Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a condition that starts in childhood where there are displays of extreme irritability, internal anger, and frequent, intense temper outbursts. DMDD symptoms go way beyond just a “moody” child. DMDD is a fairly new diagnosis, appearing in the new DSM-V. There is currently no standard treatment protocol for DMDD; however, most psychologists and psychiatrists recommend a multi-faceted approach that contains some or all of the following elements:

  • Home support to target parents and caregivers who are the first line of defense in reducing the aggressive and irritable behaviors of the child. Parent training is the most effective treatment as children with DMDD need consistent predictable rules and a reward system.
  • School support where teachers and school personnel understand the diagnosis. Children with DMDD often struggle academically and behaviorally. Some children will require a 504 Plan or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

At Essential Touchstones, our motto is “skills before pills.” We teach DBT skills to show children how to deal with irrational thoughts and intense emotions. This therapy teaches acronyms geared towards the practice of self-regulating.

When medications are needed to assist in therapy, there is no single prescription used to treat DMDD. It is likely that several medications may be used together for the best results. Be patient. It may be a long journey of trial and error before finding the right formula.


The following is a list of books that offer support to parents:

    • DBT Principles in Action, Charlie Swenson, Ph.D. (2018)
    • Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, Shari Manning, Ph.D. (TIC founder) (2011)
    • The Power of Validation: Arming Your Child Against Bullying, Peer Pressure, Addiction, Self-Harm, and Out-of-Control Emotions. 2011, Karyn Hall, Ph.D.
    • Buddha Mind, Buddha Body, Thich Nhat Hanh (2003)
    • Building a Life Worth Living, Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. (2021)
    • Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., First Edition (1993)