Abuse: Genes, Teens, and Talking Smack

In case you missed my post yesterday or the gazillions of other people writing about this on the internet, today is the day where bloggers come together to raise awareness of various forms of abuse.  In light of that, I’d like to talk about the following 3 things:  1) how a certain gene causes people who were mistreated as children to become violent adults, 2) when your child is abusing you — when kid or teen defiance is more than normal kid stuff and how to tell if your child has Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and 3) verbal abuse from the perspective of the abuser.

1) Reason Magazine published an article which asks the question “Are criminals born or made?”  The answer:

“A study published last week in Science suggests they’re made, but some people provide better raw material than others.

The study involved the gene that encodes the brain enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAOA)….

Subjects who both suffered abuse and carried the low-activity MAOA gene were nine times as likely as the rest of the study group to engage in antisocial behavior such as persistent fighting, bullying, lying, stealing, or disobeying rules in adolescence. They accounted for only 12 percent of the subjects but 44 percent of the study group’s convictions for violent crime.

The results were even starker for the subjects who had suffered the most serious abuse. “As adults, 85 percent of the severely maltreated children who also had the gene for low MAOA activity developed antisocial outcomes, such as violent criminal behavior,” said Terrie Moffitt, one of the lead researchers.”

Read more about the MAOA gene at reason.com.

2) At first glance, ODD, or Oppositional Defiance Disorder seems like something overzealous psychatrists and worry-wart parents made up.  The behavorial signs are all things that a normal teenager usually goes through:  losing ones temper, disobeying adults, arguing.  But ODD is much more than teenage angst, and many of the behavoirs are usually present from early childhood.  Additionally, ODD can cause a great deal of emotional turmoil for the rest of the family.  It often goes undiagnosed and can eventually lead to much more serious problems, such as Conduct Disorder, if left untreated.  Find out more about ODD and Conduct Disorder at teenswithproblems.com or take the test to see if your child displays the symptoms of ODD at the ADD ADHD Advances website.

3) Lastly, check out this letter from a verbal abuser who acknowledges his problem and seeks change at Dr. Irene’s Verbal Abuse (Site).  The letter is interspersed with Dr. Irene’s advice.  If you suspect you may be a verbal abuser or a victim of verbal abuse, read Dr. Irene’s Signs of Verbal and Emotional Abuse.

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