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A Study of Brain Function and Symptoms in Children with Severe Mood Dysregulation

Join a Research Study: Enrolling nationally from around the country

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-496-8381 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

This study seeks to learn more about the symptoms of severe mood dysregulation in children and adolescents ages 7-17. Children and adolescents with severe mood dysregulation (SMD) display chronic anger, sadness, or irritability, as well as hyperarousal (such as insomnia, distractibility, hyperactivity) and extreme responses to frustration (such as frequent, severe temper tantrums). Researchers will describe the moods and behaviors of children with these symptoms and use specialized testing and brain imaging to learn about the brain changes associated with this disorder.

Study participation begins with an initial outpatient evaluation that lasts one day. Then, testing and brain imaging are completed at two-three day outpatient visits which occur every two years until participants reach age 25. Phone contact occurs every six months in between visits.

Descriptive/Longitudinal Study: When children have severe mood dysregulation (SMD), do their brains work differently than those of other children? How do their symptoms change as the children grow up?

After a preliminary phone interview, participants may be invited to NIMH for an on-site assessment. Children must be in treatment with a psychiatrist or provider, and/or medically healthy and not currently hospitalized, psychotic or suicidal.

A principal focus of the research is how mood, behavior, and brain development of children with severe mood dysregulation (SMD) change over time. Study procedures at the two-three day visits may include questionnaires and interviews; paper-and-pencil and computer tests of mood, memory, and thinking; specialized computer games; and structural and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans. These visits occur every two years until age 25. Children continue in treatment with a provider or psychiatrist in their community. This study does not involve treatment medications.