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Can You Die From Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

The oppositional defiant disorder is not a medical condition but a psychiatric illness associated with no known organic cause responsible for it. It consists of the argumentative and vindictive behavior of the patient in which the person is ready to counter the other person in every way possible to prove the point that he is correct. This type of behavior is commonly seen in children especially schools going in western countries because of their lifestyle and parenting attitude.

Can You Die From Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Since the oppositional defiant disorder is a psychological disorder and behavioral discrepancy there is no threat to life directly under the disorder and there has been no mortality because of it. There is no organic disease association found directly linked to the oppositional defiant disorder and hence it does not contribute to any of the mortality rates of such patients.

But there are a lot of comorbidities associated with the oppositional defiant disorder as also with other psychiatric illnesses. It can also be associated with anxiety disorder, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, major depression, etc.(1) Out of these major depression is the most dangerous complication of the oppositional defiant disorder because it can lead to suicidal ideation and suicidal tendency and can lead to increase in mortality. Borderline personality disorder and conduct disorders can result in the urge to do a crime which can lead to judicial custody and judicial hanging and can go unnoticed as a disorder because of the societal pressure. Bipolar disorder is associated with phases of mania and depression, sometimes in one of its phase’s patients can go out of control and do such things which can be harmful to a patient as well as others also. These all the causes can be the reason for mortality which can be indirectly attributed to behavioral disorders such as oppositional defiant disorder but there is no direct link of the mortality with it.

Anxiety disorder which is also among one of the associations of the oppositional defiant disorder can create undue pressure on the patient for better performance in any field leading to various mistakes and blunders. It may create a path for increased morbidity in the patient by further aggravating the depression or bipolar tendency. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can lead to poor scholastic performance and create a lot of pressure on the child. It may be indirectly linked to a hard-parenting attitude on the child and can lead to failure of the understanding of the child and its difficulty. The affected individual can lose the important and inseparable virtues of life. Oppositional defiant disorder and its related associations can lead to the creation of more comorbid conditions which may also be organic and start various medical conditions that were not previously present in the individual. Because the famous eponym is true that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body and so the ill mind can generate a lot of other potential comorbid conditions.(1)


The oppositional defiant disorder is a psychiatric illness and psychological abnormality rather than being an organic disease is not associated with any mortality, that is, none of the affected persons with this disorder dies due to it and directly linked with it. This disorder can lead to a variety of other conditions that may be directly or indirectly responsible for the mortality of the patient in a few cases but otherwise, there is no mortality association. However, it is an easily treatable disease if it is diagnosed at time and treatment is done with good psychotherapy and proper parenting guideline is provided to eliminate all the causes which led to the generation of this disorder. The attitude of the parents is very important for their child to recover from it.


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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 11, 2020

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