Is your child often angry?

Is your child often angry?
Kicking others, hitting the wall, stamping his or her feet and finally biting themselves until they get what they want. Is this your child’s way of saying, “My way, mom!” Does he or she repeatedly throw temper tantrums? If yes, your child might have Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD).

The disorder was diagnosed in Indian children using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, states a recent study presented in Asian Journal of Psychiatry. According to the study, the impairment found in affected children ranges between moderate to severe. In India, the disorder is more common in boys aged 6-12 years than in girls.

Temper tantrums are a normal part of early childhood but sometimes, it’s a sign of a problem that needs to be addressed. It can be difficult for parents to know when it’s a cause for concern, or when the tantrums occur too often or last too long. Occasional extreme tantrums that occur when the child is exhausted, hungry or ill are nothing to worry about. However, parents should pay attention to patterns to decide when to seek help.

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is a childhood condition of extreme anger, irritability and frequent intense temper outbursts. Its symptoms go beyond being a ‘moody’ child. In fact, children with DMDD experience severe impairment that requires clinical attention. Extreme irritability is the most common symptom. If not addressed on time it can be disruptive for both the child and the parents. 

Often, the disorder tends to overlap with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety and other conditions, which makes treating the child difficult and complicated. Many children diagnosed with DMDD were later found to be bipolar.

The disorder can be treated in children only once it is diagnosed after the age of six. Most of the symptoms need to be present for at least 12 months to qualify for the diagnosis. Different treatments are advised depending on the case. The method varies according to the level of irritability among kids. Parents should look out for the following signs and symptoms of DMDD in their child:

n Severe and repeated temper tantrums, more than or at least three times a week.n Angry mood between tantrums without sustained periods of relief.n Symptoms can stay for a longer period and can happen both at home and outside the home.n The child doesn’t maintain friendships.n He or she is difficult to control outside home.

(The author is a consultant- psychiatry, Columbia Asia Hospital, Bangalore)

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry