All children can get angry or irritable. Tantrums are normal during the “terrible twos.” Temperamentally difficult children can have loud long tantrums. Children with ADHD often have a short fuse and explode when angry.
What Is DMDD?
DMDD (Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder) is different from any of the above. It is a serious childhood mood disorder associated with abnormalities in the structure and function in certain areas of the brain. DMDD is similar in some ways to bipolar disorder but with a different outcome. Bipolar children can develop into bipolar adults, whereas those with DMDD do not, although they are at risk for future anxiety disorders and depression.
What Are the Symptoms of DMDD?
If you have a child suffering from DMDD, you will recognize some of the following:
- Your child is irritable or angry almost all the time
- She has virtually unprovoked rage attacks, much more severe than tantrums
- He can get verbally or even physically abusive, destroying property or hurting others
- The rages can happen in public, which is mortifying for the parent, but mostly they occur at home.
What About the Family?
DMDD is very hard on families.
- Parents tip-toe around their child for fear of setting him off
- Siblings are afraid of her
- The mother is exhausted because she cannot leave the child alone
- Babysitters or housekeepers may quit
- The family feels under siege!