Objective: "Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder" (DMDD) has been introduced into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. but the utility of this new label and the clinical correlates of the children it describes are yet to be determined.
Methods: A proxy for the DMDD diagnosis was extracted from the National Comorbidity Survey - Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A) data on 6483 adolescents (51.4% female) including Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) diagnoses and measures of impaired functioning from the Sheehan Disability Scale. Cross tabulations and logistic regression were used to assess for prevalence and comorbidity.
Results: A total of 310 (5.26%) adolescents met the criteria for DMDD when diagnostic hierarchy and frequency of outbursts were not considered. At the low end of prevalence estimation, only nine adolescents (0.12%) met the most stringent proxy diagnosis, and they also met criteria for a number of comorbid disorders and functional impairment. The rates of comorbidity and functional impairment in adolescents with bipolar disorder were the same, irrespective of their meeting criteria for DMDD.
Conclusions: The DMDD diagnosis captures a small group of adolescents with multiple other psychiatric and neurologic conditions. The specificity of this diagnostic label, therefore, at least in adolescents, remains an open question.