Oppositional Children Similar To OCD on SPECT

  • Daniel G. Amen
  • Blake Carmichael


Sixty-four children and adolescents with Oppositional Defiant Disorder by DSM-IIIR criteria were evaluated with brain SPECT imaging. A control group of 20 patients matched for age, sex, and other psychiatric diagnoses were also studied. Children with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Conduct Disorder were excluded from the sample. The brain SPECT studies were read blind to the diagnoses. The brain SPECT patterns of the group with Oppositional Defiant Disorder showed qualitatively increased activity in the anterior medial aspects of the frontal lobes compared to the rest of the brain and when compared to the control group. No other significant SPECT differences were noted between the groups. This is a finding similar to that reported in adults with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. These findings indicate there may be an underlying biologfr similarity between Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Implications for treatment are discussed, including the potential usefulness of behaviortherapy, EEG biofeedback, and SSRI medication.