Oppositional Defiant Disorder

The OTvest Weighted Vest can provide Calming Deep Pressure Therapy for those with Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

The OTvest™ denim weighted vest is useful in reducing stress, anxiety, and agitation due to the calming effects of the deep pressure applied to the body. The OTvest is a simple, non-invasive intervention that can make a difference in promoting calm, focus and behavioral organization!

Think of someone pressing gently but firmly down on your upper back and shoulders. Not only does it feel good, but it has a naturally calming effect. When we see other people that are anxious or over-stimulated, we instinctively do this movement, maybe even reminding them to “calm down,” as we do so. The OTvest™ is a weighted vest that simulates this feeling through deep pressure touch therapy, and can be administered throughout the day, inexpensively, discreetly, and without the help of another person. Persons putting the OTvest™ on for the first time almost always spontaneously say “It feels good!”OTvest-adhd-tired_mom_of_hyperactive_boy

Treatment interventions for aggression have been found to be most effective when there is a behavioral component. Students who demonstrate negative behavior benefitted most when treatment identified the problem. The OTvest™ can help persons with aggressive behavior or agitation learn how it feels to be more relaxed. The deep pressure therapy provided by the OTvest™ stimulates the production of calming neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin. These calming neurotransmitters naturally treat aggression, naturally treat agitation, and naturally treat behavioral conditions that can negatively affect everyday life.

Providing deep pressure through wearing the OTvest™ can provide a behavior component to treatment by helping aggressive or agitated, stressed individuals feel what a state of relaxation and calmness can feel like. Experiencing this state of calmness feels good! The OTvest™ can, therefore, motivate the wearer to work toward self-regulation, and to better learn anger and stress reduction techniques--without the use of medication.

OTvest-girl_with_broken_vase_and_momAs drug companies push medication as the only intervention for anxiety, the OTvest™ gives a natural treatment option for anxiety, or an alternative treatment for anxiety, without the side effects that medication can sometimes cause.

“Runner’s High” is a common “natural high” felt by runners due to the increase in dopamine in the brain from cardiovascular activity. Similarly, deep pressure therapy and touch stimulation changes the chemistry in our brains, creating a calming, focusing effect. The OTvest™ causes the brain to produce an influx of norepinephrine, epinephrine, and serotonin through the use of distributed weights across the upper back and chest. This allows OTvest™ wearers to feel more in control and centered, naturally.

Using a compression vest or weighted vest such as the OTvest™, can address problems with inattention, stress, anxiety, restlessness, or agitation (TBI, PTSD, or Alzheimer’s), as well as sleep disorders such as insomnia. In these instances, medication may still be necessary when recommended by a physician, but often at a lower dose when the OTvest™ is used in conjunction with medication. Many physicians are recommending the use of the OTvest™ to supplement the treatment of conditions, such as insomnia or narcolepsy; in fact, many patients find that they can discontinue use of their medications due to the increased relaxation experienced from the OTvest™.

Stress, anxiety, agitation and sleep deprivation are often seen in post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), Alzheimer's, and in movement disorders. Behavior deficits have been shown to occur in up to 70% of clients hospitalized with TBI (McNett, Sarver, & Wilczeski, 2012). This study also reported that the most common behaviors associated with agitation include impulsiveness, restlessness, and a decreased attention span. These behaviors are a substantial obstacle to participation in the inpatient rehabilitation process, attaining goals, and achieving functional independence (Lequerica et al, 2007). Patient goals for rehabilitation can include initiatives designed to gradually increase his attention span and reduce restless behaviors (Morro & Farley, 2016). And the introduction of a weighted vest such as the OTvest™ has been shown to improve attention span, allowing wearers to reach their goals more rapidly.OTvest-black_girl_in_vest

Unlike other weighted vests, weighted blankets, or compression vests on the market, the OTvest™ can provide deep, sustained pressure using less weight than other weighted vests. This is because the OTvest™ contains dense, steel plates, compared to the bulky sand or pellets found in other weighted vests. Not only this, but the placement of the weight is sitting directly upon the body -- not hanging loosely in pockets as is the case in other weighted vests. This sustained deep pressure can create a sense of well-being, increasing focus and function, promoting better sleep, and decrease anxiety, stress, and agitation. The OTvest™ also improves balance and awareness of the body in space. In many cases, this helps decrease the accompanying anxiety that the lack of feeling “grounded” produces.

Look for the yellow "OTvest" label on the chest pocket to make sure you are getting the genuine OTvest. Others may look like the OTvest from the outside, but the weight placement is important. Only the OTvest has the patented weighted insert with weight lying directly upon the body. This makes the difference!


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Lequerica, A., Rapport, L., Loeher, M., Axelrod, B., Vangel, S., & Hanks, R. (2007). Agitation in acquired brain injury: Impact on acute rehabilitation therapies. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 22, 177-183.

McNett, M., Sarver, W., & Wilczewski, P. (2012). The prevalence, treatment and outcomes of agitation among patients with brain injury admitted to acute care units. Brain Injury, 26, 1155-1162.

Morro, K., Farley, J. (2016). Brain Injury in an Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility: Occupational Therapist's Role in Interdisciplinary Approach to Behavior Management. OT Practice, June 6, 2106, 15-18.

VandenBerg, N., (2001). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November/December 2001, Vol. 55, 621-628. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.6.621

References in the above AJOT quote can be found on the Links page to the entire AJOT manuscript.