Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yet Another Disorder...

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
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...


  1. "When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

    Awesomeness. I FEAR psychiatrists and therapists. I've always held to the belief that most if not all get into that field to fix themselves first......however, no one can be completely fixed.

    And.......don't get me started on the drug companies.... I think I've got my next Tough Shit Tuesday rant : ) Thanks!

  2. Well, I'm no medical expert, but some of the symptoms, like #4 and #9, sound like most teenagers I know. They sound like what got Grace and her dogs sent to her room just about an hour ago.

    If I could give her a pill to make her stop being an evil teenaged girl, I'd totally do it cause my nerves are fried.

  3. My parents and I had to go to some counseling when I was young, and I found out a couple of years ago that the counselor thought I was borderline ODD. But now after reading the symptoms, really only 4, 9 and 11 were true. And don't think I was a violent child or anything, my mother just didn't like that when she slapped me across the face, I slapped her back. I remember when she told me that they thought I had this, I laughed and said that I think I was more independent and defiant than some teens, but since they were WAYY more strict than most parents, it all evened out. She didn't have anything to say after that.

  4. So really this is telling me that I have this ODD problem. Or at least use too? Hmmm, I never thought I had a psych problem, but who knew that all this time I could have been cured by laying on a couch and talking about my feelings

  5. There is an award for you at my blog you versatile man.

  6. Hey, Will--

    Great post. I actually HAVE a master's in psych (though social psych--not abnormal, developmental, or counseling) AND am a parent, and I think you make several points that are absolutely true. Specifically--defining WHAT is wrong is something the medical and drug communities have a vested interest in, and parents buy in because they think it relieves them of responsibility.

    The reality is MOST of these behaviors, a few at a time, are totally normal for teens, and I'd worry about a teen that showed none of them (because MAN will they have issues as adults--never having tested these waters--teenage years about ABOUT exploration that to adults will sometimes look deviant)

    I think it is like ADHD in a way... it is a REAL disorder, heavily over-diagnosed, and the component of behavior therapy (for parents as well as the kids) is VASTLY underused. I believe the increase in this is BOTH the 'diagnosis problem' and our current society that panders to short attention spans of parents as well as kids. We want easy fixes. These aren't easy problems. a NORMAL TEEN is not an easy problem.

    As a PARENT, I would advocate seeking behavioral approaches to ALL these problems, and if those alone don't work, consider whether the child is behaving OUT OF CHARACTER before thinking THIS is the problem. I have a kid who falls in MANY of these categories--has since she was about 4, but predictable standards, honest talk, consequences... most of it is manageable. Parents are looking for a scape goat and the medical community is giving them one. That's not saying it isn't real... just that only the tail is abnormal teen stuff. The rest can be dealt with.

  7. Our society seems desperate for labels and quick fixes for everything. It we leave it to psych experts and drug manufacturers, there is something wrong with all of us--and there is since none of us is perfect.

    When I entered college I was majoring in psychology and as I began to study mental disorders, I came to the conclusion that I was afflicted with a combination of many of them and therefore I was totally wacko. I then decided that should instead become a writer.

    Tossing It Out

  8. I think one of the major problems with these supposed mental disorders comes from a lack of discipline in the home. Tom Cruise says Vitamins and exercise and a bunch of Psych Experts say drugs and therapy. Whatever happened to a good old fashion spanking? Really does wonders to solve some of these problems.

    That being said, I will balance that discipline doesn't solve everything. Some kids do need drugs and some do need therapy....any maybe some do need vitamins.

    That's my thought. Sure many would disagree.

  9. I think it's disturbing that the answer these days is throw at pill at it. Why is it thirty years ago, most kids were normal, while today most kids have a disorder?

  10. i think it's scary to put questions like this out to parents - the answers could be linked to numerous things from spending too much time on the PC to normal adolescence... I hate the fact that the answers seem to lie in medication.

  11. Yeah, sadly we live in a "pill for everything" society.

  12. My Niece was recently labelled... I mean diagnosed with this.... I was disturbed to say the least...I work at a place full of mental health issues...and not just the staff... lol... all I could think when I heard this label was... ahmmmmmm.... what's next.... troubling to say the least... just came upon your blog... a wonderful read : ) From a new follower : )