Oppositional defiant disorder in adults?

I have a cousin who I think (and have long thought) may have oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), or perhaps any one of a variety of similar disorders. His behavior seems to agree with the Wikipedia description.

EXCEPT: According to the wiki, ODD is defined and diagnosed in children/adolescents only, not in adults. My cousin is about 70 years old.

I see references to related conditions of Conduct Disorder (typically in adolescents) and Antisocial Personality Disorder in adults – but the diagnostic criteria for those (especially APD) are far more extreme than what I see in my cousin (fighting, other violence, illegal behavior and history of arrests, etc.) My cousin doesn’t do any of that shit that I know of – he’s just a big chronic obnoxious jerk, more closely fitting the childhood ODD criteria as I see them described in the wiki.

So I’m wondering what diagnosis they would pin on an adult who behaves like an ODD child much of the time. Is it simply Chronic Jerkitude?

I think the psychiatrists I work with would diagnose an adult with those behaviors as being an asshole. Or BPD.

Well there is that… that its diagnosed in children, so as to be able to work toward getting them out of it. … They may just be trapped in the “I don’t want to grow up, I don’t want to be responsible” thing of a 3 , 4 year old… As freud said “I don’t want to learn to use a toilet !”. Because there’s a certain logic in “they can only have a lot of accidents”.

The view is that the young children, eg childcare age, really dislike being told what to do, its best to LET them choose to do …

So the idea of calling an adult "oppositional’ …its a bit late when they are adults.

But yes the same process that caused ODD in children still exists in adult works.
Eg in families. John says “it would be a good day to go to the football”, the sisters say “no we are going to the rose garden, only a stupid person would go to the football, excellent suggestion the rose garden !”. So who is ODD in the family ? all the men !

The man who is socially awkward can get away with it while they don’t have to say much, but then they start having to say something and they don’t know how to do it nicely …
But if its a change in personaility … can be depression or perhaps bipolar… or 70 , 80 years old, more chance of a Alzheimer’s or similar change…
Being agreeable, and being respectful , and socially amiable, eg saying “please” and “thank you”, is hard when it feels so hard to make your mind “work”.

So they have their blame… "I blame my exwife… " . and link everything back to the same topic… "Who won the football ? "… “I blame my ex wife”… :~

Maybe he’s suffering from “Crazy Old Man-itis”?

Except, he’s been like that all his life. But I’m starting to worry that he’s getting steadily worse, sitting on mountainous masses of not-so-repressed rage and anger. In the past 3 years or so, I’ve seen him blow up twice with major tantrums, which is beyond what I’ve personally witnessed before; also had some nasty phone conversations. I’m starting to worry over the possibility of him maybe even “going postal” one of these days.

ODD is diagnosed in children, but that doesn’t mean one can’t have it as an adult. It’s just that, if you didn’t have it as a kid, there’s probably something else wrong.

You say this guy has been like this all his life. So, yes, that could be ODD. Unfortunately, part of the reason it is diagnosed in children is that it’s much easier to treat at that age. At age 70, brain plasticity may be so poor that nothing really can be done.

That sounds more like OPD: Obnoxious Personality Disorder.

Maybe he’s not the problem and you’re just too touchy, did you ever think of that?


Probably not. The major blow-ups I’ve witnessed were directed at other cousins (one of them, his own sister) and not at me. In one case, I took it upon myself to intervene as peace-maker, with partial (and temporary) success. The guy is chronically complaining that nobody initiates social contact with him, whine whine rant rant boo-hoo, etc., but I think he’s alienated just about everybody. AFAIK, my own brother and I are among the very few that will socialize with him anymore, even just a little bit.

The three of us are having lunch next week. In the past 2 weeks, he’s been alternately frothing obnoxious and defiant with me over minor perceived slights, or grossly obsequious and condescending when he’s trying to “make nice”. My brother and I pretty much just ignore that – but last week I was seriously beginning to wonder if he’s on the verge of “going postal”.

For the most part, he just does trivially petty obnoxious things (like brushing his teeth in public while walking with someone, somewhat to the embarrassment of that other someone); but he does minor stuff like that fairly constantly.