ODD & Oppositional Rising



Part of the ADD/ADHD Cormbidities series
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Small Blessings

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Fortunately, most of us with ADD do NOT have full-blown, comorbid, diagnositic ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder – a protracted “terrible twos,” on steroids!  

Almost ALL of us, howeverADD or not, have a small – perfectly “normal” – part of our personalities that balks unless the task is totally appealing in the moment we are “supposed” to take it on.

Part of developmental maturity is learning how to “postpone gratification” and work with what some therapists and self-help gurus call “the self-saboteur.”  (I prefer to think of it as learning how to bribe our Inner Three-Year olds.”)  

In any case, and for whatever reason, those of us who qualify for an ADD diagnosis, even those who aren’t particularly impulsive otherwise, seem to struggle with “postponing gratification” more than the neurotypical population: sort of like having “ODD Rising.”

ABOUT ODD Rising

“ODD Rising” and “Oppositional Rising” are my terms for what I refer to as “a high oppositional piece” in an ADD symptom profile.

In fact, those of us with ANY of what I call thealphabet disorders(any or all of the disorders with Executive Function dysregulations) tend to have “pieces” of other EFD’s — like OCD, ODD, SPD, ASD, PDA, PDD, MDD, MS, TBI, ABI, PTSD, etc. — alphabet disorders!

So don’t be surprised if ODD Rising is on your menu of Challenges, even if ADD is not the primary diagnosis. So let’s take a look at what might be going on — with your own functioning, or that of a loved one.

To be clear, ODD rising is significantly below the diagnostic threshold for ODD, yet severe enough to make us feel a little crazy as we wonder what it is, exactly, that is stopping us from achievement commensurate with our level of intelligence or education.

I keep up with the ODD field, as I keep a keen eye on all of the ADD Comorbid diagnoses, but ODD itself is not my speciality. 

My focus is applying what I learn from related disorders to help those with Attentional Spectrum Disorders work with whatever it is that is going on with them: helping them learn to drive their very own brains.

AFTER I offer a brief introduction to diagnostic ODD, the remainder of this article will introduce the “oppositional piece” concept. I will revisit ODD in future articles exploring ADD comorbidities — conditions that frequently accompany an ADD diagnosis, to a statistically significant degree more often than in the neurotypical population.

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