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How Does Oppositional Defiant Disorder Affect The Body & What Triggers It?

There has not been much research on the oppositional defiant disorder but whatever research is available does not give a clear causative mechanism for its cause. There are numerous associations and triggering factors responsible for the development of the oppositional defiant disorder at such an early age. However, according to a recent study, the biological and environmental factors have been attributed to the majority of the disruptive and behavioral disorders of mental illness.

How Does Oppositional Defiant Disorder Affect The Body?

Although, it is a psychiatric illness it also affects the body via various means physically as well as mentally. There is increased mental pressure to perform better in front of society which may lead to the creation of a nuisance, indiscipline in the person. Irritative and annoying behavior is accompanied by the loss of friendship and there are increased chances of loneliness which may lead to depression, anxiety disorders and much more.(3) The physical activity and ability are also compromised because of the lack of focus on the task.

Metabolically, there are increased levels of pituitary hormones especially stress hormones like oxytocin, adrenocortical hormone, as well as the hormones at the organ levels also increase like epinephrine and cortisol in the adrenal gland. These hormones, when raised for long period of time, increases the blood pressure and set the bar at higher pressure. There can be changes in the heart and blood vessels including hypertrophy, fibrosis of the cardiovascular muscle tissue which is very dangerous for the body. There can be opposite gender changes seen in the patients like due to increased cortisol the hair growth on the body increases especially in the females which may be more distressing to the individual.

What Triggers Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

There has been no specific cause found to date to be responsible for the oppositional defiant disorder as well as other behavioral conduct disorders. The neurobiological factors are thought to be responsible because when conducted the brain scans of the patients affected with these disorders were found to be slightly different from that of normal especially in the areas of impulse control and judgment. Two systems are working simultaneously in the brain known as brain activation system and brain inhibition system.(1) Now both these systems work in a synchronized manner to maintain the balance but in cases of oppositional defiant disorder, the brain activation system is more active than the brain inhibition system.

Socio-environmental factors also play a very important role in the developing behavior of the child. Negative parenting practices, child abuse, sexual abuse, controlling behavior, parent-child conflict can all lead to the development of aggressive and argumentative behavior in the child which can take the form of conduct disorder or behavior disorders. Peer pressure and an extra luxurious lifestyle can build pressure on the child to maintain his dignity in front of the society for which there can be unnecessary demands to the parents.(2)


Psychiatric disorders are usually not attributed to any metabolic, physical, organic abnormality in the body but due to emotional and psychological reasons which cannot be detected on scientific investigations performed upon the individual. Similarly, the oppositional defiant disorder and other behavioral disorders such as conduct disorder are also not known to be attributed to some organic cause but the social and family environment of the individual. There has been no specific cause found for its diagnosis and only the risk factors have been highlighted so that they can be identified and eliminated before the individual approaches towards the behavior disorder.

The mind is also a part of the body and it is very necessary to keep it healthy and peaceful. If there is any abnormality in the mind there would be a lot of discomfort to the body also. So, it is of utmost importance to keep peace of mind.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 11, 2020

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