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Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry

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Causes of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or ODD, has no clear and absolute cause, although studies have been able to determine possible contributing factors that could eventually develop ODD within an individual. These factors include a combination of biological, social and physiological aspects that can affect an individual throughout the course of their life.

The biological factors include genetics, where ODD tends to develop in family lines containing a history of numerous disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), abuse of substance disorders, or depression and bipolar disorder. While it is not directly linked to hereditary traits, and children whose parents possess ODD are not guaranteed to inherit it, ODD poses a greater risk of being passed down if the family history is shown to have constant disorders.

Physiological factors occur in the section of the brain that holds the responsibility of reasoning out, providing sound judgment, and controlling impulses. Because of these, children may grow to be aggressive and have difficulty in distinguishing and discerning a situation accurately, such as misinterpreting a completely neutral situation for an aggressive one.

Social factors occur among relationships, whether it’s a relationship between the individual’s friends, schoolmates, workmates, family, or any part of the community. ODD can stem from an overall lack of structure in parental supervision, which will initiate ODD from a very young age or from the start of adolescence, or from discipline practices that are inconsistent, which may confuse the individual and spark violent reactions. Exposure to mistreatment, abuse, and violence in the community and public or social places are also identified as events that could cause ODD.

ODD that begins at a young age, specifically for very young children can improve given the right amount of time. Studies have shown that in approximately 67% of children who were diagnosed with ODD, the symptoms were able to resolve themselves within 3 years given the proper treatment and guidance. This is compared to 30% of children who were not able to overcome ODD, due to possibly lack of supervision and guidance, and developed conduct disorder instead.

In 10% of cases, children with ODD will develop a more lasting disorder concerning personality, such as anti-social personality disorder, anxiety, or mood swings later on in their lives.

This goes to show that it is vital to receive the proper support and guidance to ensure the causes of ODD are at least reduced to significantly lower the chances of developing ODD.

September 20th, 2017

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Psychotic Disorder: Losing Touch With Reality

Reality is the one thing that keeps us grounded. When times get tough and we feel as if we are drifting away from our lives to be swept along by the current of unfavorable circumstances, it is the certainty and tangibility of events and situations that help us remain firm in our world. Reality gives us the ability to remain fully conscious of our surroundings, thus giving us the necessary focus to distinguish what can and cannot be.

To lose touch with reality is a difficult thing to grasp, but it does happen to individuals. This is known as a psychotic disorder— when individual perceptions become untrustworthy and unrealistic, such as in a dream. While dreaming, one can always escape into the waking world and plant their feet back onto the ground, however, because of symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, there is no easy escape which can make a victim feel trapped in their own mind.

When one’s mind— the only place where one can truly feel safe from the spontaneities of the outside world, is no longer functioning in the way it should be, it can lead to abnormal levels of stress as the victim tries to deal with placing real events from unreal events.  Fighting one’s own mind is a terrible battle, as it can project realities that can interfere with daily routines.

Each of the five senses has a corresponding type of hallucination.

  • Seeing : Visual hallucinations
  • Hearing: Auditory hallucinations
  • Smelling: Olfactory hallucinations
  • Tasting: Gustatory hallucinations
  • Touching: Tactile hallucinations

The most common forms of hallucinations that are experienced from psychotic disorder mainly come from visual and auditory.

An example of a mild form of visual hallucination is seeing faint movement around the peripheral vision. These range from seeing shadows, figures, or distinct shapes flitting around quickly. Usually, these visions disappear instantaneously.

There are also mild auditory hallucinations which involve hearing noises and/or voices. These can be multiple voices at once or a single voice, also varying in volume.

The more complex hallucinations are intriguing phenomenon, especially when it is classified as visual. They cause individuals to unintentionally conjure entire situations, completely made-up by the disorder. Whatever the scenario, all hallucinations are characterized by witnessing non-existent occurrences and false perceptions of sight and sound. When dealing with psychotic disorder, its best to approach a health care professional who specializes in studying each disorder comprehensively in order to give the most appropriate treatment.

September 13th, 2017

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How constant movement in children with ADHD may affect their cognitive performance

The constant movement seen in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may just be their way of trying to learn, cope and otherwise perform better cognitively. This in a nutshell is what a recent research study from UC Davis Mind Institute suggests. The hyperactivity may be compensatory behavior on the part of children with ADHD to help them focus their thinking. They move in order to remain alert to the task at hand.

The study, titled “A trial-by-trial analysis reveals more intense physical activity is associated with better cognitive control performance in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder,” published last month in Child Neuropsychology “is the first to assess the relationship between activity and task performance on a trial-by-trial basis in ADHD,” the authors said.

For the study, the authors recruited 26 children with validated ADHD diagnoses and 18 who were developing typically and served as controls. The participants were between the ages of 10 years and 17 years. The pre-teens and teenagers with ADHD were examined to determine how movement — its intensity and frequency — correlated with accuracy on cognitively demanding tasks requiring good attention. Their movements were measured by affixing a device to their ankles that measured their level of activity while completing a “flanker test” that requires good attention and the ability to inhibit paying attention to distractions. It found that participants who moved more intensely exhibited substantially better cognitive performance. The accuracy of the participants with ADHD was significantly improved when they were moving, the study found. In other words, correct answers were associated with more motion than incorrect answers.

“It turns out that physical movement during cognitive tasks may be a good thing for them,” said professor Julie Schweitzer, director of the UC Davis ADHD Program and study senior author.
“Parents and teachers shouldn’t try to keep them still. Let them move while they are doing their work or other challenging cognitive tasks. It may be that the hyperactivity we see in ADHD may actually be beneficial at times. Perhaps the movement increases their arousal level, which leads to better attention.”

“Maybe teachers shouldn’t punish kids for movement, and should allow them to fidget as long as it doesn’t disturb the rest of the class,” adds Arthur Hartanto, a study coordinator with the ADHD Program and the lead author of the study. “Instead, they should seek activities that are not disruptive that allow their students with ADHD to use movement, because it assists them with thinking.”

September 6th, 2017

Posted In: blog

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