Do all supersensers need therapy?

DMDDEnglishSupersensersTherapy / By Francheska Perepletchikova

Many supersensers are well adjusted and enjoy the benefits of their emotional sensitivity, while dealing effectively with challenges. Clinical interventions are only needed for children who develop emotional dysregulation and corresponding behavioral dyscontrol. They exhibit angry/irritable mood, have temper tantrums, frequently are destructive, verbally and physically aggressive, and may have suicidal ideation and engage in non-suicidal self-injury. They tend to have severe interpersonal difficulties with family members and peers, extreme thinking style, low tolerance of delayed gratification, low tolerance for change and transitions, difficulty with concentration and rapidly shifting attention, difficulty with tolerating boredom, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and frequently sensory processing problems. The most common diagnosis given to children with such emotional dysregulation and behavioral dyscontrol is Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD). 

DMDD identifies children with severe impairment in self-regulation, who are also highly reactive and sensitive. DMDD is diagnosed if: 1) a child has three or more tempter outbursts per week that are grossly out of proportion to a situation (e.g., punching a sibling for taking his toy, 10 min of screaming “I hate you” when she is told “no”) and are not commensurate with the developmental level of a child (e.g., a 7-year-old has a temper outburst that is more typical of a 3-year-old); 2) child exhibits an angry or irritable mood between outbursts for most of the week (e.g., snappy comments, cursing, mumbling under breath, stomping away, rolling eyes, sighing impatiently); 3) symptoms are present in at least two settings (e.g., at home, school, with peers); 4) symptoms started before 10 years of age, and 5) symptoms have lasted for at least one year. Frequently DMDD has co-morbid conditions, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and sensory processing disorders.


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