Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a childhood disorder that is characterized by frequent and severe irritability or anger and repeated aggressive tantrums. Only children between age six and age 18 are eligible for this diagnosis, with most symptoms presenting before the age of ten.
Symptoms of DMDD include:
A general mood of frustration and irritability during most of the day, for most days
Severe tantrums or verbal/behavioral outbursts about three times a week
Impaired ability to function because of this irritability.
Diagnosis requires these three symptoms to be present for 12 or more months.
Children with this condition are more than merely “moody” or ill-mannered; their observable outbursts and baseline irritability are disruptive to their lives in school and at home, and to the lives of those around them.
One feature of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is emotional reactions that are not on track with the child’s developmental level.
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a relatively new clinical diagnosis, first appearing in the DSM in 2013. It is therefore not clear how widespread the condition is, though it’s estimated to be in the 2%-5% range.
Treatment includes talk therapy and if needed, medication. Children with untreated DMDD have higher rates of hospitalizations and higher likelihood to develop other mood disorders.