DMDD: Diagnosis

A clinician considering disruptive mood dysregulation disorder would looking for severe temper outbursts that occur, on average, three or more times per week. In addition, the child’s mood between outbursts must be consistently and observably angry or irritable. For diagnosis of DMDD to take place, a child must experience this pattern of frequent outbursts, plus consistent anger or irritability between outbursts, for 12 or more months. During this 12-month period, the child must show symptoms consistently, meaning that he does not experience a break of three or more months without symptoms of DMDD. Outbursts, or elevated or expansive moods that last for longer than a few hours or for days on end, are more likely to be signs of mania, which would rule out DMDD.The diagnosis of DMDD should not be made before age 6 or after age 18, and the onset of symptoms typically takes place before age 10.