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Intermittent Explosive Disorder - IED
Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) is one of the less heard of behavior disorders. This article defines Intermittent Explosive Disorder as listed in the DSM-IV-TR. It also includes statistics, signs and symptoms, and what treatment options are available for IED.
Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) is a mental disorder that is categorized as a "Disorder of Impulse Control" by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). The other disorders in this group are pathological gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, isolated explosive disorder, and impulse control disorder unspecified. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision, (DSM-IV-TR) classifies it as "Impulse-control disorder not elsewhere classified," along with kleptomania, pyromania, pathological gambling, tricholtillomania, and impulse-control disorder not otherwise specified (NOS). All of these disorders result in people giving in to an immediate desire and being unable to self-regulate to control the impulse.
Although you may have never heard of this disorder before, the National Institute of Mental Health reported in 2006 that an estimated 11.5 to 16 million adult Americans may be affected by Intermittent Explosive Disorder, that is, as many as 7.3 percent of the adult population. The onset of the disorder is usually in the early teens.
A person with IED explodes with aggression and violence that is objectively not in proportion to the situation. These eruptions of rage can last between 10 and 20 minutes. The result may be injury to people and damage to property. Episodes can be close to each other, or more spaced out, with normal behavior in between. Within the person with IED, there may be other associated feelings, including feeling irritable, experiencing tingling sensations, tremors, or palpitations, tightness in the chest, and either a headache or a sensation of pressure in the head. Three episodes of disproportional rage in the person's life are needed for diagnosis.
People who have IED most often experienced explosive rage, as well as verbal abuse and physical abuse, in their family when they were growing up. The exposure to this type of behavior, as well as a genetic component and body chemistry, may contribute to causing IED. Risk factors for developing IED include being physically abused as a child, having a drug or alcohol abuse issue, and having another mental health issues, such as a mood disorder. On the other hand, some believe that IED may predispose people to abuse drug or alcohol or have other mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.
Outcomes of IED can include self-injury and suicide attempts. Depending on where the explosive episodes occur and their severity, it could also lead to school suspension or expulsion, loss of one's job, separation or divorce, or criminal complaints.
There are other causes for explosive episodes that must be ruled out for a diagnosis of IED. These range from head trauma to a seizure to intoxication to a manic episode.
Fortunately, IED is treatable, once it's diagnosed. treatment often includes therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy as well as medication. There are several different types of medication that may be employed, including anti-anxiety agents, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and mood regulators.
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