With Intermittent Explosive Disorder, we are not discussing ordinary anger. We are discussing rage.
A rage disorder, also known as intermittent explosive disorder (IED), is characterized by sudden and intense outbursts of anger or violence disproportionate to the situation. These outbursts can occur without warning and may be triggered by minor irritants. Intermittent Explosive Disorder can lead to physical altercations, property damage, and legal problems. A physical altercation occurs when two or more people mutually take part in using force or violence. It is typically diagnosed and treated by mental health professionals. There is always the risk that these fights can cause death.
During an episode of intermittent explosive disorder, a person may:
- lash out verbally
- become physically violent
- destroy property
Signs of intermittent explosive disorder include:
- often fighting without cause
- hurting people or animals
- engaging in physical assault
- kicking in doors
- punching walls
- road rage incidents
- temper tantrums
- throwing or breaking objects
- verbal tirades
- yelling and screaming
IED is a relatively common condition, affecting about 7% of the population in the United States. It typically emerges in adolescence or early adulthood and affects both men and women equally. Sudden outbursts of rage, physical violence, property damage, and verbal abuse characterize the condition. Minor events, such as a traffic jam or a disagreement with a friend or family member, can trigger these outbursts.
The exact cause of IEDs is not fully understood. Still, it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Studies have shown that people with IEDs have abnormal activation of the brain’s amygdala, which processes emotions. People with a history of abuse or trauma are more likely to develop IEDs.
Diagnosis of IED is typically done by a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. The diagnosis is based on thoroughly evaluating the person’s symptoms, medical history, and family history.
IEDs can have serious consequences for individuals and those around them. It can lead to legal problems, relationship difficulties, and other negative outcomes. Individuals with IEDs need to seek treatment and support from mental health professionals to manage their condition and improve their quality of life.
When anger becomes difficult to control, it may be a symptom of IED, an impulse control disorder.
While researchers don’t yet know what causes this condition, it appears to be a combination of genetic and environmental trauma-related factors.
IED treatment may include the help of a trusted therapist, lifestyle adjustments, and self-care strategies.
It may take time and some hard work to rewire your brain and develop new coping skills, but healing is possible.
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