Ozark Trails Academy understands that parents want to send a child to a safe, monitored environment where their teen boy or girl receives personal care, and individual therapies that help heal emotional and mental disorders–whether brought on by trauma, foster care, adoption or family genetics.
And while the young teen enrolls our therapeutic boarding school for counseling, treatment, and improving academic/life skills, Ozark Trails Academy also helps students struggling with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder improve their mental and physical health.
What is Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder?
“If your child is exhibiting severe temper tantrums that are difficult to control, extremely frequent, and seemingly out of proportion to the situation at hand, you may want to consider having them evaluated for Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD).”
“DMDD is a fairly recent diagnosis, appearing for the first time in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in 2013. The DSM-5 classifies DMDD as a type of depressive disorder, as children diagnosed with DMDD struggle to regulate their moods and emotions in an age-appropriate way. As a result, children with DMDD exhibit frequent temper outbursts in response to frustration, either verbally or behaviorally. In between outbursts, they experience chronic, persistent irritability”.
“DMDD was developed as a diagnosis in response to psychiatrists’ concern that bipolar disorder had been over-diagnosed in children. The disorder is based on the concept of severe mood dysregulation as a condition distinct from the typical episodic manic and depressive behavior of bipolar disorder. Many children originally diagnosed with pediatric bipolar did not experience the episodic mania (or elevated mood) associate with the condition.”
Symptoms of DMDD
DMDD significantly impairs a child’s mood, causing anger and irritability. This severe irritability has two prominent manifestations: frequent temper outbursts and a chronic, ill-tempered mood that is more or less constantly present between these outbursts. To be diagnosed with DMDD, a child must exhibit the following symptoms:
- Severe recurrent temper tantrums: These may be verbal (yelling or screaming) or behavioral (physical aggression)
- Temper tantrums that are inconsistent with the child’s age: With DMDD, the tantrums are not what you would expect in frequency and severity based on a child’s developmental level. For example, while you might consider it normal for toddlers to get down on the floor kicking and screaming occasionally, you wouldn’t expect to see this from an 11-year-old.
- Outbursts occur frequently: Usually, you would expect to see an outburst at least three times on average.
- The mood between outbursts is persistently irritable or angry: This may be observable by parents, family members, teachers, or peers.
In addition to the above symptoms, diagnosis requires that:
- Symptoms have been present for at least a year, with the child not having a period lasting 3 or more months without showing symptoms.
- The temper outbursts occur in at least two or three different settings.
- The child is between 6 and 18 years of age.
- The symptoms were present before the age of 10.
“What’s more, a child will only be diagnosed with DMDD if the symptoms aren’t a result of another medical condition such as autism spectrum disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, separation anxiety, and so on. Your doctor will also want to rule out the possibility that the symptoms attributable to the effects of any medication or substance.”
Treating DMDD in Children and Teens
Here are some common treatment options for children struggling with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder:
Psychotherapy and Behavioral Interventions include Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of psychotherapy, is commonly used to teach children how to deal with thoughts and feelings that contribute to their feeling depressed, anxious, or irritable. The therapy also teaches coping skills for regulating anger and ways to identify and re-label the distorted perceptions that contribute to outbursts. Dialectical behavioral therapy for children (DBT-C) is another option that serves to teach children mindfulness, emotional regulation, and how to tolerate feelings of frustration. In DBT-C, instead of dismissing the child’s emotions, the therapist validates them in order to help the child develop skills to manage their feelings.
Ozark Trails Gives Young Students Healthy Ways to Heal
That’s why Ozark Trails Academy treats young students suffering from Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. Therapists address your child’s mental and behavioral issues, and create an individual treatment plan to follow at school, including therapy. We also provide nutritious meals, and healthy exercise and activities. We want each student to experience effective counseling and treatment, as well as improve daily life at school, and back home with family.
Ozark Trails—A Place of Hope, Healing and Purpose for Troubled Teens.
Ozark Trails is an affordable residential treatment center that provides outstanding clinical therapy, incredible academic learning, and amazing outdoor responsibility and adventure for teen girls and boys, ages 12-17. Our program is family focused, and students receive individual treatment care by licensed clinical therapists.
Ozark Trails rests on 750 acres near Willow Springs, MO. Therapy here includes horses, chickens, farming, rafting, spelunking, rock climbing, hiking, wilderness learning, and so much more. With an unlimited access to spring rivers, caves, hiking, equine, and biking trails, we have the perfect balance of nature, inclusive of a large, comfortable facility to let our students feel safe in a home environment.
Again, if your teen boy or girl needs help recovering from Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, please call us at (417) 278-6868 now. We want to help him or her find new positive ways to manage life’s obstacles and traumas, and discover a true change of heart.