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Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder


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—children with DMDD experience severe impairment that requires clinical attention.

Signs and Symptoms

DMDD symptoms typically begin before the age of 10, but the diagnosis is not given to children under 6 or adolescents over 18. 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.

Risk Factors

It is not clear how widespread DMDD is in the general population, but it is common among children who visit pediatric mental health clinics. Researchers are exploring risk factors and brain mechanisms of this disorder.