What’s Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

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Intermittent explosive disorder causes uncontrollable aggression and violence in response to minor incidents, with potential for severe consequences. It is more common in men and can disrupt employment, relationships, and education. Therapeutic treatments, including medication and behavior modification, can help manage the disorder.

Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is a mental disorder that affects a person’s ability to control impulses. A person who has intermittent explosive disorder becomes unusually aggressive and violent from minor incidents. They can destroy property and harm others through minor accidents that are out of proportion to the aggression they carry out.

Sufferers of intermittent explosive disorder seem to have no control over their aggressive impulses. They are unable to stop themselves from becoming violent and usually sincerely apologize after the event. Impulse control disorder is thought to be the same disorder that affects compulsive gamblers, kleptomaniacs, and arsonists.

In severe cases of intermittent explosive disorder, the victim has been known to commit homicide or violent suicide. If intermittent explosive disorder isn’t treated, the violence can continue to escalate. Symptoms of this behavior may first be seen in childhood and continue into adult life. The causes of intermittent explosive disorder are not currently known.

Intermittent explosive disorder is more common in men than in women. Women have been known to experience the disorder, but as part of PMS. Before an attack, sufferers have reported feeling a tingling or a sense of excitement, or even a great deal of tension. Once the attack is over, the sufferer is left with a feeling of immense relief. However, the sufferer soon realizes what he has done and feels remorseful or embarrassed about the harm he has caused.

Intermittent explosive disorder can greatly affect a person’s life. It can reduce your ability to obtain employment, especially in jobs that involve driving. It can cause relationship breakdown and lead to divorce. If the victim is of school age, her studies may be disrupted by the disorder and suspension from school has been known to result.

While there is no way to prevent intermittent explosive disorder, there are treatments available to help sufferers live with it. These are mainly therapeutic treatments. Medications, including antidepressants and mood stabilizers, may be given. Courses of therapy that include behavior and mood modification have also been known to help. With developments and research on the disorder still ongoing, more help should be available in the future.

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