What Is Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

Intermittent Explosive Disorder is a mental health condition that has as its defining feature brief periods of sudden, violent aggression, rage, or violence. Other Conditions Some other mental health conditions can share symptoms with irrational explosive disorder, but they also share key differences.

IED typically presents itself during late childhood or the early teenage years, and the person who suffers from it usually feels that he or she has no control over his or her rage. People with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) cannot control their violent outbursts, which typically occur abruptly and target people closest to them. Managing IED can be challenging because the person with the disorder cannot control his or her angry outbursts. People with IED generally cannot control their anger, and an episode can occur at any time, without warning.

They may never acknowledge the negative consequences of the explosive episodes that they cannot control. Children who are exposed to an improvised explosive device also may experience extreme anger, leading to physical violence against persons, animals, or objects. Some individuals with IED may also use alcohol, drugs, or self-harm to control their rages or to curb their impulsive aggressiveness. Individuals with IED may engage in temper tantrums, damage property, or attack others verbally or physically.

Individuals with IED also have an increased likelihood of developing substance use disorders or considering self-harm or suicide. Co-occurring conditions of IED a person with IED may be more vulnerable to developing other mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Many psychiatric disorders and certain substance use disorders are associated with increased aggression, and are frequently co-occurring with IED, which often makes differential diagnosis challenging. Alcohol and other substance use disorders can demonstrate increased aggression, but no diagnosis of IED is made unless such aggression is experienced beyond the period of acute alcohol and withdrawal.

The onset is not best explained by another mental disorder, medical condition, or substance use. Individuals who have an IEDS exhibit a distinct pattern of violent outbursts that are disproportionately severe relative to a given situation. IED is a mental health disorder that is characterized by repeated episodes of anger, rage, and aggression seemingly without cause. Intermittent Explosive Disorder (sometimes shortened to IED) is a behavioral disorder that is characterized by explosive bursts of anger and/or violence, often escalating to a level of rage, that are out of proportion to the situation at hand (e.g., impulsive screaming, yelling, or excessively harsh words, all of which are provoked by relatively unimportant events).

Intermittent explosive disorder is characterized by sudden, repeated episodes of violent, aggressive and/or hostile verbal rants. Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is a mental health condition causing an individual to have repeated episodes of violent behavior unwarranted by the circumstances. Much like the changes in mood prior to the episode, an individual with IED can acknowledge feeling completely out of control with their circumstances and emotions prior to an eruption of physical or verbal violence.

An eruption can be relieving for the individual with IED, who has trouble managing their frustrations and impulses. After an outburst, an individual may experience relief–followed by regret and embarrassment. In some cases, you might notice anxiety and frustration, where the person who has an EDD is struggling to control their anger, and these can be signs that they are about to have an explosion.

The same person might also alienate themselves from friends and colleagues because of the awkwardness, or the fear that they will hurt when they cannot control themselves anymore. If someone who has an IED is unwilling to acknowledge that they have a problem and to work to moderate their impulsive anger, then it might be necessary to defend yourself by withdrawing for good.

Given the serious ways IED can disrupt relationships and adversely impact the quality of an individuals life, mental health researchers have attempted to determine what causes the disorder. Experts reported that major depression–marked by an overwhelming sense of sadness, a loss of interest in daily life and people, or suicidal ideation–is indeed a common psychiatric condition co-occurring with IED, but does not occur in every case. Some studies have suggested that IED and bipolar disorder may co-occur at higher rates, but these two disorders are not the same.

One study linked IED to bipolar disorder, a mental health condition that is characterized by extreme mood swings, including highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). Studies suggest that individuals with IED can respond to specific serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and mood stabilizers. Individuals with IED are highly comorbid with other mental health disorders, such as mood disorders, substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression, as well as eating disorders.

IED is characterized by short, non-provoked episodes, as opposed to the widespread, consistent emotions that may be indicative of a mood disorder, such as MDDD. IED may be mistakenly diagnosed as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder (BPD), or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). IED may be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional-defiant disorder, or autism spectrum disorder, if the impulsive aggression occurs more often than is usually observed, but it cannot be diagnosed with adjustment disorder in children aged 6-18 years.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, intermittent explosive disorder is a failure to control impulsive aggression when responding to minor provocations that might not normally lead to aggressive erupting. Other experts have noted that repeated aggressive, impulsive behaviors typical of irrational temper disorders are associated with decreased serotonin levels in the brain.

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