Thursday, March 15, 2012
Oppositional Defiant Disorder can be a predictor of criminal behavior By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Sometimes we wonder what causes a person to turn to a life of crime. Actually, about 50% of crimes in this country are committed by a group of individuals that we can identify in childhood. There are two childhood conditions that commonly occur prior to criminal activity. Both of them require a great deal of time to be spent by parents if they are to be prevented. Neither of them is controlled by the medications that are used for other childhood behavioral disorders. About 5-8% of children will develop what is called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). All children have negative behavior. All children have temper tantrums. However, some children have these behaviors to a severe degree. There are 8 behaviors found in children with ODD. They are: 1. Often loses temper 2. Often argues with adults 3. Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules 4. Often deliberately annoys people 5. Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior 6. Is often touchy or easily annoyed by others 7. Is often angry and resentful 8. Is often spiteful and vindictive The keyword in each statement is "often." It means that the behavior is occurring more often than not. That is what separates it from the typical childhood tantrums. At least four of the items are required to make the diagnosis. The only effective treatment for this is behavior modification. It requires a large investment of time by the parents to do this. They need to take a course in behavior management. It is not something that a doctor can give them in 5 minutes at an office visit. It takes years to get to this point. It will take months of behavior modification to see improvement. The State of Delaware trains individuals to run these Parent Child Interaction Therapy courses. For a list of individuals who offer these courses, call 302-781-3219. Courses run once a week for about 12 weeks. We know there are some things that make children more oppositional. The first is watching violence on television. The second is playing violent video games. These are bad for any child but they are worse for children with ODD. The second is that corporal punishment teaches these children that violence is acceptable. About one-third of children with ODD will develop a second disorder known as conduct disorder. The symptoms of this disorder are: 1. Often bullies, threatens or intimidates others 2. Often initiates physical fights 3. Has used a weapon that can cause serious physical harm to others (e.g., a bat, brick, broken bottle, knife, gun 4. Has been physically cruel to people 5. Has been physically cruel to animals 6. Has stolen while confronting a victim (e.g., mugging, purse snatching, extortion, armed robbery) 7. Has forced someone into sexual activity 8. Has deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention of causing serious damage 9. Has deliberately destroyed others' property 10. Has broken into someone else's house, building or car 11. Often lies to obtain goods or favors or to avoid obligations (i.e., cons others) 12. Has stolen items of nontrivial value without confronting a victim (e.g., shoplifting) 13. Often stays out at night despite parental prohibitions, beginning before 13 years of age 14. Has run away from home overnight at least twice while living in parental or surrogate home 15. Is often truant from school, beginning before 13 years of age Only 3 of the 15 are needed to make the diagnosis. There are some serious things included in the list of symptoms. They include assault with a deadly weapon, rape and arson. Of the patients who develop conduct disorder, about 20% of them will become worse over time. That 20% will then be responsible for 50% of the crimes that are committed. The younger the age when these symptoms begin, the more likely they are to get worse. Again the treatment is behavioral. In this case, the parents need to get behavior modification treatment. The child needs to get formal counseling. As I tell the parents and children that I see with this problem, the choice is getting the treatment or going to jail. Medications do not make a major difference in treating this behavior. It is sometimes easy to predict who is going to be a criminal. What is a lot harder is spending all the time that it will take to turn a child off that pathway. That time will be very short compared to the time that they might ultimately spend in jail.

Nanticoke offers cholesterol class Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next cholesterol class is 5 p.m. on Monday, March 26 at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. The class will focus on foods and eating habits that may help to manage your cholesterol levels and will incorporate practical suggestions for overcoming the barriers to eating in a heart healthy way. Topics will include risk factors, saturated, unsaturated fats, trans fats, portion sizes, and other American Heart Association guidelines. There is a class fee of $20, and pre-registration is required. For more information and to register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 2455.

Guajardo named to board of directors Nanticoke Health Services welcomes Milford native Fernando N. Guajardo to the Board of Directors. Guajardo, an Air Force veteran, is president and CEO of The Guajardo Parks Group, a holding company he co-founded in 2006. The company operates a chain of environmentally friendly dry cleaners in central and eastern Sussex. Under Guajardo's leadership the company has grown and expanded its services to include carpet cleaning and janitorial services. Guajardo brings years of experience working throughout the State of Delaware, most notably in areas of public relations for companies such as Discover Bank, the Delaware State Housing Authority, and Perdue Farms. Guajardo also serves on the advisory board for the Delaware Community Foundation and is past chairman of the Governor's Advisory Council on Hispanic Affairs. He holds a bachelor's degree in social science from the University of Southern Colorado and is pursuing his MBA from Wilmington University. He resides in Lincoln with his wife Zaida and three-year-old twins, Fernando and Diego.

Stewards of Children presentation Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is hosting a Stewards of Children Presentation on "How to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse." This training session will take place on Wednesday, March 21 from 6 to 9 p.m., at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in the Board Room. Cost of the session is $10 per person to cover the cost of course materials. Stewards of Children is a primary prevention, sexual abuse prevention training program that educates adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The program is a three hour training session presented by an authorized facilitator. An interactive workbook and accompanying video are utilized to share the message that adults are accountable for the safety of children. To register or for more information, contact Kathy at 629-6611, ext. 3910.

Relay For Life seeks sponsors The American Cancer Society urges local companies to help support the fight against cancer in their community by becoming sponsors of Relay For Life. Many options for corporate sponsorship are available, including forming a team at one or more local events; providing in-kind donations of goods; purchasing event sponsor signs for track display; encouraging employees to volunteer at events; and collecting Relay donations at places of business. Relay For Life events are held overnight as individuals and teams camp out at an athletic track, park or other gathering area, with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the track or pathway at all times throughout the evening. For more information, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit

Basket/Bag Bingo event The Mothers Against Cancer Relay for Life Team is holding their annual Basket/Bag Bingo to benefit the American Cancer Society on Thursday, March 22 at the Salisbury Moose Lodge. Doors open at 5, games begin at 6:30 p.m. There will be raffles, silent auctions, door prizes and food. Tickets are $15 if purchased by March 15 and $20 at the door. Call Terry at 410-430-0337 for tickets or information.

Family Wellness Expo & Baby Fair More than 50 Bayhealth departments and not-for-profit groups will share insight on "Cultivating Healthy Habits" during the Bayhealth Family Wellness Expo & 16th Annual Baby Fair on Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington.

The Wellness Expo will be in the Dover Building and the Baby Fair will be located in the Exhibit Hall on the Fairgrounds. The Expo is free and open to the public and will have fun, educational and interactive events for people of any age. For a complete list of exhibits at the Bayhealth Family Wellness Expo and 16th Annual Baby Fair, visit

Test kids for lead poisoning The Delaware Division of Public Health's (DPH) Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention program reminds everyone that state law requires all children to be tested at 12 months of age to prevent health effects from exposure to lead during early development. Lead poisoning can cause permanent, irreversible harm to a child, including brain damage, hearing problems, kidney damage, and even stunted growth. In most cases, lead poisoning has no symptoms. While lead paint has not been used in homes since 1978, nearly 50 percent of the homes in Delaware were built prior to 1979. And some of the most common exposures today have little to do with paint. Exposures can also come from take-home dust from parent's work, toys and other improperly manufactured products and exposure via activities such as hunting and fishing. If your organization is interested in hosting a lead-testing day, call 302-283-7300. For more information on lead poisoning, call 211 or visit:

HealthFest on March 31 PRMC and the Wicomico County Board of Education invite everyone on the Peninsula to join them for HealthFest: An event for all ages, on Saturday, March 31 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at James M. Bennett High School on College Avenue in Salisbury. Joining HealthFest as the event's guest speaker is three-time Olympic gymnast, gold medalist and health advocate Dominique Dawes who will speak at 11:30 a.m. on fitness, exercise and staying healthy. Over 30 different and free health screenings will be available. Some require advance registration or fasting. ABI-Lower Body Circulation Screening and Prostate Screening require advance registration. Registration will be open from Monday, March 12 through Friday, March 16 from 9 a.m. to noon each day or until all available appointments have been filled by calling 410-543-7139. Also available will be Total Cholesterol and Blood Glucose (blood sugar) tests, which do not need advance registration but do require all participants to have nothing to eat or drink for at least 8 hours before the screenings. For more information, visit or call 410-543-7137.

NMH offers stroke support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, at the Seaford Library. The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. Modeled from the American Stroke Association, the hospital is engaging with speakers to provide education, community resources and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering event. The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support, and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, call Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 8626.

NMH offers CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program. The location rotates each week of the month throughout Sussex County. "New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required. There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Midge Dinatale or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

NAR-ANON support group "Take Heart, Be Strong" is a support group available to those family members and friends who are concerned about the drug/alcohol addiction of a loved one. We find people in NAR-ANON who understand what we are going through and are ready to share their experience, strength and hope to help us. This group meets at 7 p.m. every Thursday in the Youth Room at Crossroad Community Church, 20684 State Forest Rd., Georgetown. If you are interested or know someone who might be, call Beth at 302-745-0466. This is an anonymous program and there are no obligations. Attendance is welcome with no prior arrangements. For more information and other meeting locations, visit

New depression support groups If you have been diagnosed with depression, are currently receiving treatment and need extra support, join the Mental Health Association in Delaware's newest depression support groups. The support groups provide a safe and comfortable environment for adults who may be struggling with depression to find others who may be going through similar experiences, learn coping skills and take back control of their life by being proactive. A support group meets in Seaford every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The location of the meeting is provided only to registered members. To register, contact the Mental Health Association in Delaware at 302-654-6833 or 800-287-6423. These new groups are made possible due to a grant received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware's BluePrints for the Community program.

Southern Delaware Heart Ball Come dance the night away for a good cause at the Southern Delaware Heart Ball. The ball will be held at the Dover Sheraton Hotel on Saturday, March 17 from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. A premier black-tie event, the Heart Ball raises funds for heart disease and stroke. Chairs are Steve and Rosie Rose of Nanticoke Health Services. For more information, visit or contact Karen Gritton at 302-286-5705 or