Severe Irritability in Children Not a Precurser to Bipolar Disorder

Guest Post by Brenda Patoine

Ever witnessed an all-out temper tantrum from a nap-deprived three-year-old? Now imagine living with that kind of emotional outburst day in and day out for years. This is what it’s like for parents of children with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), a newly recognized psychiatric syndrome that typically begins before age ten.

child temper tantrum

Credit: Shutterstock

DMDD is among the “new” mental health disorders described in the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), used by mental health professionals to diagnose and treat mental illness.

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The DSM debate

In the Nov. 9 New York
Times
, there is an interesting
column
by autism expert Simon Baron-Cohen about the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
(DSM), including a
discussion by its editors about whether to remove Asperger syndrome from the
forthcoming fifth edition.

Baron-Cohen touches on some of the same points made in Cerebrum’s recent look
at the DSM update. The complementary articles, one by DSM editors, the other by
psychiatrist Paul R. McHugh, suggest how the revision might bring more
certainty to diagnoses and why looking at disorders’ causes—not just their
symptoms, as is the case now—is important.

The DSM update is scheduled for publication in 2012, and
many important discussions about it lie ahead. Stay tuned.

-Dan Gordon

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