Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in Adults

Q & A from one of Mark Hutten’s Seminars on “Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in Adults”

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in Adults: What Spouses Need To Know—

Are some ODD behaviors more serious or severe than others?
Any behaviors which would cause an adult to move from job to job or have serious difficulty in relationships with others (especially spouses) could have strong, negative consequences.

Are there any other conditions that can be associated with OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER?
Yes there are. Sometimes conditions like diabetes, ADD, serious health conditions or learning disabilities create a “hiding” place for oppositionality and defiance. In these cases, OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER behaviors “hide” behind the primary condition, which provides an “excuse” for noncompliance. (Example: an ODD spouse refuses to work, continually claiming he is being treated unfairly by his boss.)

Can an ODD adult be diagnosed as both OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER and ADHD?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a diagnosed condition of negativistic, hostile and defiant behavior that includes symptoms of low frustration tolerance, argumentativeness, defiance, noncompliance, oppositionality, provocation, blaming, spitefulness, irritability, resentment, anger or vindictiveness. (Not all need to apply for a diagnosis to be made.)

OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER is diagnosed by an appropriately certified or licensed health service professional that assesses a client and makes the diagnosis as it pertains to established criteria. The most commonly used criteria are found in the most current edition of a book entitled, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

How much do external events and circumstances play into OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER?
They can easily make the OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER much better or much worse.

I find my husband is defiant toward some people, but not others. Why is this?
OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER behavior is highly reactive to the environmental situations and circumstances. This certainly includes differences in authority figures, how they relate to the ODD adult, and how they "package" their expectations.

My ODD husband went to a counselor and was told after one visit that there was nothing wrong with him. I was totally frustrated about the whole thing. Why would a counselor say this?
The ODD adult, for awhile, can look perfectly fine in every regard. This is why a good therapist or counselor puts more stock in the “hard” facts about the client, not what the client is saying or doing in early visits.

If my ODD husband is depressed, what can be done to help him?
The depression needs to be evaluated and treated. It is common for oppositional and defiant behaviors to lessen as the depression is addressed. Sometimes medication helps.

Is lying a typical behavior of OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER?
It certainly can be. Usually, behaviors like lying differ from one individual to another as they become more severe in their behaviors. Many professionals believe that lying and stealing often go together.

Although there probably isn't an "OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER gene," characteristics like disposition and temperament can probably be inherited.

Is there any connection between OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER and the use or abuse of drugs and alcohol?
There probably is a connection, but not necessarily a direct one. OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER behaviors can occur in adukts who are unhappy. Alcohol and drugs are one kind of "self" medication.

I've heard that many OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER adults are depressed? Is this true?
A solid piece of research done in 1993 indicated that, of the OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER adults evaluated, half of them also met the criteria for depression.

My husband walks half a block down the street to help a senior citizen bring in her groceries, but he won't ever take out the trash at OUR house? Why is this?
First of all, he wants to look like a good, kind and caring man. But consider that the job of helping the lady with her groceries is essentially a one-shot deal. Taking out the trash at home could last for years, not to mention the fact that we are much more direct in our behaviors of resistance and refusal with those who already know us well.

Sometimes it seems to me that my husband actually enjoys it when I become upset with him. Why is this?
He has gotten the satisfaction of knowing he has gotten to you. This “trap” is one of the toughest ones for spouses to deal with.

What about "passive-aggressive" behavior? Is that the same as oppositional defiant?
“Passive-aggressive” behavior is a term that was used to describe both children and adults before there ever was a classification of OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER. Specifically, passive-aggressive behavior is but one type of oppositional and defiant behavior. Persistent and problematic passive-aggressive behavior in adults is more properly diagnosed using adult classifications, often falling under the general category of "personality disorders."

What are some of the signs that a child might become Conduct Disordered?
Things like family history, especially parents and siblings having trouble with the law, the activities of a child's "friends," a history of abuse or severe neglect in the home, use of alcohol and drugs, and a youngster's level of regard for others could all be indications.

What happens when OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER children become adults?
They can take their problems with them, causing difficulty in their relationships, marriage and work. The divorce rate, employment difficulties and the abuse of alcohol or drugs is usually higher in this population of young adults.

What is the difference between an OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER adult and one who is just stubborn?
Stubborn ODD people know when to give it up. They don't continue with their stubbornness to the degree and point that it creates serious hardships for them. Stubbornness can even be an attribute, such as a resolve that can shine through in tough times. Not so with OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER, which, by nature of being a disorder, works against the person's best interest.

What is the difference between OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER and ADD?
OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) is a psychological condition that, favorably or not, is responsive to external situations and circumstances. ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is brain-related, a neurological condition or immaturity that causes a person to have difficulty focusing on tasks. The condition of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) states that the person is additionally hyperactive and impulsive.

What is the likelihood that an OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER adult will become more severe in his or her behaviors (aggressive and anti-social)?
Here we're talking about serious, acting-out behaviors that could involve the law. Current data indicates about one in three OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER people will move on into a more serious disorder.

What would happen if an OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER adult is depressed, but the depression goes unaddressed or untreated?
Both the OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER and the depression will continue to worsen to the detriment of the individual. Self-injury or even suicidal attempts are a possibility.

Is there any hope if my husband has this disorder called ODD?
Most wives of ODD husbands find that the parenting strategies used with ODD children ALSO work with ODD husbands. Why? Because ODD adults are very immature for their age. You may have a husband who is chronologically 35-years-old, but emotionally more like a teenager. So – yes – there is hope!

* Excerpts from one of Mark Hutten's Seminars on "ODD in Adults"

==> Help for Spouses of ODD Husbands (a program for ODD teens that also - strangely enough - works for ODD adults)...


Anonymous said...

last few days our class held a similar talk about this subject and you point out something we have not covered yet, thanks.

- Kris

J Roles said...

I have had enough of being an ODD parent to my husband - I am exhausted!

Stacey said...

I have a boyfriend he has all the signs and symptoms of O.D.D. he told me he has ADHD. We were at a restaurant he got upset and started rage yelling the manager was going to call the cops.I was so embarrassed and ashamed. I have tried to end our relationship he always begs me not to leave. We love each other it's very exhausting. I told him he needs to get help If this relationship will work. He says he wants to change. He needs to show me. I've caught him in so many lies.

Distressed said...

I have been living with a spouse with undiagnosed ODD for 26 yrs. Is it possible that the condition worsens with age?

swolfmoon said...

I was told recently by my current mental health RNP that ODD is only a kid thing, and that I couldn't possibly have it because I am an adult. SO FRUSTRATING.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I'm dealing with somebody like this. I was looking for how pyrroles treatment is tricky in people with Tourette's, and my eye was drawn to this term as one of the conditions often associated with pyrroles. Sure enough, it seems it applies to my freind. He is nearly 80 and since gotten more well is back to this stuff. Oppositional to reason when it doesn't suite him, and difficulties in accessing things. He opposes authority in a way he is not content unless he is expressing authority/superiority over other people. His history is like what has been described here.

The thing about ODD ending abruptly when you are 18: As the term doesn't mention childhood, it should persist throughout life.

Unknown said...

I have a husband I think has odd my child has odd just diagnosed I'm about to throw in the towel I can't handle it double dosed. What support can I find for me to cope better and not get overwhelmed

Frustrated said...

My adult son has ODD. A Lifetime of struggles. Refuses therapy, self meditates with weed, unable and unwilling to live on any kind if budget, spends all his money on good times and weed, puts no priority into meeting his financial obligations first, always pressuring me into helping him financially. Always angry, emotional outbursts on a regular basis, he is a Terrible Son,also a terrible Father, drove wife away and 2 years later continues to obsess about her, refusing to accept it's over and blames everyone else for his plight.
My feelings for him go from love to hate and wanting him to go away forever....but he won't, and no hope for change because he refuses to accept his condition or get any therapy. Went to family counseling for 8 years as a kid and never got help because HE REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE.
Finally letting him move into a house I own 2000 miles away in hope that our relationship might improve.
I'm over 60 years old and I'm exhausted with this.....dont I have a right to some peace and happiness without having some guilt trip put on me or some havoc being created to prevent me from living my life?????

Unknown said...

Hi.Your son sounds just like my husband. Only we're still married with a two yr old. I wish I could leave. I'm miserable. You should not feel guilty. You're sound like an awesome mother. I'm sure your son loves you. Good Luck.


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