Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) was introduced as a new diagnostic entity under the category of depressive disorders in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It was included in DSM-5 primarily to address concerns about the misdiagnosis and consequent overtreatment of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents. DMDD does provide a home for a large percentage of referred children with severe persistent irritability that did not fit well into any DSM, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) diagnostic category. However, it has been a controversial addition to the DSM-5 due to lack of published validity studies, leading to questions about its validity as a distinct disorder. In this article, the authors discuss the diagnostic criteria, assessment, epidemiology, criticism of the diagnosis, and pathophysiology, as well as treatment and future directions for DMDD. They also review the literature on severe mood dysregulation, as described by the National Institute of Mental Health, as the scientific support for DMDD is based primarily on studies of severe mood dysregulation.
Keywords: disruptive mood dysregulation disorder; persistent irritability; temper outbursts.