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Bipolar, ODD and DMDD and Mood Differences


Bright children often experience emotional overexcitability. The emotionally intense highs and lows are sometimes misdiagnosed as DMDD (Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder) which was added in the Fifth Edition of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), or Bipolar Disorder. 

Common Emotional Characteristics of Bright Children

  • Extremes of emotion
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt and sense of responsibility
  • Feelings of inadequacy and inferiority
  • Timidity and shyness
  • Loneliness
  • Concern for others
  • Heightened sense of right and wrong, injustice and hypocrisy
  • Strong memory for feelings
  • Problems adjusting to change
  • Depression
  • Need for security
  • Physical response to emotions (stomach aches caused by anxiety, for example)


Children with this diagnosis experience severe and recurrent temper outbursts that are grossly out of proportion to the situation in intensity and duration and occur 3 or more times per week for a year.  The child must be persistently irritable or angry as observed in at least two settings for at least a year and must not have gone more than 3 months without these symptoms.


This disorder is characterized by anger-guided disobedience and hostile defiant behavior toward authority figures that goes beyond what is considered to be typical childhood behavior.


Unlike the characteristics of bright children, the emotions of a child with this difference follow their own rhythm and are not always prompted by an event.  These children are severely irritable and experience unpredictable, episodic outbursts.


Phone: (970) 819-3577
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