Dec 10, 2012

Posted in Current Events, Parenting | 0 Comments

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD): The New Kid on the Crazy Kid Block.


Image from Slate

Fun fact: Kids be crazy.

In fact, kids are famously “bipolar” little S.O.B.s and my mom friends and I used to joke that dealing with children is like hanging out with miniĀ  mental patients – only without those super helpful strait jackets. Turns out that according to the new American Psychiatric Institute guidelines, if your child throws lots of tantrums, s/he could have “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder” (DMDD). This new diagnosis will be added to the new, updated version of the psychiatric handbook, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in May 2013.

According to The Huffington Post blog,”children who exhibit persistent irritability and frequent episodes of behavior outbursts three or more times a week for more than a year” could qualify for this diagnosis. Oh crap. Looks like I’m screwed because it sounds exactly like my hormonal tween son whose formerly sunny disposition has been turning annoyingly emo on me since he started middle school.

This trend towards pathologizing what was long considered developmentally appropriate behavior and overmedicating children isn’t going to make it any easier for children and their parents to learn how to regulate their emotions. Tantrums and mood swings are difficult enough to deal with, let alone worry that this means your toddler has some psychiatric disorder because he fell apart when you served him applesauce with the blue bowl instead of the usual yellow bowl. Little kids act all kinds of crazy and hormonal tweens and teens, even crazier. But guess what? That’s their job and it’s refreshing to see that kind of commitment to excellence from young people these days.

Personally, I think childhood and your teen years are really the only time in your life that you’re entitled to be crazy without REAL consequences. In fact, it’s your duty and right, before all those unfun, grownup responsibilities turn that youthful spontaneity into rigor mortis, to let your freak flag fly. I think our biggest issue is that NONE of us are encouraged to act “crazy” enough.

Links: Slate, Huffington Post

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