Understanding When Anger Is Really Intermittent Explosive Disorder

November 12, 2012

Understanding When Anger Is Really Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Intermittent explosive disorder is a condition where a person may or may not be in control over his/her emotions and be overly aggressive without medication or drug use.

The most important part of the Intermittent Explosive Disorder is the incidence of distinct episodes of disappointment to fight the aggressive urges that can happen in serious assaultive acts or property destruction. This is Criterion A.

The amount of aggressiveness articulated while an episode is going on is significantly out of proportion to the incitement or triggering psychosocial stressor. This is Criterion B.

For Criterion C, when other possible forms of aggressive behavior have been omitted, an intermittent explosive disorder diagnosis can be made. These forms of aggressive behavior include:

  • Manic Episode

  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder

  • Psychotic Disorder

The aggressive episodes are not because of a direct physiological effect from a substance such as medication or drug abuse or a basic medical condition like Alzheimer’s disease or head trauma (also is Criterion C).

The intermittent explosive disorder sufferer may describe his/her aggressive episodes as being “attacks” or “spells” where the quick-tempered behavior is followed by tension or excitement and then, finally, relief. Once time has passed, the person may be distraught, ashamed, apologetic or repentant about his/her destructive and violent behavior.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder Symptoms: What You Might Expect

You might be wondering what the signs of intermittent explosive disorder are. There are actually several of them:

  1. Repeated distinct episodes of disappointment to struggle against the violent, hostile compulsions, resulting in property destruction or severe assaultive acts.

  2. The amount of aggressiveness displayed during episodes is significantly out of proportion to the precipitating psychosocial stressors, if any.

  3. The aggressive episodes are not associated with a mental disorder such as:

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder

  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Conduct Disorder

  • Manic Episode

  • Psychotic Disorder

The episodes are also not a physiological effect seen with a substance such as medication or drug abuse and they’re not because of a medical condition like Alzheimer’s disease or head trauma.

Bear in mind that aggressive behavior happens in the context of several mental disorders. And, once all the other disorders connected to the aggressive behavior and impulses are ruled out, then a diagnosis for Intermittent Explosive Disorder can be made.

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