Medicalizing relationship problems - FamilyEducation
Medicalizing relationship problems
06/20/2009 at 17:00 PM

My friend's daughter has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. However I really question whether this is an actual disorder or whether its another "bag" term used by psychiatrists to justify medicating children and teenagers. This particular teen falls into the criteria, but her target "oppositional person" is her mother, and she can turn the behavior on and off as required. This says to me that this is not a disorder, but a problem between mother and daughter which needs to be resolved by constructive talk and not by the drugs the girl's doctor has placed her on. Does anyone have experience of this "disorder"?

Yes, Oppositional Defiant Disorder is an actual disorder. Look it up on the web. One of the most frustrating things about this disorder is that the behavior can be turned off and on as you state. The mother or major caretaker is often the target of the negative behavior. I has the misfortune to be personally involved with this disorder when married to my ex. His 3 daughters all had ODD and other mental health issues. Their mother was severly bi-polar, the girls developed ODD and then conduct disorder. This made all our lives very difficult to say the least. Yes, this situation needs constructive talk, family and individual therapy, and very often medication. This girl is in a lot of pain and needs all the help she can get. If the doctor who has diagnosed her feels medication can help this girl, then the medication should be given a chance to help her get through this very painful situation. Don't judge, constructively help your friend and her daughter if you can.

I sometimes see the relationship problems as being something that, if people would just understand their roles with one another, everything would get better. The thing is, experience actually changes the structure of the neural network, AND also influences the hormones that are released which also changes the biological environment of the brain. If the experiences were identified immediately and appropriate intervention took place, the effect on the brain would be small, but over a period of time the brain itself becomes incapable of optimal function, partly because some abilities are lost, and because some are never achieved.