Psychiatry as a Means of Social Control - Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/9/2007
If you are a rebellious child or teenager and you have not been diagnosed with Conduct Disorder, you are still at risk of being labelled and pathologized.
The DSM informs us that "The essential feature of Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a recurrent pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior towards authority figures that persists for at least 6 months."
Unbelievable as this Orwellian, Big Brother text is - it gets worse. If you are under 18 years old and you lose your temper, argue with adults, actively "defy or refuse to comply with the requests or rules of adults", deliberately do things that annoy said adults, blame others for your mistakes or misbehavior - then unquestionably you are a sick little puppy. And who is to make these value judgements? An adult psychologist or psychiatrist or social worker or therapist. And what if you disagree with these authorities? They get annoyed and this is proof positive that you are afflicted with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Did anyone mention catch-22?
And the charade continues, masquerading as "science". If you are touchy or get easily annoyed (for instance by the half-baked diagnoses rendered by certain mental health practitioners), you are ODD (i.e., you suffer from Oppositional Defiant Disorder).You are allowed to be touchy when you are an adult - it is then called assertiveness. You are allowed to get pissed off when you are above the crucial (though utterly arbitrary) age limit. Then it is called "expressing your emotions", which is by and large a good thing.So tell us the charlatans that call themselves mental health 'professionals' (as though psychology is an exact science, not merely an elaborate literary exercise).
The DSM, this manual of the Potemkin science known as clinical psychology, continues to enlighten us:
If you are habitually angry and resentful, spiteful or vindictive and these traits impair your "normal" social, academic, or occupational functioning (whatever "normal" means in today's pluralistic and anomic culture), beware: you may be harbouring Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). It is not clear what the DSM means by 'occupational' when Oppositional Defiant Disorder typically applies to primary school age children. Perhaps we will find out in the DSM V.
"The behaviors must occur more frequently than is typically observed in individuals of comparable age and developmental level." - the DSM helpfully elaborates. If the child is psychotic or suffers from a mood disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder should not be diagnosed.
Why am I bothering you with this tripe? Because the DSM is ominously
"The diagnosis is not made if ... criteria are met for Conduct Disorder or Antisocial Personality Disorder (in an individual above the age of 18)."
Get this straight: if you are above the age of 18 and you are stubborn, resistant to directions, "unwilling to compromise, give in, or negotiate with adults and peers", ignore orders, argue, fail to accept blame for misdeeds, and deliberately annoy others - you stand a good chance of being "diagnosed" as a psychopath.
Let us hope that the "scholars" of the DSM V Committee have the good sense to remove this blatant tool of social control from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. But don't count on it and don't argue with them if they don't. They may diagnose you with something.
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. In addition to writing for the Global Politician, he served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, Bellaonline, and eBookWeb, a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.
Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia. Sam Vaknin's Web site is at http://samvak.tripod.com