Yes, various conditions can be over-diagnosed and mistreated.
But Oppositional Defiant Disorder is REAL.
I know. My grandson was diagnosed, once we got him away from his very troubled mother and got him the physical and mental health treatment he needed.
We're not talking about people who question authority, who think independently, who resist conformity. I do all of those things myself; hence my screen name on DU and the consistent attacks here for not being a good enough Democrat. So does my son, his father, who is even more so than I. Neither of us, though, is ODD.
ODD is an extreme. It has several causes. In my grandson's case, neglect, abuse, lack of supervision, inconsistent and harsh discipline through the age of 4...definitely.
The person with ODD has control issues, and takes those issues beyond the edge of extreme. Even at the age of 3 or 4. They will do ANYTHING to "win," including endangering and hurting themselves and others. They don't respond to the ways most kids learn civility or how to make appropriate choices. Adults in their family have to be trained to go outside their own experiences to make any progress at all.
They don't need medication, unless it's addressing a related condition. They do need intensive therapy and training in self-management and choice making, and their families need training in how to interact with them to help move things in positive directions, rather than feeding the problem.
This blog was written by an anonymous person referencing an article written by someone only identified as "Andrew," with no last name, no qualifications given for the statements made. When "Andrew" has had to put a 4 yo into a restraining hold to keep him from extreme violence to himself and others around him; when he's stood under a very tall tree, terrified that the 4 yo will fall after he scrambled up faster than adults could reach him, afraid to climb after him for fear he would throw himself onto the rocks below, hoping that if he fell he could be caught, and knowing that no "coaxing" in the world would get him down; when he's had to chase a 4 yo over a fence and into miles of public forest that he could be lost in for way too long, with that 4 yo looking back at him with a feral grin because he was "winning;" when he's had to find a way to get a 4 yo to eat when he's made up his mind not to...for 2 days...when he's had a 4 yo unlatch his seatbelt and launch his arms around the driver's neck on the highway, only to take off across that highway in the midst of traffic when the car was pulled over for safety...
When he's had to give up his job so that he can show up at school at any given moment to remove his child; when his entire adult life is given to therapy, counseling, a special school for children with these kinds of problems, and all trips into the public arena are determined by whether or not the child is in a good enough place that day to do so safely...when it takes 8 years of all of that therapy and retraining to get to a point that the child can interact, privately and publicly, with civility and reasonable behavior, but STILL has control issues which he struggles to manage every day...
When he wants to give his full name and his qualifications to speak authoritatively about mental illness...
then "Andrew" can make pronouncements about whether or not ODD is real. Until then, I'll stick with my grandson's team of doctors and other acknowledged authorities whose credentials can be checked.
Interestingly enough, when an ODD student enters our school, I'm the one called to assist the assigned teacher, or, if the child is in my grade level, he or she will be placed in my class. Why? Because there are specific strategies for working with these kids, and I've already been trained.