The Addition of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder to DSM-5: Differential Diagnosis and Case Examples

  • Robert Eme Argosy University - Schaumburg
  • Jason Mouritson Argosy University - Schaumburg
Keywords: Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder


There has been an explosive increase in the diagnosis of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder (PBPD) in the past decade. The primary reason for this has been that severe, non-episodic irritability was considered to be the developmental equivalent of adult mania, and consequently many more children reached the diagnostic threshold to warrant a diagnosis of PBPD than otherwise would have been the case. However, it has become increasingly clear that children with severe affective and behavioral dysregulation including chronic irritability punctuated by affective storms, aggression, and altered mood most probably do not have PBPD but a different condition termed Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) which appears for the first time in the recently released fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This article reviews the evidence establishing the validity of DMDD and provides guidelines for the differential diagnosis of DMDD from other disorders.

Author Biography

Robert Eme, Argosy University - Schaumburg
Robert Eme is professor of clinical psychology at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Schaumburg. He specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.