How Dangerous Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder & Life Expectancy Of Someone With it?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a mental disorder represented by a continuous pattern of hostile, disobedience, non-compliance to orders or rules, defiance, and irritating behavior in children out of proportion of their age. It has a significant impact on the child’s relationship and performance in school, work, and home. It is more common in boys than girls, usually at the age of 6-8 years. It can appear in the adults in whom it remains undiagnosed in their childhood. It is often associated with mental health disorders such as ADHD, Learning disabilities, mood disorders, etc. If it is left untreated, it may progress to a more serious behavioral disease named conduct disorder.

How Dangerous Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavioral disorder in children characterized by the display of a persistent pattern of uncooperative, hostile, rebellious, and annoying behavior toward authority figures. This behavior often interferes with the usual daily functioning of the child that involves relationships and interaction activities within the family and at school.

It is a common disorder for children, particularly those who are in the age of their “terrible twos” and early teens at least once in their lifetime. In such a condition, the child may express their defiance by disobeying, arguing, or replying to adults, involving their parents or teachers. It is usual and reasonable that such behavior may last within six months. When this behavior continues longer than six months and not proportional to his or her age, then it is a possibility that the child has developed Oppositional defiant disorder.

Oppositional defiant disorder typically starts at the age of 8 years. According to research studies, 2 to 16 percent of children and teenagers usually develop oppositional defiant disorder. In younger children, oppositional defiant disorder is more prevalent in boys than girls. In older children, it can appear equally in boys and girls.

Many children and teenagers have other associated mental disorders along with ODD that complicate the situation. These disorders involve-

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Mood disorders like depression
  • Anxiety disorders

Oppositional defiant disorder is not a dangerous condition until it gets complicated with the above mental diseases. Some children with ODD proceed to evolve as a more severe behavior condition called conduct disorder. Milder forms of oppositional defiant disorder often get better with the growing age of the child, and treatment is more effective in the early stages. In some instances, severe forms of ODD evolve into conduct disorder.(1)

Symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder may include:

  • Don’t comply with requests and rules
  • Show repeated temper tantrums
  • Shows constant argument with the adults, especially those in authority
  • Deliberately annoy or upset others, or get easily annoyed by others
  • Blame others for their own mistakes
  • Uses obscene language
  • Use mean and hateful things when they get upset
  • Are spiteful and believe in taking revenge
  • Have frequent outbursts of anger and resentment
  • Are moody, and easily frustrated
  • Have a low self-esteem
  • Get addicted to substance abuse that involves alcohol and drugs(3)

Life Expectancy Of Someone With Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Life expectancy is not affected by oppositional defiant disorder. The affected person may have suicidal tendencies. As discussed above, oppositional defiant disorder is a risk factor for the development of conduct disorder (CD). The diagnostic criteria of conduct disorder are more severe than the criteria linked with oppositional defiant disorder. CD involves more serious behavioral changes than challenging authority or vindictive behavior. The affected person indulges in theft, aggressive behaviors towards people or animals, and even destroy property. The rules violated by the people with CD are quite severe and often illegal.(2)

Conclusion

Oppositional Defiant disorder is not a dangerous condition if it is not associated with other mental health disorders such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, ADHD, and other learning disabilities. It does not affect the life expectancy of a person.

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