Best Dog Breeds for Disruptive Mood Dysregulation DisorderReading Time: 5 minutes
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is a mental health disorder that primarily affects children and adolescents. This is a relatively new condition to be diagnosed, meaning that there is still plenty more research needed when it comes to causes and treatments.
While this may be the case, one promising way in which symptoms can be reduced is with the help of an emotional support animal.
Understanding What is Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)?
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is usually categorized by extreme anger, irritability and temper tantrums.
While all children experience erratic mood swings, DMDD is deeper than that…
The outbursts caused by DMDD are usually disproportionate to the initial trigger, with the outburst being much more severe than how a peer would react to the same situation.
What Causes Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder DSM 5 in People and Children?
DMDD is caused by a mixture of both biological and environmental factors.
Concerning biology, those who suffer from neurological problems, such as chronic migraines, are more likely to develop disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Experts also believe that those who suffer from the condition likely also have an imbalance in their brain chemistry, with the part of the brain responsible for aggression being more active.
When it comes to environmental causes, there isn’t one specific cause that leads to the condition. Instead, it is believed that certain life circumstances contribute to triggering the condition, or even just exacerbating symptoms. Everything from a family divorce or death to a poor diet lacking in certain nutrients could lead to the development of the disorder.
DMDD Diagnosis: What a Clinician Looks for!
When it comes to diagnosing disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, there are specific symptoms that a clinician would need to look out for.
To begin with, to be diagnosed with the condition, the child must be at least six years of age, and no older than 18. The symptoms must also have begun before the child has reached ten years of age.
What are the symptoms?
Well, as mentioned above, severe temper tantrums and mood swings are a big sign of DMDD, and these will usually be experienced at least three times a week.
If a child is suffering from DMDD, they will likely be sad or angry just about every day of the week. The clinician will also inquire as to how the child is functioning at school and at home because problems with this can also point to the disorder.
Finally, to be officially diagnosed with DMDD, a child needs to have been experiencing the above symptoms for at least a year.
5 Ways an Emotional Support Dog Can Help Children with Mood Dysregulation Disorder
While medication is usually the go-to method for treating DMDD, an emotional support dog can really make a difference with this condition too.
Here are five ways in which an ESA can help a child with DMDD:
- Reducing stress – feelings of stress are common with DMDD, but interacting with a dog quickly reduces the levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone, in your body
- Boosting the mood – simply stroking a dog can trigger your brain into releasing serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, all of which are chemicals that lift the mood and will help a child to feel happier and more positive
- Reducing anxiety – not only can a dog help to reduce childhood anxiety but growing up with a pet means that a child is more likely to develop into a happy and healthy adult
- Providing a distraction – children suffering from DMDD can often become caught up in their emotions. A dog provides a distraction, reminding the child that there are positive aspects of life to appreciate
- Providing a social connection – mental health disorders can be extremely isolating. A dog can help to keep a person connected to the world by providing a talking point and encouraging social interactions
Do You Think Your Child Has DMDD DSM 5? Consider Getting an Emotional Support Animal!
If you think that your child may be suffering from disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, an emotional support animal would definitely be worth considering.
Not only will your child be able to experience all of the benefits mentioned above, but having a pet will also teach your child about responsibility while showing your child just how intense a dog’s unconditional love is.
CertaPet is Here to Help You Obtain a Valid ESA Letter!
Wondering how you would go about getting an emotional support animal for your child with DMDD?
Well, just about any dog could qualify as an ESA. The only thing you need for this to be officially recognized is an ESA letter signed by a licensed medical health professional (LMHP).
How do you get one of those?
You have two options…
The first is making an appointment for your child to speak to an LMHP in person, after which you could then be granted an ESA letter. The downside to this is the time involved, as it can often take several weeks for the letter actually to come through.
If you are looking for a quicker option, click on over to CertaPet. Take a pre-screening that only is five minutes long and free. After this, your information will then be reviewed by an LMHP, and you could receive your ESA letter in as little as 48 hours.
So, What are the Best Dog Breeds for Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder?
While just about every breed of dog can help with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, there are some that tend to be better at this than others. This is only due to the traits and characteristics of certain breeds that make them better suited for assisting with mental health disorders.
The Bichon Frise and Beagle aka the Best Dog Breeds that Help People Cope with Mood Swings
If you are looking for a dog to help your child with mood swings, one breed worth considering is the bichon frise. Their fluffy cute faces will never fail to put a smile on your child’s face, no matter how bad symptoms may be.
Bichons are highly intelligent dogs, and while this means that they can be easy to train, they are also quite stubborn, so consistency is key.
Grooming is another factor to keep in mind. The fact that bichons don’t shed is often a bonus, but this does mean that they will need to visit a groomer every couple of months, and will also need daily brushing to prevent mattes.
If you would prefer a dog that doesn’t require quite as much grooming, a beagle is a great alternative. The flip-side to this is that
they do shed quite a bit, so be prepared to deal with all of the dog hair!
Nevertheless, beagles are such affectionate and friendly dogs. They do require a fair bit of exercise, but the fact that they encourage their owners to spend more time outdoors can be useful when it comes to cheering a child up and lifting their mood.
Best Dog Breeds for Coping with a dysphoric mood: The Golden Retriever and Labrador
The golden retriever is a perfect family pet, as they are so intelligent and intuitive. A golden retriever will be able to quickly sense when your child is in a dysphoric mood and will do all that they possibly can to bring a smile back to your child’s face.
Golden retrievers are extraordinarily loyal and, with the right training, have excellent manners. Try to get your child involved in the training as much as possible, as this will help to strengthen the bond between your child and the dog.
An alternative to the golden retriever would be the Labrador, which is another favorite breed when it comes to family pets. This breed is also a favorite service dog breed because they are smart and learn quickly.
One of the traits that most labs share is their friendly nature and outgoing personality. This can be so helpful in dealing with dysphoric moods, as the silliness that a lab will bring to your child’s life will no doubt help to cheer your child up.
Best Large Dog Breeds for DMDD: The Poodle and the Irish Wolfhound!
If you would prefer a large breed dog that doesn’t shed, a poodle is a great option. Poodles are known for their high levels of intelligence, and they are a relatively easy breed to train.
While they may look quite dignified and sophisticated, poodles are actually so much fun and extremely loving. The lively energy that they will bring to your child’s life can really help to minimize the symptoms of DMDD.
Another large breed to consider is the Irish wolfhound. These dogs may be powerful and fast, but they are also incredibly gentle and easygoing.
Irish wolfhounds are quite a sensitive breed, and this means that they will easily be able to pick up on changes in your child’s mood. This can help to prevent your child’s DMDD symptoms from escalating too much, as the dog will know exactly when he needs to step in and provide support.
Save a Life! Adopt Your Emotional Support Animal from a Rescue!
Many people think that an emotional support dog needs to be one that they have raised from a puppy, but this is definitely not true.
Rescue dogs can make fantastic ESAs, and are often a better choice than a new puppy.
Why? Firstly, because they are usually older and more mature. This means that they are generally calmer and will not be as excitable as a puppy.
Many rescue dogs also already have a good grasp of basic obedience training. This will make your life so much easier when it comes to training the dog to your own needs.
Don’t Let DMDD Get the Better of You! Talk to Your LMHP About Getting an Emotional Support Animal
It is so important to ensure that disruptive mood dysregulation disorder doesn’t end up taking over your child’s life.
Getting an emotional support animal for your child does not need to be a difficult process, and can really make a huge difference.
Complete the pre-screening to see if you or your child are able to qualify for an emotional support animal.
Although it may have only been recently recognized, DMDD is an extremely real disorder that can be so detrimental to a child’s life. An emotional support animal can really transform this by reducing DMDD symptoms and keeping your child so much happier and healthier.
All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase CertaPet.com may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.