Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Overview

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a new type of mood disorder in children and teens. Kids with DMDD feel irritable or angry most of the time. They have frequent, intense temper outbursts, which can be verbal, physical, or both.

Tantrums are a normal part of growing up. But outbursts that are frequent, intense, and not normal for a child's age can be a sign of a problem.

The symptoms of DMDD are similar to other disorders, like oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). When a child has DMDD, they may also have other disorders, (such as depression or ADHD). Not all experts agree with the new DMDD diagnosis. Some say there isn't enough research on it.

A child with DMDD is more likely to have other disorders (such as depression or anxiety) as an adult.

Symptoms

The symptoms of DMDD are similar to other disorders, such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Children and teens with DMDD have:

  • Intense verbal or physical temper outbursts. These outbursts:
    • Happen about 3 or more times each week.
    • Are more intense than expected for the cause.
    • Don't match the child's age or development.
  • An irritable or angry mood that lasts most of the day, nearly every day. And the mood is noticed at home, at school, and by peers.

In kids with DMDD, these temper outbursts and mood problems last for at least a year.

Treatment

There are no current guidelines to treat DMDD. But it can be treated based on a child's symptoms. Treatments include counseling and medicine. Talk with your doctor about what treatment plan would be most helpful for your child.

A child with DMDD can try different types of counseling. Some types can help them learn to change their thoughts and actions. Other types can help a child learn to better control their emotions.

Family members can try family therapy or parent training. These programs teach family members helpful ways to respond to angry outbursts.

Medicines for DMDD may help your child's symptoms. Talk to your doctor about the benefits, risks, and side effects before starting any medicine.

Credits

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral Health
Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine