Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) is a type of mental illness characterized by episodes of intense anger or irritability, often lasting from several minutes to days at a time. These outbursts are accompanied by physical signs such as muscle tension, rapid breathing, sweating and paleness. They may occur spontaneously or be triggered by stressful events such as hearing loud noises, seeing things that shouldn’t be seen and so forth.[1]

The term “intermittent” refers to the fact that IED typically occurs only once every few months or even less frequently. Some individuals experience them multiple times a year. Individuals with IED are usually diagnosed after they have had two or three episodes of emotional distress within a six month period, but it does not necessarily mean that they will develop the condition.[2][3]

IED affects males and females equally; however, women are much more likely than men to suffer from it. There is no known cure for IED. Treatment consists mainly of psychotherapy and medication. However, some studies suggest that there may be genetic factors involved in causing the disease.[4]

Symptoms [ edit ]

IED symptoms include:

Frequent outbursts of anger or other negative emotions (e.g., rage). These are sometimes followed by periods where the person appears calm and rational, though these periods are brief and fleeting.

Periods where the person seems to “zone out”, showing no interest in anything that is happening around him or her.

Vacant stares that are present even during conversations.

Other symptoms are headaches, irritability, fatigue, muscle pain, sensitivity to light, sound and smell, depression and self-destructive behavior.