Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mental Disorder Introduction - ODD

Yesterday I mentioned my anxiety in my post and I realized a lot of my friends, readers, and even some family don't know all that much about me and my struggle with mental health. After realizing this I decided I should create a mental disorder spotlight and use the next five days to bring up my own mental illnesses, struggles, and information about the diseases in general.

To give this series an interesting spin, I thought I'd start it off with ODD. No, that doesn't mean odd as in weird. ODD stands for oppositional defiance disorder.

What is Oppositional Defiance Disorder?

Oppositional Defiance Disorder is a mental disorder relating to behavior and thought processes. As the name suggests, ODD is about opposition and defiance. The disorder part comes because it gets in the way of everyday life.

It is a pattern. It isn't just someone being irritable one day and okay the next. It's about a frequent pattern of irritability, argumenativeness, and disregard for authority. The DSM-5 states that the pattern occurs for at least 6 months.

People with ODD often annoy people for the sake of annoying them, disobey signs because of their wording, find loopholes or flaws in orders in order to go against them, and have issues with authority figures like teachers, parents, law enforcement, and managers.

Severe ODD can hamper the ability to get or keep a job, as well as cause the individual to land in jail for seemingly dumb reasons.

To imagine what ODD feels like to an individual, imagine yourself in the shoes of Ella, from Ella Enchanted. She was under a curse where she must be obedient at all times and as such, she would find ways to not be quite so obedient. If someone told her to "come here" she would take her own sweet time in doing so. Of course, people with ODD are obviously not under such a curse but it feels as though any demands are unreasonable, even if common sense dictates they're perfectly normal.

According to WebMD, 2%-16% of children and teens suffer from ODD. It usually starts at about age 8 and can stay with someone for life, depending on different factors.

ODD is different from conduct disorder because they are not aggressive towards people or animals in general and don't show patterns of committing crimes like vandalism or theft. (Which is a sad misconception. People with ODD are defiant, not dangerous.)

What you shouldn't say to someone with Oppositional Defiance Disorder.

So, having this disorder comes with a lot of misconceptions and ignorant commentaries. Please never say any of the following to (OR ABOUT) someone with ODD.

  • So just don't do things in defiance.
    • We can't. I mean, some of us can a little bit, but it's hard to control those urges to just do something about all these orders. It's not that simple, and we have to learn how to change, we can't just do it on a whim.
  • That's just an excuse to get away with things.
    • Oh man, do I wish it was!
  • Suck it up.
    • Typically said in regards to situations regarding authority, we can't just "suck it up." We'll blow and then we'll end up in trouble. 
    • Also, this kind of statement is usually from someone with no understanding of mental disorders whatsoever and how they work.
  • It's all about self-control.
    • Not really. Sure it plays a part in the actions aspect of ODD, self control does nothing for the things we feel inside.
  • You're just being stubborn.
    • Nope! We're experiencing a feeling of discontent combined with almost a bit of rage and given a sudden impulsivity. We don't just "choose not to do things," we strain our hardest to attempt them... correctly.
  • Why can't you do things the normal way?
    • Just like people with anxiety "can't do things the normal way" because of the possibility of anxiety attacks or other problems, people with ODD "can't do things the normal way" because it bottles up rage and discontentedness which leads to bad behavior down the road.
  • It's okay, I like when you're being feisty.
    • Not cool. Feisty and defiant are two different things. The idea that we're "just being feisty" belittles the problems we face. Nothing against feisty people here. We're just not them. While feisty people simply act feisty, we foster resentment whenever people play with our defiance.
    • (Yes, someone has literally told me this before... I don't talk to them anymore.)
How ODD is treated.

The NLM isn't too optimistic or informative about this disorder with phrases such as "some children respond well to treatment, while others do not" and "In many cases, children with oppositional defiance disorder grow up to have conduct disorder as teenagers or adults."

Despite this commentary, ODD can actually be really well taken care of depending on the severity and of course, the individual. Treatment involves behavioral therapy and general individual or family therapy. Sometimes medication is also prescribed, although there is no kind of medication specifically for ODD. It usually helps to treat what some people think might be side causes, like depression or ADD.

There is no specific true treatment as ODD has causes in environmental factors, biological factors, and psychological factors.

How you can help someone with ODD.

Great question! Ask the individual. They have ODD, so they know what triggers it better than some random individual on the internet. They'll also appreciate the gesture of not playing with their disorder, which is actually a thing and is depressingly common with a lot of mental disorders including ODD, ADD, Aspergers, Autism, Down's Syndrome, and any other thing where you can possibly abuse or take advantage of someone due to their disorder.

Here are some general tips though:

  1. Don't give them orders. No, seriously. No orders. Even if they work for you. How you word something is everything. "Take out the trash" and "could you get the trash" are two totally different things. Again, everyone's triggers are different but you're always better off without an order.
  2. Don't give them tips all the time on everything. It takes the fun out of things, firstly. Secondly, it will cause them to potentially do the exact opposite of your tips even if they want to succeed at what they're doing because you're being annoying. We usually give signs about how we don't want to hear tips. Asking us if we want them first is probably you're best bet though because our warning signs are a little rude.
  3. Don't bring up their ODD all the time. It gets annoying. And the more annoying you are, the more likely we are to be defiant towards you.
  4. Encourage us to get help. This will be a little hard, due to the nature of the disorder, but friendly encouragement might go a long way. Just remember yet again, wording is everything.
  5. Be our friends. ODD pushes a lot of people away and makes us very cynical people. A cynical person with ODD makes them less likely to improve. We need friends because they help teach us how to deal with things.
  6. Don't take shit. If we're being little jerks, tell us that. Because ODD is not an excuse. If we're being unreasonable beyond the scope of how we normally are, we're just being brats (or having a shitty day.) Also, your reaction will help us keep ourselves in check, which is REALLY hard to do.
  7. Use logic. If you know we can't swim and there's a sign that says no diving and we're on a dock on a nice day and you are lucky enough to hear us mention our ideas before we hit the water... Talk us out of it. Despite our unreasonable defiance, we listen to reason. We just need to get past the place or the moment. Help us out.

My personal struggle with ODD.

Well this is already a REALLY long post so I'll keep this short.
I've been defiant for a long time. When it was ODD and when it was just me being a kid, I don't know. It was pretty mild for a long time. It would be small things like crossing the road without looking both ways on an abandoned street or using my quarter I was given to buy a gumball even though I was told to hold on to it because it was my money and I wanted to spend it how I wanted.

It began to escalate when I got to my teen years, though remained a little bit repressed. My biggest problem was my dislike for authority figures. People who know me are going to be shocked by this, because I was always nice and polite. But I wouldn't feel nice or polite. I felt almost a sense of dread when they were around.

After school ended I found myself with a job. The real struggle began as I didn't want to do things in the exact way I was told they were to be done. I was already working hard to make things perfect and doing a good job and so I took every suggestion to change as a personal affront. Luckily, I've been more able to handle criticism since then.

Possibly the best example of my ODD in terms of an active (rather than passive) situation is when I worked for Arby's I was a prep person in the mornings. I was slicing meat and the district manager came in and told me I had to cover the corners of the little serving portions. They're really big on spreading out and fluffing the meat there so that it doesn't get all squished.

Well, I was having trouble doing the fluffing and spreading on this day because someone forgot to sharpen the slicer many days in a row and my meat was coming out a little too thick. So what did I do? I covered the corners all right. But I left the middle of the serving trays empty. Why? Because I have ODD.

See tomorrow for my next mental disorder spotlight!!



Also, for those of you interested in helping out with the car situation, here is the paypal button and OH LOOK I MADE A FANCY PROGRESS BAR! =D

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In other news, I updated the Wings finish date to the end of April 2015 on my website. Keep me on that deadline guys! It's important! And for any one that knows anything about Hannah-Belle Jackson and her Journey... That benched project may be coming to life before you know it. I'll probably add her to a post here in the next coming days.

For those of you that follow this blog I have wonderful news. I have daily posts planned. Shocker, right!? I used to just post sporadically but I decided a blog would be nice for keeping me on track and moving forward, so daily posts it is. I have plans for the entire month. Obviously this next five days is all in the Mental Disorder series, but more subjects will arise!

As always, Charmed
-Alexandria