New diagnostic categories for children?

Those who parent or counsel children with emotional troubles recognize how crude our current set of diagnostic categories are at the present time. Kids labeled ADHD, Bi-polar, and ODD all share similar symptoms. They all can be impulsive, easily angered, hyperactive, grandiose, irritable, etc. But a friend of mine sent me some literature from researchers at Johns Hopkins where they are beginning to distinguish differences between some of these children. They present information on a diagnosis they call “Severe Mood Dysregulation” where the presentation of chronic irritability differs from the episodic forms found in Bi-polar Disorder.

Check out these two links for more details if you are interested:


Filed under counseling science

2 responses to “New diagnostic categories for children?

  1. ryan82

    Are we just creating new diagnoses to place upon people? How is severe mood dysregulation different from a willfully sinful child who does not know how to control his emotions? Place a child like that in an unhealthy environment and he could qualify for probably several DSM-IV diagnoses.

    How long before a medication is discovered to treat this disorder as well? I don’t think it is possible to diagnosis children.

  2. Ryan,

    That’s a fairly negative view of a real problem. Yes, it is hard to diagnose children but not impossible. Yes, people abuse and over use certain categories, and yes some people want to medically label willful disobedience. But let’s not say that every activity is willful sin. There are children who struggle more than others with impulse control. There are those who have predispositions to struggles. On the one hand, DSM diagnoses are mere descriptions of outward behavior that may have several etiologies. And yet, there are patterns that are worth talking about. If you follow the links I gave you will find that the brains of children with SMD light up differently under lab settings than those who do not. This fact could help us learn the best responses to those particular children. As such, gaining better definition of the problem isn’t a bad thing.

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