Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Clinical Psychologists, Therapists, and Psychiatrists in Southlake and Flower Mound, TX

It's common for children to have occasional temper tantrums, but if your child's severe and frequent outbursts disrupt their daily life, it could be a sign of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD). At Dr. Messina & Associates in Southlake, Texas, and Flower Mound, Texas, our clinical psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists specialize in diagnosing and treating children and adolescents with DMDD. If you suspect your child is struggling with DMDD, we're here to help. Reach out to us today for support.

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Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) Q & A

What is Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)?

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) is a childhood psychiatric condition characterized by excessive temper outbursts. These are not your typical tantrums; DMDD involves disruptive episodes of anger and irritability that are often out of proportion and difficult to control.

Recognized as a disorder only in the past decade, DMDD provides a more accurate diagnosis for children who were previously misdiagnosed with pediatric bipolar disorder, even in the absence of key symptoms like manic or hypomanic episodes.
Research indicates that children with DMDD are less likely to develop bipolar disorder as adults but are more susceptible to experiencing depression or anxiety.

To receive a DMDD diagnosis, children must be between the ages of 6 and 18, with signs and symptoms typically emerging before the age of 10. Key indicators include:

  • Frequent Severe Anger Outbursts (At Least Three Times per Week)
  • Outbursts That Are Disproportionate to the Situation and the Child’s Developmental Level
  • An Irritable or Angry Mood That Persists for Most of the Day, Nearly Every Day
  • Irritability Leading to Difficulties in Multiple Settings, Including Home, School, and With Friends

These symptoms must persist for at least a year to meet the criteria for a DMDD diagnosis.

Some of these symptoms can also be associated with other psychiatric conditions affecting children, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). If you have concerns about your child’s mood, it’s crucial to seek the guidance of the providers at Dr. Messina & Associates for an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

Our approach begins with a comprehensive psychological evaluation in which you describe your child’s mood and symptoms. Based on the evaluation, our team recommends the most suitable treatment plan tailored to your child’s specific needs. Therapy is often the primary treatment for DMDD, with our providers specializing in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This approach equips your child or teen with the skills to regulate anger and enhance frustration tolerance. If therapy alone proves insufficient, we may complement it with medication. Our experienced psychiatrists can safely prescribe and monitor medication through medication management.
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Experience Compassionate Care for Your Entire Family

For effective treatment of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, we’d love to meet with you and your family. Reach out to the office of Dr. Messina & Associates, or easily schedule an appointment online today.
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