Psychiatry Set to Medicalize Temper tantrums

Every decade or two, the American Psychiatric Association reworks its Diagnostic Statistical Manual, or DSM, to try to have diagnostic categories reflect the current state of theory and practice. Given enormous evidence that we’re currently overdiagnosing things and medicalizing normal behavior, many had hope that the upcoming DMS-5 — the fifth major revision — would show some restraint. We may see it yet — but not if we go down the track described in a post today by neuroscientist, blogger, and DSM watchdog Neuroskeptic. It seems that the DSM-5 may include a new proposed “mood disorder” called “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder,” or DMDD.
If DSM-5 is officially published (it’s due in 2013), kids will be deemed DMDD if they show
“severe recurrent temper outbursts that are grossly out of proportion in intensity or duration to the situation.” … at least three times a week.
Do you know any kids like that? If you don’t, then you don’t know many kids. This could be anything, like the meltdown when the shoes can’t be found, the homework got lost, or the braids aren’t quite right. Crimey, I met this criteria last week, just yelling at Karl Rove.
As Neuroskeptic notes, my folk-wisdom skepticism is backed by science:
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