ADHD vs ODD: Similarities & Differences

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Many individuals often endure a close connection between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), as they encounter the two conditions simultaneously. Research conducted in 2017 disclosed that over half of the public diagnosed with ADHD also held symptoms of ODD. If these two diseases are regularly found in conjunction, they are distinct neurodevelopmental disturbances. They can be differentiated by their varying indicators, treatments, and diagnoses.

What are ADHD and ODD?

ADHD, also familiar as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), is a neurodevelopmental malady that leads to issues with inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. All with ADHD usually face difficulties to concentrate on duties and engage in, which raise considerable defies when it comes to accomplishing projects, for instance. ADHD has the potential to restrict an individual’s abilities to learn or perform in the workplace, thus generating the development of stress, anxiety, and depression. Persons affected with ADHD may also meet hindrances when trying to keep seated; act spontaneously or get easily sidetracked.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) classifies Oppositional Defiant Disorder as a Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorder reflected by a persistent façade of an angry or irritable mood, a tendency to carry argumentative or defiant behaviour, and a desire to seek revenge. This comportment is typically directed at peers, parents, teachers, and other figures of authority.

Genetics and environmental elements are thought to contribute to the possibility of individuals having both disorders. The exact connection between the two stays unclear to medical professionals. Studies indicate that ODD might arise due to parental influences, in the style of insecure attachment, harsh or inconsistent parenting, or abuse, though children who grow up in a stable environment could develop this. Genetics play a crucial role in the ADHD syndrome. Separate constituents have also been linked to:

  • Brain injury.
  • Exposure to lead poisoning and other conditions in the time of foetal development or in early life.
  • Consumption of alcohol or tobacco throughout pregnancy.
  • Preterm birth or underweight babies.

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What are the similarities between ADHD and ODD?

  • Either disorder implies changes in brain chemistry that bring about symptoms as uncontrolled, impulsive or aggressive behaviour.
  • Each of these dysfunctions present threats when it touches on managing impulsive behaviours and emotions.
  • The one and the other happen larger in men than women.
  • Both together emerge over childhood and their symptoms can persevere into adolescence and adulthood.
  • One as well as the other starting point can be multifactorial, with genetic, biological, and environmental factors in play.

Impulsive behaviours

In ADHD, there are several collectively observed manifestations of impulsivity:

  • Decision-making in the heat of the instant.
  • Interrupting others in the course of conversations.
  • Entering in enterprises or speaking sans prior cogitation.
  • Embarking on things without preparatory planning.
  • Ideas racing, hard to tame.
  • Impatience.
  • Having trouble saving money or making progress towards long-term goals.
  • Going in for dangerous and self-harming activities.

In ODD, demonstrations of impulsivity can be illustrated through:

  • Repeatedly operating failing considering the consequences of the undertakings.
  • Rapid to wrath
  • Running inside uncontrollable fits of rage or extremely intense tantrums.

Social Challenges

ADHD is accompanied with a row of social challenges that individuals deal with:

  • Misunderstanding body language and tone of voice.
  • Getting quickly distracted by sounds or noises.
  • Talking excessively or at inappropriate moments.
  • Unfocused or fragmented views.
  • Cutting a discussion short unexpectedly.
  • Rude personality in societal places.
  • Feeling overwhelmed and inundated, causing a shutdown.
  • Misinterpreted the humour.
  • Disorganised lifestyle.

Adult with ODD confront various hassles, but they might not always:

  • Abuse verbally.
  • Rapid to wrath.
  • Unease adhering to established ways and meeting expectations.
  • Argue with family and coworkers.
  • Question rules and laws consistently.
  • Annoy and provoke people.
  • Difficulty taking ownership of their own actions, blaming others for.

Difficulty following instructions

Neurodiverse with ADHD have problems sticking to instructions when allotted a job; they do not respond or properly execute them. One common cause is a matter with executive function, which refers to a set of skills necessary for achieving targets ranging from memory and consciousness to planning and organisation. It becomes challenging to follow directions when there are weaknesses in these areas: info is able to slip from people’s minds, or they may pass over the directives because of an incapacity to process information or concentrate.

Someone with ODD simply refuses to listen to the commands given to them. In contrast, they are not affected by executive function deficit, nonetheless, a study on children discovered that they might cross more hitches in planning, problem-solving, and using logical reasoning when submitted to frustrating situations.

What are the differences between ADHD and ODD?

ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental illness that is distinguished by impulsive and hyperactive qualities, as well as inattentive interactions.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a challenging behaviour disorder delineated by a range of doings, specifically aimed at authority figures, that are highly uncooperative, obstinate, negative, irritable, and intentionally bothersome.

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Core symptoms

A person with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) experiences dilemmas sustaining awareness, exhibit heightened levels of activity, and fight with impulse control.

ADHD can reveal itself in three different ways:

  • A primarily hyperactive and impulsive presentation
  • An image that is mostly inattentive
  • A fusion of either
  • Adults who have ADHD could:
  • Continually feel restless.
  • Lack constructive planning and organisational aptitudes.
  • Forget elements, miss important appointments and due dates, and lose track of their belongings.
  • Struggle to fix on tasks and complete them.
  • Hot temper
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Turmoil coping with stress

ODD can emerge in two divergent ways:

  • One marked by irritability, coupled with ailments as anxiety, and fuelled by hurdles in handling frustration and problems in regulating emotions.
  • The other by an acute inclination for argumentation and vindication, associated with externalising complications such as disorderly conduct.

Some prevalent traits of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) are:

  • Harbouring frustration against the world.
  • Finding themselves generally misunderstood, unappreciated, or disliked.
  • Expressing a strong attitude of disdain or disrespect in response to authority figures.
  • Tending to assertively defend themselves and resistant to accepting feedback from everyone else.
  • Getting to lash out at the other ones when humiliated and have a low tolerance for frustration.
  • Having pain to sustain employment.

Behavioural Focus

ADHD medications have the capacity to efficiently diminish aspects; at the same time, therapy can equip individuals with strategies to comprehend and navigate generated by the sickness, alike low self-esteem, stress, impressions of defeat, and various other negative thinking routines.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that empowers to recognise and transform negative reflections in positive and beneficial ones; the objective is to transform adverse habits by altering the cognitive model that ignites them.

There are no medications for the care of ODD, however, medicine might be used to treat injuries that coexist with ODD, namely ADHD, anxiety, and depression.

ATX, a non-stimulant ADHD assistance, can aid in reducing components of ODD. It remains uncertain whether ATX in reality treats ODD or if it indirectly mitigates ODD symptoms by reducing ADHD’s ones.

CBT effectively tackles ODD by replacing facets notably defiance and irritability with soothing thoughts and enabling methods. Psychotherapy is essential for influencing ODD, however incorporating self-care systems like meditation can significantly weaken affection.

Age of Onset

ADHD is considered a growing affliction that is believed to just develop in adults if it first materialises during childhood. Although it is normally detected in children under the age of 12, there are cases where the diagnosis occurs later. In certain scenarios it is only in adulthood that ADHD is identified. Diagnosing ADHD in adults can be challenging due to the overlap of ADHD attributes with other circumstances like anxiety or mood move.

The ODD psychiatric state appears in childhood between the ages of 6 and 8 and persists within adulthood. There are two disparate types of Oppositional Defiant Disorder:

  • Childhood-onset ODD arrives in the early years of a child’s life and demands immediate intervention and cure to avoid its progression into a further severe conduct disorder.
  • Adolescent-onset ODD emerges abruptly between the middle and high-school years, leading to challenging turns both at home and within the school environment.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder are dissimilar yet frequently existing together as indispositions. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts attention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity; ODD is a behavioural disorder characterised by the exhibition of antagonistic, hostile, and uncooperative temper addressed to authority figures. While drugs can be greatly useful to treat ADHD, there are no remedies for the healing of ODD sole. It results that utilising the pair cognitive behaviour modification and self-care strategies is the most effective approach for improving the disabilities.

Blog Author

Laetitia Ponde Nkot