13 Feb 2019

Oppositional Defiant Disorder & ADHD

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From Healing Young Brains by Robert Hill, Ph.D. and Eduardo Castro, M.D.

“The essential features of oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) are, of course, being defiant and/or oppositional. ODD also includes a chronic negative attitude.  In the more severe cases, there is overt hostility toward authority, which can eventually lead to trouble with the law.  Children with this disorder are usually annoying others, resent being told to do anything, and, as a matter of fact, usually resent almost everyone.  Sometimes these children can be very sweet toward some people and hostile toward others.  One minute you want to “whack” them and the next minute you want to hug them.  They often show an unrealistic stubbornness, even toward requests that would be fun for them.

Having treated many of these children over the years, we can tell you they are difficult cases, but it is very rewarding when they start to change.  As the brainwaves normalize through neurofeedback, their behaviors  modify dramatically.  We have had countless cases in which parents were “ready to send them off to military school.”  Parents get exasperated when they have tried everything and nothing helps.  One parent of a  fifteen-year-old boy once told us that if they could lie about their son’s age, they would send him off to the army.  It took twenty-nine weeks of twice weekly training before the son and parents starting liking each other again.”

ODD sometimes exists with ADHD and both are responsive to neurofeedback.

“ODD usually has some companions.  Some experts suggest that as many as 50 percent of males with ADHD meet the criteria for ODD.  You often see ADHD children with long-standing history of oppositional, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior.  We have all seen this type of child:  If you say the sky is blue, he will argue it is green.  If you say he can go on Saturday, he will insist on going on Friday.  These children are almost impossible to please.  Oppositional-defiant children are rarely ever in serious trouble, but they do tend to cause a lot of trouble for others.  They get suspended, sent to the principal’s office, fail their classes, and stay perpetually grounded, but they seldom end up in front of a judge.  Now, if the behaviors get reinforced, they may get a free ride to the judge later in life.

We see the same types of dysregulated brainwave patterns in ODD that we see in ADHD children.  The dominant brainwaves are in the low-frequency range.  The primary goal of neurotherapy is to reduce the low-frequency waves and increase the mid-range waves.  Not only would we say that neurotherapy corrects the psychological diagnosis of ODD, but it also changes the personality.  Parents report that they are astounded with some of the changes they see in their children after brainwave training.  One third-grader who was in constant trouble with the teacher became the hall monitor after neurofeedback.”

The improvement made through neurofeedback is almost always permanent.