The three disorders: opposition defiant disorder (ODD), intermittent explosive disorder (IED) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) have some very similar characteristics. Yet they also have some defining differences. As a parent, in might be hard to know if some of the behaviors you are seeing in your child are an indication of one of these disorders.

While it is very important to get an official diagnosis from a licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, knowing that your child needs to be evaluated is equally helpful. Here is a breakdown of the signs and symptoms of each disorder. Check which apply to your situation. Then, consult with a professional.

ODD: Oppositional Defiant Disorder. ODD is first discovered in the preschool years of a child. Typically, this child is seen a strong-willed and refuses to comply with commonly accepted standards of behavior. The child can appear to be rebellious, non-cooperative, and hostile at times. As a parent, discipline is difficult as the child often easily endures the negative consequences of their poor behavior.

Does your child

  • Display an angry or irritable mood most of the time?
  • Regularly lose their temper?
  • Show frustration with others easily?
  • Express being annoyed easily?
  • Hold resentment for other?
  • Hold a grudge for long periods of time?
  • Act spiteful or vindictive on multiple occasions?
  • Argue with authority figures and adults?
  • Knowingly defy authority figures?
  • Refuse to comply with rules?
  • Deliberately annoy others?
  • Blame others for their mistakes or poor behavior?

IED: Intermittent Explosive Disorder. The outbursts of anger and rage seem to come out of nowhere and are generally short lived. After the child releases their anger, they feel a sense of relief and are typically remorseful for their behavior. For the parent, the is no logical explanation for the childs behavior which is precisely what makes IED so frustrating.

Does your child

  • Have regular outbursts?
  • Have an inability to control impulsive behavior?
  • Have weekly arguments?
  • Get physically aggressive but without destroying property?
  • Have major blow-ups that do involve injury or destruction?
  • Overreact to stress or others?
  • Have frequent temper tantrums followed by normal behavior?
  • Harm animals?

ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder. A child with ADD is not typically diagnosed until after the age of 7. Prior to this, all of the following behaviors are within the normal expectations of child behaviors. However, as the child becomes older, their ability to perform in the classroom becomes compromised. These children can appear to be spacy or ditsy at times.

Does your child

  • Not pay close attention to details?
  • Make careless mistakes?
  • Have trouble paying attention?
  • Not seem to be listening when being spoken to?
  • Not follow through on assignments?
  • Have trouble organizing?
  • Avoid things that take a lot of effort to complete?
  • Often lose items of value?
  • Distract easily?
  • Forget to complete daily tasks?

ADD with Hyperactivity. A child with the hyperactivity component is always moving. While they might have some of the ODD or IED components, their level of required activity is above normal. As a parent, it might be difficult to keep up with a child who is hyperactive. Most parents report being very tired of their childs constant need for activity.

Does your child

  • Often fidget?
  • Squirm when sitting still is expected?
  • Gets up from seat before expected?
  • Excessively run or climb when it isnt appropriate?
  • Have trouble playing quietly?
  • Seem to be on the go all the time?
  • Talk excessively?
  • Blurt out answers before questions are finished?
  • Have trouble waiting for their turn?
  • Interrupt or intrude on others?

Just because your child has some of these symptoms, does not mean they have the full disorder. Many children have tendencies of a disorder without the full diagnosis. Each of these disorders can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. Use this list as a starting place and then seek professional help.