Are your child's temper tantrums the sign of a serious mental health disorder?
Some mental health professionals are concerned about the inclusion of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, which will appear in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Detailed criteria about the condition has not been released, but a statement released by the American Psychiatric Association said that the diagnosis should be applied to children older than six and younger than 13 who have three or more temper tantrums a week for over a year.
The disorder was said to be added to the manual in an effort to lessen the number of diagnoses made to children of bipolar disorder.
However, many believe that the addition will lead to more children being diagnosed with mental disorders.
Some note that parents will have recent temper tantrums in their minds and believe that the problem is more severe than it is.
In addition, because the condition has no approved therapy, it would likely be treated with medication to lessen anger outbursts. That treatment is the same medication used to treat bipolar disorder anyway.
Some mental health professionals argue that it was placed in the manual too soon, making its mark on the pages devoted to accepted diagnoses rather than in the appendix, with other possible diagnoses that require more research.
Others say that the criteria listed for the disorder is similar to that of other conditions, like opposition defiant disorder.
Other critics say that some professionals may diagnose children for disruptive mood dysregulation disorder without checking for other mental health problems.
Defenders of its inclusion say that the child's problems will have to be severe and chronic in order to net a diagnosis.
They say that because children's temper tantrums are often tied up with other problems, the diagnosis offers a unifying answer.
However, even Lauren Wakschlag, a clinical psychologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, a proponent of the new diagnosis, says that more research on the disorder needs to be conducted.
She notes that behavior changes significantly between the ages of six and 13.
The fifth edition of DSM will be published next year. The changes were approved on December 1.
Other changes include the addition of dyslexia, the removal of Asperger syndrome, and the change from "gender identity disorder" to "gender identity dysphoria" to describe some transgender individuals.