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Adult Mood Disorders and Childhood DMDD

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) is mental health condition impacting children, but that does not extend into adulthood. Adult mood disorders that may follow a childhood lived in the struggle with DMDD are major depressive disorder, anxiety, or other disorders that may have originated in DMDD as a childhood condition that possibly could have led to the adult disorder exhibited by some mental health patients.

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What is Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder?

DMDD is a childhood mood condition affecting children. Young children or adolescents affected by DMDD experience irritability, frustration, or anger throughout most of each day and extreme temper tantrums several times per week. DMDD symptoms don’t describe a typical moody young child or adolescent. The symptoms show evidence of a severely disaffected mood condition requiring clinical diagnosis and treatment.

DMDD has only recently been diagnosed and labeled as part of a class of mood disorders that includes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder.

Why Discuss DMDD in Assessing Adult Mood Disorders?

Pathways do not offer treatment for children with DMDD, but information about the condition can be helpful for adults with mood disorders that may have started with DMDD. Being aware of this childhood mood disorder may enable insights to be gained from parents, physicians, teachers, or other adults who can offer information about the behavioral history of a person suffering from this disorder as a child.

If you think you may have had undiagnosed DMDD as a child, that is important information to provide to your family medical care provider and your mental health care provider. DMDD can grossly undermine a child’s quality of life. It can cause great difficulty in functioning successfully at school and negatively impact relationships with family members and peers, which means the disorder may be a precursor to various adult mood and social disorders.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder Symptoms

Symptoms of DMDD usually start before a child reaches age 10. However, to date, the diagnosis is not being considered for children younger than age 6 or adolescents of age 18 or older. To receive a diagnosis of DMDD, the symptoms must be consistently present for at least a year. Children’s DMDD symptoms can include:

  • Feeling angry or being in irritable moods during most waking hours almost every day
  • Exhibiting extreme verbal or physical outbursts of anger 2 to 3 times per week on average that are beyond any normally triggered responses
  • Difficulty functioning due to irritability at school, with peers, and at home

Risk Factors for DMDD

There is no clear data yet on how common DMDD is in the general child population, but the condition is common in children examined in pediatric mental health clinics. Currently, research on the disorder's risk factors and brain mechanisms is in progress.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder Treatment

Children suffering from DMDD might have difficulty participating in activities or making friends. They may also be at increased risk of developing adult mood disorders such as depression or anxiety disorders. Current treatment for DMDD symptoms can include:

  • Psychological treatments
  • Psychotherapy
  • Parent training
  • Computer-based training
  • Medication

Medications You May Have Been Prescribed as a Child

Antidepressants and atypical antipsychotic medications have been commonly used to decrease irritability or aggressive behavior in children with ADHD and, more recently, for DMDD treatment. Being prescribed antidepressants may have led to suicidal thoughts in some children and teens. Atypical antipsychotic medication side effects include suicidal thoughts or acts, weight gain, hormone changes, and other issues. All of these may or may not cause the overall childhood experience of DMDD to lead to adult depression and other potential mood disorders.

Adult Mood Disorders Stemming from Childhood DMDD

Clinicians work to teach children with DMDD to self-regulate their moods and develop a greater tolerance for frustration. Children’s DMDD therapy also helps kids build coping skills for managing anger and tactics for identifying and re-interpreting their perceptions of other people’s ambiguous facial expressions that trigger outbursts.

The NIMH is directly sponsoring research studies to better understand the causes of disruptive mood dysregulation and effective treatment for children. As answers to mysteries surrounding DMDD are uncovered over the coming months and years, new knowledge about this childhood disorder may help advance research on related adult mood disorders.

If you suspect that your childhood struggles with frustration, anger, or irritability may have been due to undiagnosed DMDD, be sure to discuss your thoughts about that possibility with your family doctor or mental health provider and your Pathways treatment team.

This information may offer valuable insights into the origins of your mood regulation challenges today, which may help in weighing potential adjustments to your treatment plan.

Help from Pathways for Adult Mood Disorders in Sandy Utah

Pathways mental health treatment professionals in our inpatient treatment center in Sandy, Utah, and outpatient programs work closely with you to custom design a mood disorder therapy program uniquely suited to your specific needs.

Call Pathways Real Life Recovery (801) 895-3006, or contact us here on our website to schedule an appointment whenever you’re ready to get started on a better life!

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I have so many feelings because of Pathways. In 2019, I jumped out of my comfort zone and met with Michelle regarding my desire to offer sound healing group sessions to the clients at Pathways in Glenwood. I have been doing group sound sessions every other week since our meeting. It has become one of my biggest joys and it makes my heart so full. I'm happy to be able to add one more layer of love in healing and recovery to these beautiful humans. In late 2020, pathways helped my own mother overcome her battle with alcoholism. It has been the most beautiful and empowering journey to witness. Seeing my own mother rise and choose herself in order to stay here and start living her life with joy, and love of self and others. It has been a complete 180! She is not who she was before alcoholism, but she is much stronger and beautiful than ever before! I'm am so incredibly grateful for the healing and love that I have been apart of since I have connected with pathways! It truly is a place of healing and support.
Sacred Sisters
Sacred Sisters
16:09 24 Apr 21
The only word I can use to describe this place is magic. In a little amount of time, my life was truly impacted. Michelle was there on my hardest days, listening to what I needed. Worked with me privately and always made the time for me despite how busy she was. Chelsea was always a phone call away and spoke to me in the most down time earth nature, without fail. Tyler brought good energy everywhere with him and was always there to lighten things up. Rex never failed to show compassion, was always there to listen. Sean was always there to make us feel calm. I never left a group with Sean feeling anything but love. So many people in this program changed things for me. Although the work was hard, I love what this program is centered and I’m better for it.
Micheala Urie
Micheala Urie
01:29 30 Nov 20
💚💚💚Pathways wholeness Center is undoubtedly a divinely built and Powerful program that shifted my belief system and overall quality of life.Throughout my life I have experienced sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, and deep negative belief systems. Although on the surface I had great success in life, I have never felt whole and healthy until working with Michelle and the amazing staff at pathways.Rather than just putting a bandaid on the surface to cover the cause of my trauma/addiction, Pathways worked on the core cause of the trauma, while healing problems from the inside out. The philosophy and execution of this program is absolutely life-changing.The facility is very clean and nice. They provide great nutritious meals and comfortable living conditions. Lots of fun hiking trips, and social interaction while learning to have joy without using drugs or alcohol. The staff is second to none, full of love and willing to help however they can.If you are considering a better life away from the prison of addiction and or mental disorders, this is the best of the best!!!!💚💚💚💚
Braden Blood
Braden Blood
20:01 09 Jun 20
Amazing place with wonderful staff!
Shawnee Boswell
Shawnee Boswell
03:27 09 Mar 20
Pathways Real Life Recovery has been one of the most outstanding blessing I’ve received in my life. It’s help me go from homeless on drugs and depressed to sheltered loved and sober. The employees treat you with patience kindness and love. I’ve never felt more at home with any other treatment program. Thank you Pathways Real Life Recovery, you’ve really changed the direction of my life in a positive manner.
Anthony Ocegueda
Anthony Ocegueda
23:49 26 Feb 20
Pathways is such an amazing place to take time to get healthy and whole in a healing environment. The staff at Pathways is caring and compassionate. They truly want happiness and healing for all that enter the doors. Pathways is also located in the heart of southern utah surrounded by beautiful views.
Karlee Mackay
Karlee Mackay
21:15 14 Nov 19
Pathways Wholeness Center brings hope and healing to those struggling with mental health and addiction. The staff of committed to supporting clients in finding their life's vision and living a life of wholeness, health and happiness
Wendy Stilson
Wendy Stilson
18:08 14 Nov 19
If you are looking for a place to heal - look no further! This program is life changing. The recovery of every client is so important to the pathways team. The facility is a tranquil loving environment and located in one of the most beautiful parts of Utah!
Bevenee Crofts
Bevenee Crofts
04:06 01 Nov 19

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230 W Towne Ridge Pkwy 
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Sandy, UT 84070
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Pathways Real Life Recovery
230 W Towne Ridge Pkwy 
Suite 150
Sandy, UT 84070
Phone: (801) 895-3006
Email: [email protected]