Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Say Hello to Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria

The buzz around the new version of the DSM is already starting. The draft version is now online and it features a new condition with the ungainly moniker of "Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria." That's a friggin' mouthful, so let's try T-Triple D for short. WTF is this disorder? Well, according to my first look, it closely resembles the bad-behavin' kids who have been labeled as bipolar for the last few years. The symptoms are below, and can also be found on the official DSM-V website:

A. The disorder is characterized by severe recurrent temper outbursts in response to common stressors.

1. The temper outbursts are manifest verbally and/or behaviorally, such as in the form of verbal rages, or physical aggression towards people or property.

2. The reaction is grossly out of proportion in intensity or duration to the situation or provocation.

3. The responses are inconsistent with developmental level.

B. Frequency: The temper outbursts occur, on average, three or more times per week.

C. Mood between temper outbursts:

1. Nearly every day, the mood between temper outbursts is persistently negative (irritable, angry, and/or sad).

2. The negative mood is observable by others (e.g., parents, teachers, peers).

D. Duration: Criteria A-C have been present for at least 12 months. Throughout that time, the person has never been without the symptoms of Criteria A-C for more than 3 months at a time.

E. The temper outbursts and/or negative mood are present in at least two settings (at home, at school, or with peers) and must be severe in at least in one setting.

F. Chronological age is at least 6 years (or equivalent developmental level).

G. The onset is before age 10 years.

H. In the past year, there has never been a distinct period lasting more than one day during which abnormally elevated or expansive mood was present most of the day for most days, and the abnormally elevated or expansive mood was accompanied by the onset, or worsening, of three of the “B” criteria of mania (i.e., grandiosity or inflated self esteem, decreased need for sleep, pressured speech, flight of ideas, distractibility, increase in goal directed activity, or excessive involvement in activities with a high potential for painful consequences; see pp. XX). Abnormally elevated mood should be differentiated from developmentally appropriate mood elevation, such as occurs in the context of a highly positive event or its anticipation.

I. The behaviors do not occur exclusively during the course of a Psychotic or Mood Disorder (e.g., Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder) and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Pervasive Developmental Disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, separation anxiety disorder). (Note: This diagnosis can co-exist with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD, Conduct Disorder, and Substance Use Disorders.) The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a drug of abuse, or to a general medical or neurological condition.

I've not given this a lot of thought yet. The committee that examined the topic has some discussion of T-Triple D/bipolar here and here. The committee takes a couple of digs at the the child bipolar diagnosis. So if this new disorder is adopted, we're going to have yet another name for children who behave badly. Fortunately, the criteria appear to require much worse behavior than what has been passing for "bipolar" according to some child psychiatrists. The diagnostic threshold is higher and should theoretically lead to fewer kids being unnecessarily diagnosed. But even if the current criteria are adopted without any changes - look for a movement to diagnose "subthreshold" cases of T-DDD, as untreated subthreshold T-DDD will be found to cause untold psychological and physical damages across the world. Damages that can only be mitigated through aggressive treatment using [insert name of latest patented tranquilizer here]. So whatever antipsychotics or "mood stabilizers" are hot in 2013 when the DSM-V is released... they will be the "cure" for T-DDD or bipolar or whatever the hell we decide to label kids with behavior problems.

That's my first impression. This is definitely going to be a hot-button topic. There is apparently some mechanism to send comments to the DSM-V folks, since this is only a draft version - feel free to comment here or send your ideas to the DSM-V posse.