Most people lose their temper occasionally, but it may be a sign of intermittent explosive disorder (IED) when it occurs regularly. This mental health condition can increase aggression in people, causing them to lash out and sometimes even hurt others.
If you have IED, it's essential to get treatment. But unfortunately, the majority of people with this condition don't seek help. This article will explore the different treatment options for IED and the importance of early intervention.
What Is Intermittent Explosive Disorder?
Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is a mental health condition characterized by aggression and anger episodes. These episodes can be verbal or physical and often happen in response to triggers, such as feeling frustrated or annoyed.
People with IEDs may feel out of control during these episodes. They may also feel regret or shame afterward. However, it is crucial to note that these incidents are not planned. In other words, people with IEDs don't intend to hurt others and don't want to lose control.
The National Institute of Health says about 11.5-16 million Americans have IED. It often begins in childhood or adolescence and is more common in males than females. The article further describes that about 82% of people with IED suffer from other mental disorders like depression, antisocial personality disorder, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. Still, only about 28.8% of them receive treatment for their anger.
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What Causes Intermittent Explosive Disorder?
The exact cause of IED is unknown, but it may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. For example, people with IED may have a family history. Furthermore, certain life events, such as trauma or abuse, may increase the risk of developing IED.
You are at risk of getting intermittent explosive disorder if;
- You are a male.
- You are younger.
- You are unemployed.
- You are divorced or separated.
- You have less education.
Symptoms Of Intermittent Explosive Disorder
The primary symptom of IED is experiencing episodes of anger or aggression that are out of proportion to the situation. Mayo Clinic explains that these episodes may be verbal, such as yelling or making threats, or physical, such as hitting or throwing things.
Other symptoms of IED may include:
- Feeling on edge or irritable
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Violent behavior
- Experiencing problems at work or school
- Showing or pushing physical fights
- Feeling like you need to keep your temper in check.
- Avoiding situations that may trigger an episode
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling guilty or ashamed after an episode
How Is Intermittent Explosive Disorder Diagnosed?
There is no specific test to diagnose IED. Instead, a mental health professional will likely ask you about your symptoms and medical history. They may ask you to complete a questionnaire about your episodes of rage and aggression.
There are several diagnostic criteria for intermittent explosive disorder.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5)
The DSM-5 measures for IED include:
- Recurrent episodes of impulsive, aggressive behavior
- These episodes are out of proportion to the situation or event that triggered them.
- These episodes are not premeditated or intended to harm someone.
- Ill-tempered outbursts are usually not justified by the size or intensity of the problem at hand.
- Episodes cause distress or impairment in social, work, or other areas of functioning.
- These symptoms are not caused by another mental disorder, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or another psychotic disorder.
- These symptoms are not caused by the use of drugs or alcohol.
- The person must be older than six years old to be diagnosed with IED.
Diagnostic And Statistical Manual (DSM-4)
The DSM-IV defines intermittent explosive disorder as discrete episodes of inability to resist aggressive impulses, resulting in violent assault or property destruction. For a diagnosis to be made, the symptoms must be grossly disproportionate to any provocation or precipitating psychosocial stressors, and other mental disorders must be ruled out.
IED can be caused by a head injury, Alzheimer's disease, or substance use or medication. The diagnostic criteria are based on affective and behavioral symptoms, assessed through a psychiatric interview.
An intermittent explosive disorder diagnosis is made when the individual has three or more episodes of impulsive aggression that are not premeditated and result in the destruction of property or physical injury to another person. The episodes must be out of proportion to the provocation or stressor and occur between at least two days and four weeks.
To be diagnosed with IED, the episodes of impulsive aggression cannot be explained by other psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other psychotic disorder. The attacks of impulsive aggression also cannot be a result of the use of drugs or alcohol.
Treatment For Intermittent Explosive Disorder
According to a Wikipedia article about Intermittent explosive disorder, there is no cure for this mental health condition. The most effective Intermittent explosive disorder treatment is a combination of medication and counseling. Mental health professionals will recommend the following treatment methods for Intermittent explosive disorder:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can help people with IED identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors. Cognitive therapy can also help people learn how to manage their anger healthily.
Cognitive therapy efficiently reduces the symptoms of the intermittent explosive disorder. It can also improve depressive symptoms and anger control relative to a control group.
Group therapy can be a promising treatment method for people with IED. Group therapy can help people with IED learn how to cope with their anger in healthy ways. In group therapy, people with IED can share their experiences and learn from others who have similar experiences.
Group therapy can be a promising treatment method for people with IED. Group therapy can help people with IED learn how to cope with their anger healthily.
There are no specific medications available to treat the intermittent explosive disorder. However, mental health professionals may prescribe medications to treat other conditions associated with IED, such as depression or anxiety.
Researchers found that antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medications can help treat IED. These medications include;
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs are antidepressants that can help people with IED by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can help regulate mood.
Anti-hypertensives are a medication that can help people with IED by reducing impulsivity and aggression.
Lithium is a medication that can help people with IED by stabilizing mood swings.
- Anticonvulsant medications
Anticonvulsant medications are a type of medication that can help people with IED by reducing impulsivity and aggression.
Some alternative treatment options may be beneficial in the treatment of intermittent explosive disorder. Among these alternative treatments are:
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that can help treat IED symptoms.
Biofeedback is an alternative treatment that can help people with IED by teaching them how to control their body's response to stress.
Hypnosis is an alternative treatment that can help people with IED by teaching them how to control their anger responses.
- Relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques, like meditation or yoga, can help treat the symptoms of IED.
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- Herbal remedies
Herbal remedies, such as chamomile or valerian, can help treat the symptoms of IED. These are The Best Organic Chamomile Tea we listed on our sister site.
- Homeopathic remedies
Homeopathic remedies, such as Ignatia or belladonna, can help treat the symptoms of IED. If you want more ideas on managing anger, we think that this Anger Management article will give you some good tips.
The prognosis for people with the intermittent explosive disorder is generally good. With treatment, most people with IED can reduce their symptoms and lead a normal, productive life.
If you or someone you know has IED, there is help available. Treatment can make a big difference in managing the symptoms of IED. If you are unaware of where to start, consult your doctor or mental health professional. They can assist you in locating the resources you require to get started on the road to recovery.
If someone you know behaves aggressively and tries to harm himself, contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for help. This free and discreet service offers crisis support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Please remember that recovery is possible. With treatment, people with IED can live healthy and productive life.
The intermittent explosive disorder is a severe condition that can cause a lot of distress and disruption in a person's life. However, there is help available. With treatment, most people with IED can reduce their symptoms and lead an everyday, productive life. If you or someone you know has IED, don't hesitate to seek help. Remember, recovery is possible.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.
What Is The Best Treatment For Intermittent Explosive Disorder?
The best treatment for intermittent explosive disorder will vary from person to person. Some people may benefit from medication, while others may find therapy more helpful. It is important to work with a mental health professional to find the best treatment for you.
Is There A Cure For Intermittent Explosive Disorder?
There is no cure for intermittent explosive disorder, but there are treatments that can help reduce symptoms and allow people to lead a normal, productive life. If you or someone you know has IED, don't hesitate to seek help. Recovery is possible.
Does Intermittent Explosive Disorder Go Away?
The intermittent explosive disorder is a chronic condition that does not go away independently. Treatments are available, however, to help reduce symptoms and allow people to live normal, productive lives. If you or someone you know has IED, don't hesitate to seek help. Recovery is possible.
What is intermittent explosive disorder?
What causes intermittent explosive disorder?
Symptoms Of Intermittent Explosive Disorder
Treatment For Intermittent Explosive Disorder