Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Intermittent explosive disorder is characterized by uncontrollable episodes of aggression, during which the person loses control and assaults others or destroys property.

Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) can be best understood as an impulse-control disorder. People with IED experience episodes of aggressive or violent behavior that result in assaulting or threatening others or animals, or in the destruction of valuable property. These intense rage episodes occur spontaneously, not in response to any apparent provocation or threat. Once the episode is over, individuals often express remorse or regret. People with this disorder may also experience a feeling of relief; tension seems to be relieved during the episode. Usually they do not exhibit aggressive tendencies between episodes.

Although this disorder can appear at any age, it is most commonly seen in men from adolescence through their twenties. IED is often an early predictor for psychopathology in adult life. An Axis 1 diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or a substance abuse disorder often follows the initial diagnosis of IED. Many patients also have a history of legal infractions, including traffic accidents and sexual impulsivity. People with IED seem acutely sensitive to alcohol; the substance may induce an anger outburst.

See also Impulse control disorders .



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