Basics to Know About Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

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Being sad and unhappy are common human emotions that are typical responses to troubling circumstances. For adolescents and kids, such situations may include difficulty in social settings, death of a parent, moving schools or cities, and more.

Though this is normal, sometimes, these emotions can blow out of proportion and can go on for days longer than you expected. Going through such a phase can change the kids’ day-to-day activities, which can be a challenging experience for you.

If this is the case, then the kid may have DMDD. So, what is disruptive mood dysregulation disorder

DMDD – Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

It is a disorder in which a kid or an adolescent is constantly irritable and angry and might go through prolonged phases of frequent temper outbursts, tantrums, and meltdowns.

Though all kids are likely to exhibit temper tantrums from time to time, if your kid is exhibiting outbursts that occur frequently, is hard to control, and apparently out of balance, they might be suffering from disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.

DMDD is a diagnosis that emerged in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 2013 for the first time. Tantrums alone are not the sole marker of this diagnosis. The other symptoms include behavioral outbursts, irritability, and emotional dysregulation in different environments.

Symptoms of DMDD

Some of the key signs and symptoms that set DMDD apart from other psychological conditions are:

  • Frequent and severe temper tantrums in the form of behavioral or verbal outbursts
  • Temper outburst and tantrums that are contradictory with the child’s age 
  • Chronic irritability, which can be persistent in some cases
  • Anger outbursts in different environments or settings witnessed by parents, caregivers or teachers, peers, etc. 
  • Outbursts that occur a minimum of three times per week which does not last longer than a day

Risk Factors of DMDD

Though the exact causes of DMDD are still unclear, different factors like genetics, childhood experiences, temperaments, and accompanying mental conditions may contribute to its onset. 

A kid, who comes from a family where any member has a history of a psychological condition, is at a high risk of experiencing DMDD. Children with temperamental vulnerabilities at a young age are prone to anxiousness, moodiness, and problematic behavior. Such kids may also have disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.

Diagnosis for DMDD

Children with DMDD have an increased risk of developing anxiety disorders and depression. Children and adolescents with DMDD usually experience low academic performance and disruptive social relationships. 

Once you know what is disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, if you spot any of the symptoms in your kid, you can reach out to a qualified mental health professional for a precise diagnosis. Only a psychiatrist, a medical doctor, can make the correct diagnosis of DMDD. 

The doctor will assess your kid’s symptoms to make an evaluation. The assessment involves discussions with parents and caregivers and observation with the kid. This way, the doctors can rule out other health conditions and assess the kid in regular sittings before diagnosis.

From cognitive-behavioral treatment to parent training, there are many ways to treat the children diagnosed with DMDD. If you think your child has DMDD or any other similar condition, reach out to a health professional for advice. 

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