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Intermittent Explosive Disorder


Disease: Intermittent Explosive Disorder Intermittent Explosive Disorder
Category: Psychiatric diseases
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Disease Definition:

Erratic eruptions can be caused by a condition known as intermittent explosive disorder (IED), such as domestic abuse, road rage, angry outbursts or temper tantrums that involve throwing or breaking objects.

This kind of disorder is characterized by repeated episodes of aggressive, violent behavior in which one reacts grossly out of control to the situation. People suffering from intermittent explosive disorder may attack others and their possessions resulting in bodily injury and property damage. Later, people suffering from this condition may feel remorse, embarrassment or regret.

Young men are most frequently likely to get affected with intermittent explosive disorder. In the case of experiencing this anger disorder, treatment may involve medications and psychotherapy in order to aid in managing the aggressive impulses.

Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


Explosive eruptions, often lasting 10 to 20 minutes, usually causes injuries and the deliberate destruction of property. These episodes may either take place in clusters or be separated by weeks or months of nonaggression.
Aggressive episodes may be preceded or associated with:



  • Tremor
  • Tingling
  • Hearing an echo
  • Palpitations
  • Head pressure
  • Chest tightness


Most people suffering from this disorder grow up in families where explosive behavior and verbal and physical abuse were common. Being exposed to such kind of violence at an early age raises the likelihood of these children to exhibit these same traits as they mature.
There may be a genetic component, resulting in the disorder to be passed down from parents to children as well.

People with other mental health problems — such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders and eating disorders — may be more likely to also have intermittent explosive disorder. Substance abuse is also one of the risk factors.
People with traits that are common to personality disorders like dramatic, paranoid, antisocial or narcissistic behavior patterns, may be particularly prone to intermittent explosive disorder. As children, they may have exhibited severe temper tantrums and other behavioral problems, like fire setting and stealing.



The violent behavior which is a part of intermittent explosive disorder is not always directed at others. People suffering from this condition are at significantly high risk of harming themselves as well, either with suicide attempts or intentional injuries.

A study found that 16% of those with intermittent explosive disorder had engaged in acts of self-aggression, and more than 12% of people in the study reported that they had attempted suicide. Those who were additionally addicted to drugs or had another serious mental disorder, like depression were at a higher risk of harming themselves.

School suspension, divorce, incarceration, auto accidents or job loss are other complications of intermittent explosive disorder.


Several different types of drugs are used to help manage intermittent explosive disorder, such as:



  • Anticonvulsants, such as Gabapentin, Lamotrigine, Phenytoin, and Carbamazepine
  • Anti-anxiety agents. in the benzodiazepine family, like Lorazepam, Alprazolam and Diazepam
  • Antidepressants, such as Paroxetine and Fluoxetine
  • Mood regulators, such as Propanolol and Lithium.

Group counseling sessions, concentrated on rage management, have additionally been considered to be beneficial. Certain people have found relaxation techniques useful in neutralizing anger.


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