Are you considering residential treatment for ODD for your child or teen? Here are the types of treatment available and how to determine which may be best in your situation. Find information about programs that can keep your child safe and help them grow to be a successful adult.
- What is ODD?
- What Treatment is Available for ODD?
- How Do I Know if My Child with ODD Needs Residential Treatment?
- Residential Treatment Options for ODD
- Residential Treatment Success Rates for ODD
What is ODD?
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a mental health condition characterized by a pattern of angry, irritable, and defiant behavior towards authority figures. Children and teens with ODD frequently lose their temper, blame others for their own mistakes, and deliberately annoy other people.
The symptoms of ODD include:
- A pattern of negative, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least six months.
- The child usually has problems in at least two settings, such as at home and school.
- The child may have physical fights with others or deliberately damage property.
- The child may be spiteful or vindictive.
This disorder is diagnosed in children who are between the ages of 6 to 18 years old, although children can show signs of ODD even younger.
The condition often develops in early years and can last into adulthood. If treatment in childhood is not successful, conduct disorder or antisocial personality disorder may develop. Click here to learn more about effective parenting strategies for ODD.
What Treatment is Available for ODD?
Here are treatments available for oppositional defiance.
The most common treatment for ODD is psychotherapy. A therapist will work with the child to help them learn skills to manage their feelings and thoughts, as well as teach them ways to cope with stress.
Types of therapy used for this disorder include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), play therapy, and family therapy. The goal of therapy is to teach the child coping skills and ways to control their mood and behavior.
Most therapy includes a parent education component to give them behavior modification strategies to use at home.
A therapy that can work for teens with ODD is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DTB) which is a specific method to develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.
There are also some medications that can be used in conjunction with psychotherapy that can help treat ODD symptoms. These include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or antipsychotics.
In addition to out-patient therapy, many community mental health departments offer additional services. These may be called wrap-around services and include parent support, respite, and child skill-building programs.
Mental Health Hospitalization
If your child with ODD becomes out of control and you consider him a danger to himself or others, consider hospitalization options.
Many children with oppositional defiance can be aggressive and violent to the point that further help is necessary. Remember that if you feel you or your child are in immediate danger, you have the option to call 911.
Hospitalization options include:
- Emergency Room (ER) evaluation – Emergency room staff are trained to evaluate your child for mental health crisis situations.
- Short in-patient programs – Typically meant for 7-30 days, inpatient hospitalization helps with regulation, diagnosis, medication management, and giving the family support to access community services.
- Day treatment – These programs provide similar support to a residential setting, but children return home on evenings and weekends.
If a child is not safe to continue living at home, residential treatment programs are the last resort in getting the child the care he needs. With residential care, the youth lives at the facility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with continual supervision. Most residential programs are for 6-12 months but some provide care longer.
How Do I Know if My Child with ODD Needs Residential Treatment?
No parent wants to make the incredibly difficult decision to place their child into residential care. Yet often, life has become so difficult that parents feel that have no other choice.
Because residential treatment is serious, and expensive, it is reserved only for children with the most severe behaviors.
Some of the reasons children or teens qualify for residential treatment include:
- aggression and violence to the point of harming others
- suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- mania or psychotic breaks from reality
- depression to the point of not being able to function
Click here for more information about how to determine if your child with ODD needs residential treatment.
Residential Treatment Options for ODD
Once you’ve determined that residential treatment is the best next step for your child with ODD, it’s time to explore the options available. There are number of types of out-of-home treatment with different benefits and ways they are funded.
1. Residential Treatment Facility (RTF)
A residential treatment facility is a place where a child lives and attends school while receiving mental health care. This care is part of the services offered by the Department of Mental Health for the state where you live. Funding is typically provided by insurance, Medicaid, and the foster care system. Click here for more information about how to pay for residential treatment.
2. Residential Treatment Center (RTC)
Residential Treatment Centers are typically funded by the court system and may be called Juvenile Detention (“Juvie”). When a child is placed through the juvenile justice court system, a crime has been committed and a judge determines placement.
This type of treatment is more common with children with have been diagnosed with Conduct Disorder.
3. Therapeutic Boarding Schools (TBS)
Therapeutic boarding schools provide highly structured situations for children and youth with behavior issues. They offer a nurturing environment where kids can learn the skills to live up to their full potential.
While some programs accept insurance and offer grants, most are private and self-pay. Click here for a list of therapeutic boarding schools by state.
4. Military Schools
Military boarding schools provide a strict, structured environment for children who need it in order to manage their behavior. Military schools are a type of therapeutic boarding school and require tuition. Scholarships and grants are available.
Many children with ODD do well in military schools because of the firm guidance and structure. Some military schools accept only boys and some are co-ed. There are no girls-only military schools.
Click here for a list of recommended military schools by state.
5. Wilderness Therapy
Nature therapy programs are situations where children learn to better themselves through guided experiences outdoors. Most are short (several weeks to a couple months) and all are self-pay.
Because it forces them out of their comfort zone in a positive way, many children with ODD have had positive learning experiences from wilderness therapy.
Click here for a list of top wilderness programs by state.
6. Other Program Options
Many children with oppositional defiance have additional issues and diagnosis. Programs to treat these conditions include other program options such as group homes, autism treatment, drug rehab, sexualized behavior, diversion programs, or trauma healing.
Life Quest Girls Academy in Utah provides a non-therapeutic boarding school alternative for teen girls that is more affordable and costs significantly less than other schools.
Residential Treatment Success Rates for ODD
Unfortunately, the success rates for residential treatment are not especially high. Kids are meant to grow up in families. When possible, the goal should be to keep children at home and in the community as much as possible.
Still, there are times when residential treatment is necessary in order to keep both the child and family safe. In these cases, choose a program that will best meet the child’s needs.
Have you considered residential treatment for a child with ODD? Share about it in the comments below.