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Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Children with DMDD show extreme irritability, anger and frequent, intense temper outbursts—going well beyond a bad mood. DMDD is a fairly new diagnosis of severe childhood impairment, requiring clinical attention. 

Youth who have DMDD experience significant problems at home, at school and often with peers. They also tend to have high rates of using healthcare services, being hospitalized and suspended from school. They are also more likely to develop other mood disorders.

As with other behavior disorders, DMDD can be treated once the child is effectively evaluated and diagnosed with the condition. It is especially important for an accurate diagnosis, since youth may have been previously diagnosed with pediatric bipolar disorder (despite not experiencing symptoms for such a diagnosis).

Signs and symptoms

Researchers are exploring risk factors and brain mechanisms of the disorder. DMDD symptoms typically begin before age 10, but the diagnosis is not given to children under 6 or adolescents over 18.

To be diagnosed with DMDD, a child must have the following symptoms steadily for 12 or more months:

– Irritable or angry mood most of the day, nearly every day

– Severe temper outbursts (verbal or behavioral) at an average of three or more times per week that are out of keeping with the situation and the child’s developmental level

– Trouble functioning due to irritability in more than one place (home, school, with peers)

Read more about Child Behavior Problems & treatment at CFI…



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