Deep frustrations with child psych-Are psychologists afraid to diagnose ODD?

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Parents Symptoms, Diagnosis & Beyond Deep frustrations with child psych-Are psychologists afraid to diagnose ODD?

This topic contains 5 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Whale35 7 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #126510

    Whale35
    Participant

    Hello All,
    I’m new to the community and joined today
    To post a question that is driving me
    Practically to the brink of sanity. I don’t know who to turn to. While I am not looking for a diagnosis from the board, I am seeking any assistance in understanding the lack of diagnosis from our child psychologist and the pattern of denial that seems to exist on the mental heath professionals we have sought.

    I have a 6 year old daughter whose behavior is
    A daily struggle and has been since about 3. I believe she is diagnosable with adhd and odd but
    Getting any mental health professional to admit that the name for our problem is “odd” seems nearly impossible. I do not want her to have ODD but her dad has add and had symptoms of ODDas a child and adolescent and her behavior is so troublesome at home that it is tearing us apart.
    We have tried everything in the book to help her.
    She behaves very well at school but at home she is a holy terror (this would still be acceptable as per the new DSM ODD criteria). Her psychologist says her behavior is within age appropriate norms but that seems insane to me. I was more understanding and hopeful when ,at 3, we were told she was normal and then by another therapist at 4, but it has continued on and worsened. Now at six I cannot handle another professional trying to tell me that she is just “strong-willed”.
    New psychologist m says at 6 she is too young to diagnose with anything anyway but that she is appropriate even though we struggle with physical aggression, destruction of the house, all day terrible attitude and angry, spiteful behavior, rageful ,frequent tantrums, deliberate defiance and so much more.
    I just need some validation that this struggle is real and atypical. It is crazy-making to experience the level we experience at home and then have someone tell us that everyone deals with the same things.
    I am beginning to wonder if they’re just being trained to avoid labels to the point where they’re afraid to diagnose.
    If anyone can help me understand what might be going on I would be deeply grateful.
    I feel gas-lighted.

    Btw we have another daughter who does not have these symptoms and our parenting is fine at the admission of her psychologist

    • This topic was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by  Whale35.
    • This topic was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by  Whale35.
  • #126544

    lovemykids
    Participant

    I am in a similar boat in that my 7 year old seems to do well enough at school, but is really escalating at home. We’ve been told by our psychiatrist that since he only behaves this way with family, it isn’t ODD. But his behavior with us is so extreme — he is physically dangerous — punching, kicking, biting, scratching — and he destroys our home during his fits. I am at my wit’s end — this is no way to live, for any of us. We have appointments with both our counselor and our psychiatrist this week, and I will be raising the issue again.

    In the end, there is no magic bullet even if it is ODD, so the question I am going to ask our doctors is, if it were ODD, what would we be doing differently? And then talk about whether that makes sense here even in the absence of a formal diagnosis. Or said differently, would there be any harm in proceeding as if there is an ODD diagnosis?

    Best of luck to you. I know this is so, so rough.

  • #126643

    Penny Williams
    Keymaster

    In my opinion, ODD is a catchall used to explain behavior. Behavior can always be linked to a reason, so I personally believe that an ODD diagnosis is useless. This is my personal opinion and not the opinion of the magazine.

    Behavior is communication. If you haven’t, I strongly suggest reading Ross Greene’s books, “The Explosive Child,” or “Raising Human Beings.” He explains behavior, lays out possible reasons for it, and outlines a parenting approach that works for “strong-willed” / defiant / oppositional / struggling kids. I actually think we should parent all kids this way, but that’s another topic.

    If you feel strongly that there’s atypical struggles with your daughter, keep seeing new clinicians until you find one that you feel really listens and hears you and who values your input.

    This online self-test may help put your mind at ease that you’re on the right track…

    [Self-Test] Could My Child Have ADHD?

    ADHD is diagnosable at age 6. In fact, the last update of the DSM states that it can be diagnosed as early as age 4 now. My own son was diagnosable at age 6, but his symptoms were so severe that it was truly undeniable.

    “My Child Was Diagnosed at Age 3 — and Thank God She Was.”

    Penny
    ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  • #126750

    Dr. Eric
    Participant

    I agree with Penny, and I am a professional in the field.
    There are three reasons why I avoid ODD as a diagnosis, other than it is not really part of my job description to provide clinical diagnoses most of the time. Even though these are not 100% perfect explanations, any one of them is good enough for me.

    1. It is a diagnosis of last resort. We spend most of our time on a process of elimination for more meaningful diagnosis that will inform services and treatment.

    2. It is more of a label/circular logic than a diagnosis. In ADHD, you can read about impaired dopamine function in the prefrontal cortex. In schizophrenia, you can read about hyper-dopamine activity in the substantia nigra and/or similar biological issues. In ODD you get the following: How do you know they have ODD? Because they have these behaviors that cannot be explained by another diagnosis. Why do they have these behaviors? Because they have ODD.

    3. Utility. My job is to help teachers and parents improve behaviors. I only discuss labels when qualification for 504 or an IEP is at issue. In fact, many states and/or schools will treat ODD and Conduct Disorder as evidence of “social maladjustment” which is actually a disqualifier for special education services. I would not be surprised if these are also disqualifiers for insurance reimbursement, but this is me guessing outside of my job description.

  • #126673

    lynnl
    Participant

    Probabley parent on here is going to want to say: Come sit by me.

    This group is s terrific location for coming alongside other parents as we tease apart parenting our kiddos.

    There is a lot to say, but I second the recommendation of checking out Dr. Ross Greene’s work.

    https://www.livesinthebalance.org/

    I read his book the Explosive Child, but I got the most benefit from listening to “Lost in School” as an audio book. It gave me the chance to listen through the example scripts as I was driving between errands. At the end I was more skillful at using Greene’s CPS Model.

  • #126936

    Whale35
    Participant

    Thank you very much for all the replies. To the last two, I am not looking for a diagnosis of ODD, just some
    Acknowledgment from my daughter’s psychologist that her behavior is atypical.
    Just posting here to see if anyone else had experienced similar frustrations with their child’s care

    Thank you

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