I was listening to a Podcast the other day, when I heard of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I'm so glad I heard of this before it was applied to someone I knew, so I could get through my “Are you f***ing kidding?” stage.
The short version is that ODD is when kids & teens are – wait for it – defiant to their elders. Another term I've heard used to describe this behavior is “Individuation;” when children begin to develop their own identities apart from their elders. I guess it became a “Disorder” when it got destructive.
Now, I'm no expert in psychiatry, but I know that it's a “Soft Science,” whereas there's more questions then answers, and it's a young science; less than 150 years old in it's current form. When we've only spent a few generations trying to understand the mind, it's pretty bold to start presenting “answers.” This is especially true with mental illnesses. Having said that, I've had several loved ones with such issues, and it isn't complete blarney. I may be a little biased, but I trust these people to honestly tell the difference between a serious problem and a character flaw.
At the same time, it's quite possible that the psychiatric community, in their efforts to understand behaviors, may be a little too eager to diagnose. When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
And consider this: the pharmaceutical industry is a business. Businesses need to make money – nothing wrong with that in principle, but the main method is creating a need or want in the consumers, and it isn't unreasonable to suggest that such need-creation gets out of hand with this industry (and many others).
Here is a questionnaire from a private school that specializes on ODD:
1. Wants to be alone more than with other children of the same age.
2. Complains of dizziness or headaches.
3. Doesn't participate in activities that were previously enjoyable.
4. Argues or is verbally disrespectful.
5. Is more fearful than other children of the same age.
6. Cuts school or is truant.
7. Cooperates with rules and expectations.
8. Has difficulty completing assignments or completes them carelessly.
9. Complains or whines that things are unfair.
10. Experiences trouble with her/his bowels, such as constipation or diarrhea.
11. Gets into physical fights with peers or family members.
12. Worries and/or can't get certain ideas out of his/her mind.
13. Steals or lies.
14. Is fidgety, restless, or hyperactive.
15. Seems anxious or nervous.
It seems that #2 and #10 address a medical concern (and #7 is a control question), the other questions could be chalked-up to someone just being maladjusted.
I learned some more from Webmd.com:
Sufferers of ODD may have abnormal amounts of neurotransmitters.
Family history of mood disorders, mental disorders, inconsistent discipline
2% to 16% of children and teens have ODD. Begins around age 8.
Prevention: “Providing a nurturing, supportive & consistent home environment with a balance of love and discipline” may prevent defiant episodes.
Now here's where the wonder of Bog Conversation kicks in; is anyone familiar enough with mental disorders to give some insights? Am I talking out my ignorance with this one, or is the medical community trying to hang a title on youthful rebellion so they can medicate it?
A few years ago, Tom Cruise caused a stir when he said that Depression could be treated with vitamins & exercise. I don't agree that all cases are that simple, but I'd bet a few could come leaps & bounds with such a treatment. I deffinitely want to hear what people think on this one...