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Oppositional Defiant Disorder Causes

(Also Known As: ODD Causes, Adhd Causes, Defiant Causes, Oppositional Causes, Bi-Polar Causes, Explosive Disorder Causes)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What Causes Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

What exactly causes oppositional defiant disorder is still unknown but there are several factors considered to play a role in the development of the disorder:

Biological Factors

  • An injury to some specific areas of the brain is believed to bring about serious behavioral problems in children. 3
  • Brain infections and other neurological conditions can also affect the normal behavior of a child.
  • Neurotransmitters are believed to be a culprit when it functions without balance on the impulses it sends for normal brain activities which often led to the manifestations of the common symptoms seen from oppositional defiant disorder and other mental illnesses.
  • The presence of other neuropsychiatric conditions can also promote the development of symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder. Predisposing conditions include ADHD, anxiety disorders, mood disorder, learning disorder, and other mental illnesses.
  • The child’s inherent temperament can also encourage the development of the disorder.

Genetic Factors

  • Children with family members with mental illnesses, such as different types of personality disorders, mood disorders, and anxiety disorder can likely make the child vulnerable to developing oppositional defiant disorder.
  • This strongly points out that oppositional defiant disorder can be inherited.

Environmental Factors

  • A dysfunctional family life
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Inconsistent or harsh discipline of parents to the child
  • Poor family child care
  • Unstable family ties, such as when the parents divorced, or
  • there is frequent changing in schools and frequent change of care giver provider for the child
  • The child’s perception of not getting enough love and attention from the parents.
  • The child experiences abuse and neglect
  • Lack of child supervision
  • Financial problems of the family
  • Exposure to violence

There are also two theories that suggest the possible causes of the development of oppositional defiant disorder as follow: 4

Development Theory

This theory explains that the oppositional defiant disorder begins during the toddler years of development, where the children or adolescents who developed the condition have difficulty in learning to separate from their primary attachment figures and find difficulty in developing their autonomous skills. Individuals with oppositional defiant disorder project bad attitudes as a continuation of their normal developmental issues that were not adequately resolved during their toddler years.

Learning Theory

This theory suggests that the negativistic characteristics seen from individuals with oppositional defiant disorder are considered to be learned attitudes that reflect the effects of the negative reinforcement techniques used with them by their parents, as well by authority figures. These negative reinforcements are viewed to increase the intensity and rate of oppositional behavior of the child by achieving their desired attention, concern, time, and interaction with their parents or authority figures.

Could You Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Antisocial Personality Disorder – disregard of rights of others, deceitful, manipulative, antisocial
Anxiety Disorder NOS – uneasiness, extreme worry, irrational fear, emotional imbalance, moody
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – neurobehavioral disorder, impulsiveness, hyperactive, attention deficit, inattention, developmental disorder, inadequate coping mechanism
Bipolar Disorder – hypermania, hypomania, mood disorder, psychosis, depression, anxiety, suicidal tendency, mixed episodes of mania and depression