Dr. Daniel Matthews: Pioneer in DMDD Treatment
The team at Revolutionize DMDD would like to recognize Pediatric Neuropsychiatrist Dr. Daniel Matthews for pioneering the successful treatment for childhood limbic rage syndrome. Today, this syndrome is known as Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD), which the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) named in 2013. Although DMDD is new to the diagnostic manual, it is NOT a new condition. It has been called many things over the last 100 years - the earliest being Cerebral Dysrhythmia.
Before Dr. Matthews’ retirement in 2020, he spent more than four decades working with a population of children and teens who exhibited debilitating, explosive rage and impulsive aggression. Many of these children were placed in residential treatment homes, as stability seemed nearly impossible. The disorder created an environment of chaos in their families. Dissatisfied with the results from the various medications given to these patients - especially antipsychotic drugs - Dr. Matthews explored the root cause in order to find the solution. He was able to accurately diagnose and successfully treat the electrical abnormalities these children exhibited, which presented as seizure-like activity in the brain.
In the 1970s, Dr. Matthews discovered a successful medication combination while working with impulsive, explosive, pathological juveniles that were residents at an inpatient facility. This new treatment was created in conjunction with a unique qEEG that was created by Harvard and funded by Duke University. Using a qEEG brain scan on each patient, Dr. Matthews then compared the results to a unique database of normal brain scans. He found that these children had an electrical abnormality in the brain. After a rage episode, the child often could not recall what had happened.
Dr. Matthews’ findings led to a revolutionary approach to treating DMDD: getting to the root of the brain abnormality with anti-epileptic medications in conjunction with amantadine - instead of antipsychotics. Kids with DMDD need more dopamine in the brain, and antipsychotics actually reduce access to dopamine and directly work against the goal of brain stabilization. In time, patients using this brain-based treatment will often need less medication, as the new brain cells will start to take the appearance of the calm brain cells and function normally.
Since his discovery, Dr. Matthews has pioneered this successful treatment and graciously consulted with doctors from across the country and abroad to help stabilize patients with DMDD (many of whom also have ADHD), keeping them out of the hospital. During 20 of these years, Dr. Matthews teamed up with the late Neuropsychologist, Larry Fisher, Ph.D., ABPN, and together created a unique plan that not only kept these children out of the hospital, but integrated them back into their families, schools, and society.
Since then, Dr. Matthews’ research and treatments have been life-saving for thousands of families. His research on aggressive and violent children and adolescents has been presented nationally and internationally at major neuropsychiatry, psychiatry, and psychology conferences, and published in leading psychiatric journals.
To learn more about the brain-based treatment from Dr. Matthews, here is a presentation he gave at a medical conference before his retirement. Please click the link below and wait for the presentation to begin.