While every child has times in which his or her behavior can be difficult and challenging, children who have persistent tantrums, constantly argue, and display anger or disruption toward you or other figures of authority, may be suffering from oppositional defiant disorder. Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a condition in which a child or adolescent will display an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and annoying behavior toward people in authority. The behavior of a child with ODD often disrupts normal daily activities, including activities within the family and at school.
As a parent, it can be extremely frustrating and exhausting trying to raise a child with ODD. Getting through the day may sometimes seem like an impossible task; even worse, you may feel as if you have somehow failed as a parent. At Longleaf Hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana, we want you to know that you no longer have to try to manage the symptoms of your child’s disorder alone. At our center, we have a team of compassionate, experienced doctors, nurses, and counselors who are experts in their fields, and they can help get your get your child’s symptoms under control.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Since most children will, at some point, defy authority, throw tantrums, or have angry outbursts, it can be hard to determine if your child’s actions are appropriate independence-seeking behavior that shows up in the early teen years or something much more serious. However, if you believe that your child may have ODD, the following steps will be important in getting him or her the professional help needed:
- First, call your child’s primary care physician to set up an evaluation. With a complete medical history and a physical examination, the doctor can rule out the possibility of any other possible causes for your child’s behavior.
- Depending upon the results of the evaluation, the doctor will refer you to a mental health professional who can diagnose and effectively treat your child.
- Since ODD is not always easy to diagnose, take the time to do your research and have open communication with your child’s treatment team throughout the process. This can help him or her more accurately determine what is causing your child to have difficulties.
- Most importantly, keep in mind that your child is not intentionally engaging in this behavior to annoy you or make you mad. You can continue to love your child, even if you don’t love his or her behavior.
- While it is important to support your child, remember to also take some time for yourself. If you do not take care of yourself, you may not have the energy needed to best advocate for your child. Talk to someone you trust about your own struggles, or seek out a support group in your community; these resources will allow you to express your own emotions in a safe space and help you cope with this difficult situation.
Why Consider Treatment at Longleaf Hospital
Living with untreated ODD can lead to major disturbances in the home, at school, or with peers. ODD is often accompanied by other serious mental health disorders, and without proper treatment, it can develop into conduct disorder, which is a more serious mental health condition that can affect individuals well into adulthood. Additionally, those who are not treated are at an increased risk for substance abuse and delinquency.
Sometimes parents have a hard time viewing their child’s defiant behaviors as a mental health disorder, and believe that as the child gets older he or she will “grow out of it.” However, evidence suggests that early intervention and treatment can help a child to overcome ODD, and may prevent the condition from progressing into a more serious mental health concern.
Inpatient treatment for ODD usually consists of a combination of individual, group, and family therapies, along with parenting supports. Through therapy, children and adolescents can learn to overcome the symptoms of ODD, learn how to better manage their anger, develop healthy coping strategies to deal with stressful situations, and learn more appropriate ways of interacting with others. Parents can also benefit from inpatient treatment programs as it will allow them to learn better methods for discipline, setting boundaries, and ways in which they can reward and encourage good behavior.
Longleaf Hospital uses only the most up-to-date and scientifically effective treatments available to care for those who are struggling with ODD. The compassionate staff is dedicated to helping all children, teens, and adults who have mental health conditions move past their difficulties and once again live fulfilling lives. Throughout your child’s stay, we will do everything we can to make him or her feel safe and comfortable so that he or she can focus solely on the healing process.
Types of Treatment Offered at Longleaf Hospital
Located in Alexandria, Louisiana, Longleaf Hospital is a leader in the provision of mental health treatment for adolescents between the ages of 11 and 17. Having undergone extensive renovations and upgrades in 2015, our hospital supplies a state-of-the-art treatment setting, fully conducive to helping patients achieve true and lasting healing.
With the knowledge that adolescents who are suffering from mental health conditions experience symptoms differently, and therefore respond to treatment differently than adults, we are pleased to be able to offer comprehensive care in a manner that is tailored for the needs and developmental stages of young people. As such, when youth come to us suffering from the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder, we are fully equipped to offer them personalized care that meets them where they are at in their struggles.
At Longleaf Hospital, we have made it our mission to deliver the most advanced level of care while simultaneously meeting each adolescent’s specific needs. In doing so, we are able to help our patients achieve long-term success in reaching and exceeding their treatment goals.
Adolescents who come to us struggling with the symptoms and effects of ODD will be given the opportunity to engage in a therapeutic milieu that is tailored to help them to not only overcome their distress, but also to develop coping skills in order to manage symptoms that may arise in the future. There are a variety of treatment modalities that may be used during a youth’s time in our care, including the following:
- Rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT)
- Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Young people who are receiving treatment at our hospital also benefit from having access to medical care should physical health needs or concerns arise. Doctors and nurse practitioners are on-hand to deliver this care, ensuring each adolescent’s physical wellbeing as they work towards healing from oppositional defiant disorder.
Additionally, numerous therapeutic interventions are implemented as part of each adolescent’s individualized plan of care. Among these interventions are the following:
- Medication management: In some instances, medication may be beneficial for youth who are suffering from ODD. All medication decisions, however, are made on a case-by-case basis and used only when deemed appropriate. For those adolescents who are prescribed medication, the use of such will be monitored for safety and effectiveness by our pharmacists, medical doctors, nurse practitioners, and other members of our nursing staff.
- Individual therapy: Individual therapy sessions can be immensely helpful for adolescents who are struggling with the symptoms of ODD. During these sessions, young people meet one-on-one with a Master’s level social worker who will encourage them to process through their challenges, address their concerns, and celebrate treatment successes. During an adolescent’s time in our acute inpatient program, he or she will receive individual therapy sessions daily.
- Family therapy: Here at Longleaf, we understand that the presence of a mental illness like ODD does not only impact the suffering adolescent, but that it affects his or her family as well. We also recognize that family dynamics play a crucial role in the overall healing process, which is why we are pleased to offer family therapy sessions. In these sessions, patients and their loves ones can work on developing coping mechanisms that will help support the patient and the family unit as a whole.
- Group therapy: Adolescents who are experiencing any type of mental health disorder, including ODD, can find much support and encouragement by participating in group therapy sessions. Because of this fact, at Longleaf, we offer multiple group therapy sessions throughout a patient’s time in our care. In this setting, adolescents can come together with their peers and learn ways of coping together. Doing so not only provides much-needed reassurance, but it can also serve to eliminate the sense of isolation and loneliness that many young people with ODD experience. In order to be sensitive to the needs of many adolescents, group therapy sessions are conducted in gender-specific groups, with a female therapist leading the girls’ groups and a male therapist leading the boys’ groups.
- Recreational therapy: Adolescents need time to expel their energy, and they also need a variety of avenues outside of talk therapy to fully address the challenges they are facing. As a result of this knowledge, we supply recreational therapy twice a day for the adolescents in our care. The activities that may be included in these recreational therapy times are the following:
- Inside gym time
During your child’s time in our inpatient program, you are welcome and encouraged to visit your son or daughter daily. The typical length of stay for adolescents is between 7 and 10 days, yet the actual duration of a youth’s time in our care will depend solely on his or her needs.
Once your child’s time in treatment has come to an end, his or her treatment team will work with both you and your child to determine an appropriate aftercare plan. In doing so, your son or daughter will be armed with the ongoing support needed to maintain the gains he or she made while in our care.
Learn More Today
If your son, daughter, or another adolescent in your life is suffering from the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder and could benefit from all-inclusive care that is delivered in a fully supportive and encouraging environment, please do not hesitate to contact Longleaf Hospital in Alexandria, LA today. Our caring and compassionate team of intake counselors is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide you with the guidance you need to make the best decision for your child.