Disruptive Mood

Dysregulation Disorder


Many children that display symptoms of DSDD fall through the cracks because they suffer from a disorder that hasn't been defined (DSM-5, 2013). DSMM is often mistaken for bipolar disorder, and attention deficit disorder. Symptoms of DMDD don't include just temperamental children, it reaches far beyond. DMDD is severe and recurrent outbursts that are extremely out of control for the specific situation. The diagnosis of DMDD includes these outbursts occurring 3 or more times a week for a year or more. Between the outbursts children display a constant irritable angry mood most of the day, every day. DMDD has been associated with elevated rates of social impairments, school suspension, and poverty.

Age Range and Criteria

The onset of DMDD must be before age 10 and a DMDD diagnosis should not be made for the first time before age 6 or after age 18 (DSM-5, 2013). A diagnosis requires outbursts, irritable angry moods most of the day almost every day and observable by parents, teachers and peers. In order to be diagnosed, the children cannot go three or more consecutive months without a outburst. DMDD is typically so severe that symptoms of this often keep children from attending school and child care.
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Pros of Assessing an Diagnosing

Pros of assessing and diagnosing children with DMDD include treatment based on the diagnosis they wouldn't have otherwise. The new diagnosis aims to give a diagnosis home to ensure the children get the care that they need (DSM-5, 2013). A benefit of diagnosing DMDD is that treatment options now don't have to include experimental prescriptions that are used to treat PMD and ADD/ADHD (Johnson & McGuinness, 2014). The case studies completed thus far have shown improvements that allow children to interact in activities they otherwise wouldn't be able to.

Cons of Assessing and Diagnosing

Many questions remain regarding DMDD's clinical, biological, and psychosocial characteristics, familial psychopathology, heritability, and early predictors (Dougherty, Smith, Bufferd, Carlson, Stringaris, Leibenluft, Klein, 2014). Very limited research is available on DMDD and evidence suggests it is relatively common in clinical settings (Dougherty, Smith, Bufferd, Carlson, Stringaris, Leibenluft, Klein, 2014). Being DMDD is so new, and little research has been conducted there are no current treatment protocols.


Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. (2013, May). Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder Fact Sheet.pdf

Dougherty, L. R., Smith, V. C., Bufferd, S. J., Carlson, G. A., Stringaris, A., Leibenluft, E., & Klein, D. N. (2014). DSM-5 disruptive mood dysregulation disorder: Correlates and predictors in young children. Psychological Medicine, 44(11), 2339-2350. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291713003115

Johnson, K., & McGuinness, T. M. (2014). Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder: A new diagnosis in the DSM-5. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services, 52(2), 17-20. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/02793695-20140113-01