelled from school for aggressive ODD behavior?

    Children may be expelled for ODD-related behavior. It is important to work with your child’s school and let them know about your child’s diagnosis and challenges.

  • Will my child’s ODD get better with age?

    Most children with ODD will grow up as adults. If they continue to have ODD in the future, childhood treatment remains important to meet their current needs and reduce risk.

  • How can parents help their children make friends?

    Parents can help their children make friends by helping them build social skills, supervising play dates, practicing appropriate play, and socializing with them.