DISRUPTIVE DYSREGULATION DISORDER

Also known as: Anger Management, Impulsive Disorder

OVERVIEW

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) is a childhood condition of extreme irritability, anger, and frequent, intense temper outbursts. DMDD symptoms go beyond a being a “moody” child, as children with DMDD experience severe impairment that requires clinical attention.

DMDD symptoms typically begin before the age of 10, but the diagnosis is not given to children under 6 or those over 18 years of age. A child with DMDD experiences:

  • 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 (e.g., home, school, with peers)

To be diagnosed with DMDD, a child must have these symptoms steadily for 12 or more months.

DMDD is a relatively newly discovered mood disorder. Previously, it was misdiagnosed as a form of Childhood Bipolar Disorder, and now that has been corrected. Some of the symptoms associated with DMDD are also present in other child psychiatric disorders, such as Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Some children with DMDD also have a second disorder, such as problems with attention or Anxiety. This is why it is particularly important to get a comprehensive evaluation by a trained and qualified mental health professional for your child.

WHY IDCC?

DBT clinicians have been specifically trained to work with DBT in children, and IDCC also offers family therapy, as well as parent coaching, to assist with problem solving and help decrease negativity in a child. During a session, a child works with a therapist at the to learn how his or her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors influence one another. Adolescents learn how to develop better social- and problem-solving skills to help them in relationships.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an evidence-based treatment developed to help reduce self-destructive behavior through self-regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness skills, and interpersonal effectiveness skills. Children learn to identify problems so that they can effectively deal with them in adaptive fashion. Children with DMDD can also learn to communicate more effectively.

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