Archive for July, 2014

Intermittent Explosive Disorder Affects up to 16 Million People

July 11, 2014

A little known mental disorder marked by episodes of unwarranted anger is more common than previously thought, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has found. Depending upon how broadly it’s defined, intermittent explosive disorder (IED) affects as many as 7.3% of adults – 11.5-16 million people – in their lifetimes.

People with IED may attack others and their possessions, causing bodily injury and property damage. Typically beginning in the early teens, the disorder often precedes – and may predispose for – later depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders.

To be diagnosed with IED, and individual must have had three episodes of impulsive aggressiveness “grossly out of proportion to any precipitating psychosocial stressor,” at any time in their life, according to the standard psychiatric diagnostic manual. The person must have “all of a sudden lost control and broke or smashed something worth more than a few dollars… hit or tried to hurt someone… or threatened to hit or hurt someone.”

People who had three such episodes within the space of one year – a more narrowly defined subgroup – were found to have a much more persistent and severe disorder, particularly if they attacked both people and property. Affecting nearly 4% of adults within any given year – 5.9-8.5 million people – the disorder leads to a mean of 43 attacks over the course of a lifetime and is associated with substantial functional impairment.

Evidence suggests that IED might predispose toward depression, anxiety, and alcohol and drug abuse disorders by increasing stressful life experiences, such as financial difficulties and divorce. If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from IED, contact Soundside Wellness Consultants.