THE viral video of a child retaliating violently to his gogo’s punishment forces us to ask serious questions about mental health.
In the video, the gogo can be seen spanking the child who reacts with anger and then tries to attack her with a knife. While SunWellbeing doesn’t condone violence, we do ask the question: was the child’s reaction out of proportion to the punishment?
Tantrums and other emotional outbursts are expected from children but a child who is always irritable or in a bad mood could have a problem.
Dr Paul Sussman, a psychiatrist at Aseko Crescent Clinic in Joburg, said a perpetually angry child may be suffering from disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Symptoms are a permanent irritable or angry mood with an occasional but extremely violent outburst. It is a new, rare condition.
“The behaviour of a child with dysregulation always reacts out of proportion to stimuli. Their outbursts are disruptive and lead to property damage or injury to others.”
Mood dysregulation diagnosis
- The signs were apparent and ongoing when the child was under 10 years old
- The symptoms do not subside for longer than three months at a time
- The symptoms need to impact two or more of the child’s environments – home, school and social. The child must be known for extreme outbursts of rage.
There is treatment for this disorder.