Intermittent Explosive Disorder – More Common Than Commonly Thought?

We’ve all seen scary cases when a person flies into a violent rage for no reason, whether it’s road rage or a couple’s overheated argument. What you may not know is that, for some people at least, a real disorder may be behind the problem: intermittent explosive disorder (IED). This is not your everyday type of angry outburst, but rather a violent reaction that is way out of proportion to the event that brought it on. Often the outburst involves throwing or breaking things or other injury to property or people.

An article on WebMD says that IED may be more common than we think, affecting as many as 16 million adults in the U.S. It note the results of a study that defined IED as “involving at least three incidents over a lifetime of anger attacks in which physical harm was done to other people or to property.” And the incidents had to not be linked to factors such as drug or alcohol use or depression.

Before an incident of IED, sufferers may report feeling an increased energy level and irritability or rage. Episodes may be accompanied by physical sensations such as tingling, tremors, palpitations, or chest tightness. After an episode of intermittent explosive disorder the person may feel embarrassment, guilt or shame, various sources say.

An article on the Mayo Clinic’s Web site talks about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, risk factors, and treatments for intermittent explosive disorder, and tells what medications can be effective in treating IED. Psychology Today also discusses what intermittent explosive disorder is and covers some of the same aspects of the disorder as the Mayo article.

If you feel you or someone you know may be affected by IED, consult a medical professional to learn more about the specific symptoms, causes, and characteristics of intermittent explosive disorder.

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