When Explosive Anger Has a Doctor’s Excuse – Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Mental Fitness

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Do you know someone who’s prone to tantrums, road rage, and other extreme outbursts?  If they’re reactions seem completely out of hand, and you’re often left wondering why they overreact so strongly, they may have more than just a “nasty temper.”  They have intermittent explosive disorder. 

According to the Archives of General Psychiatry, Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is defined as three or more yearly violent outbursts that are way out of proportion to the trigger.

From Mayo Clinic:

Intermittent explosive disorder is characterized by repeated episodes of aggressive, violent behavior in which you react grossly out of proportion to the situation. People with intermittent explosive disorder may attack others and their possessions, causing bodily injury and property damage. Later, people with intermittent explosive disorder may feel remorse, regret or embarrassment.

Experts estimate that IED may affect as many as 1 in 14 individuals in the US. For those who are diagnosed with the disorder, help is available. Treatment may involve medications and psychotherapy tto help the individual control his/her agressive impulses.

One of the things doctors look at when making the diagnosis is whether or not the individual is ever able to resist the agressive impulses. If they seem consistently unable to fight it off, they delve deeper to get to the root of the problem. There are other disorders and imbalances they look for as well.

The majority of individuals who have IED grew up in a home where there were violent outbursts, and a lot of yelling and anger. When they were children, they were exposed to verbal and physical abuse. It’s believed that there may also be a genetic disorder, so angry/abusive parents can pass the gene on to their children.

Can you imagine the difference a diagnosis and treatment could make in people’s lives? Not just in the life of the person with the disorder, of course. Everyone around them is suffering, but treatment could put it all behind them.

Bottom line – if you, or someone you care about, responds to situations in a manner that’s completely out of the norm and totally uncalled for, there may be a reason for it. The problem is, the person with a disorder, such as IED, doesn’t always realize that their reactions are “over the top.” Hopefully, however, they’ll be reasonable enough to “catch on,” and they’ll realize that if people keep telling them that they explode and overreact, there has to be a reason for it. Everyone in your life isn’t going to tell the same lie.

Then, it’s in their own hands. If they’re mature enough and if they care enough about the people around them, they’ll make an appointment asap with a trusted doctor. Very often there’s simply a chemical imbalance and medication will straighten things out. Soon, they’ll be feeling so good – they’ll realize just how bad things were.

To learn how IED is diagnosed and treated, see Intermitent Explosive Disorder Tests and Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic.com.

Make each moment count double,
~ Joi

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