ADHD and ODD A Potentially Socially and Academically Toxic Combination by R.D. Hawkins

Managing the typical ADHD symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity or restlessness can be quite challenging but when a problematic condition such as ODD is added to the mix managing ADHD effectively is taken to a whole different level. The surprising thing is that this dastardly duo of mental health conditions is not as uncommon as one might initially suspect.

One recent study put those children with combined ADHD and ODD at 50 percent where less current research pegged the number in the 40 percent range. No information was given as to why the number of cases is on the increase but one might guess that larger schoolroom classes combined with cuts in special needs budgets could be one possibility. Another more likely answer could simply be a greater awareness of both ADHD and ODD.

It probably comes as no surprise that boys are the most likely to have oppositional defiance disorder and some might suggest that the demographic of young boys ages 5 through 11 could be the most challenged of all demographic in as far as management is concerned.

These children will typically be regular visitors to the principal’s office and after school disciplinary settings. As these children enter their teenage years and grow into young adults many will get into trouble with the law. These boys, teens, and young adults are rebellious and can be destructive, belligerent, and can be physically violent with a very short fuse. They may also act irresponsibly, set fires, and steal for no particular reason.

Many of you parents out there with ADHD and ODD children know the strain an ADHD/ODD individuals consistently troubled behavior can place on families, both emotionally and financially.

Most research suggests that the sooner these children are identified and placed in treatment the better chance they have of overcoming their behavioral challenges. That said, it is never too late to seek out treatment.

Some indicators that an individual with attention deficit disorder may also have oppositional defiance disorder would be impulsive outbursts of temper along with overreaction to frustration. Some examples could include violently punching a classmate over some trivial incident or breaking something when a parent asks them to do something they don’t want to do.

The good news is that most children grow out of oppositional defiant disorder by the age of 8 the bad news is that those that don’t may develop more serious behavioral problems.

Symptoms of ODD: A propensity to intentionally engage in irritating behavior; ignore request for parents, teachers, and peers; be very argumentative; be a bully and constantly on the prowl for an opportunity to be aggressive; and have frequent unpredictable outburst.

ADHD and ODD are very closely linked, with both being conditions involving lack of self regulation. From a biological perspective there is a better than average chance that both conditions involve similar brain chemicals imbalances. The two most often mentioned culprits are dopamine and norepinephrine.

The combination of ADHD and ODD is a socially toxic condition that will more than likely lead to many problems socially. It also is a combination that will almost assure academic underachievement if a suitable treatment is not found.

ADHD and ODD Children – Finding Treatment Solutions

Sadly there are no quick fixes for curing ADHD and ODD children. On the other hand there are a number of non prescription and prescription options worth considering. Among the most often suggested are behavioral therapy for children old enough to benefit, parental management training to help parents better manage their emotions as well as those of their ADHD/ODD child, one of a number of prescription stimulant medications, or homeopathic natural remedies for ADHD, which may also help with certain aspect of oppositional defiance disorder.

About the Author

R.D. Hawkins is an enthusiastic consumer advocate for the use of natural health and natural living with over 10 years experience in the field.