Doctors Debate 'Temper' Disorder Name, Relevance

Doctors and mental health professionals are deep in debate over whether a new named disorder for children with severe temper tantrums should be included in the new version of the mental health diagnostic reference manual.

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, or DMDD, would be diagnosed in children 6 years old or older if they suffer from severe irritability and uncontrollable outbursts--far beyond the "temper tantrums" that every child experiences at some point in normal development.

The Los Angeles Times reports that some proponents of the new diagnosis say it could help reduce the number of bipolar disorder diagnoses made--and medications prescribed--in children who might be able to be managed differently under a DMDD diagnosis.

Opponents, including pediatrician Dr. Claudia Gold, argue that the new label could do just the opposite, leading to more psychiatric prescriptions, not fewer.

"DMDD is being created as a new diagnosis to stem the rising tide of diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children. But I fear that this label will have the same fate, as clinicians feel helpless in the face of these troubled young families," Gold writes on

The new diagnostic reference volume, the DSM-5, will be published in May of 2013.

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