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Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder Hereditary & What Happens To Adults With It?

Behavior disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) are widespread childhood externalizing syndromes that often co-exist. Nevertheless, the origins of their causes are not well recognized.

There is a significant connection between the parental substance use disorders and antisocial behavior and childhood disruptive disorders in children however there is no clear information whether this pertains to specific disorder or if some other source triggering this condition.

Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder Hereditary?

Biological and genetic factors that contribute to oppositional defiant disorder:

The exact cause of ODD remains elusive, but it is believed that a combination of biological, genetic, and environmental factors may contribute to the condition and may play a role in the pathogenesis. The oppositional defiant disorder may run in families. Further sources may be associated with the nervous system or neuron substances when it becomes out of balance.

Prior researches analyzing the differentiation between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD) have generated conflicting findings. A few investigations have established that the covariation among these indicators is due to widespread hereditary changes, although others have uncovered a common environmental connection.

The current research probed the genetic and environmental relationships among these three childhood syndromes. Structural equation modeling was used to concurrently evaluate the wide-ranging and special characteristics of different parental externalizing disorders (conduct disorder, adult antisocial behavior, alcohol addiction, and drug addiction) on childhood disruptive disorders (attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome, behavior syndrome, and oppositional defiant syndrome).1,2

A severely genetic general problem for the parent-child communication of externalizing psychopathology from parents to their juvenile child. This is a typical study for deep-dive analysis of both etiology and intervention.

Numerous experiments indicate that fostering and environment perform together to enhance one’s sensitivity to improving the condition. Bad interactions with authorities, emotions of abandonment, and/ or the single parent-child, in addition to incompetency to develop strong social connections, are just some of the psychosomatic elements that add to oppositional defiant disorder. Children born to mothers who had the habit of smoking during pregnancy have a higher probability of developing the oppositional defiant disorder.3

What Happens To Adults With Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Adults with the oppositional defiant disorder who were not identified during childhood often go undiagnosed. Oppositional defiant disorder in adults is not well-recognized, mainly because the analysis is almost always identified in kids and teens. Adults suffering from this condition often confront enhanced risks in a relationship, carrier, and family.

In addition to that, they are also at increased risk of developing social and psychological problems as adults, which involves suicide and substance use disorders. Conduct related to oppositional defiant disorder can lead to detentions, career failures, break up, and family rifts. Adults and adolescents with a record of the oppositional defiant disorder have a more than 80% likelihood of being identified with an extra mental disorder in their lifetime.

Early treatment tends to avoid the development of behavior disorders that can produce permanent social, occupational, and academic damages. An adult with the oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) often feel abandoned and hostile to the outside world and react to his emotion through anger regularly — even daily. This may demonstrate as road fury or verbal violence. It may cause tension with peers and leaders, and result in trouble at work. It also tears apart relationships.

These people are especially quick to anger, they are irritated, and they have minimal patience for disappointment. They look themselves as abused, misread, and unacknowledged. They see themselves as the sufferer rather instead realizing that they are inducing pain to their loved ones.4,5


  1. Mental Health: Oppositional Defiant Disorder – WebMD https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/oppositional-defiant-disorder#1
  2. Oppositional Defiant Disorder Signs & Symptoms | Sonora Behavioral https://www.sonorabehavioral.com/behavioral/odd/symptoms-causes/
  3. A common genetic factor explains the covariation among ADHD ODD and CD symptoms in 9–10 year old boys and girls https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2634815/
  4. What Does Oppositional Defiant Disorder Look Like in Adults? https://www.additudemag.com/oppositional-defiant-disorder-in-adults/
  5. When They Don’t Leave at 18: Parenting an Adult Child with ODD https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/when-they-dont-leave-at-18-parenting-an-adult-child-with-odd/

Also Read:

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 2, 2020

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