Every emotion has significance in our existence, and the absence of any feeling from our basic emotion set is abnormal. However, just like the absence, the excessiveness of any emotions also leads to psychological problems and disabilities. For instance, excessive sadness may lead to depression; just like that, anger is no exception.
If a person has a personality with marked impulsive anger outbursts, then they might be suffering from intermittent explosive disorder. Intermittent explosive disorder differs from general anger because the level of aggressive reaction is beyond the significance of the situation or distress.
Characteristic Features of IED
One critical feature of people with intermittent explosive disorder is no tolerance for frustration. They cannot control their reactions to adversity, and their responses are mostly destructive. However, looking at them outside of their aggressive episodes, they may seem completely normal and behave appropriately.
Identification of IED episodes is easy because it manifests as verbal arguments, temper tantrums, physical fights, and property damage. People with IED cannot control their impulses, and therefore behave impulsively to even minor frustration.
If a person lives in isolation and doesn’t have many people around to affect, during anger outbursts, they may still cause damage to themselves and their belongings. In addition, people with intermittent exclusive disorder are often accompanied by other mental health conditions like bipolar, anxiety, intellectual disability, externalizing disorder, and autism.
People with intermittent explosive disorder cannot stay in an organization for long because of their conflicts with others. In addition, they often face legal consequences for getting into fights and damaging other people’s property.
They have impaired relationships with their parents and siblings due to aggressive outbursts. They may get into relationships with romantic partners, but they cannot keep them sustained as other people feel frustrated by their aggressive reactions to minor problems.
People with IED hardly reach higher education because they conflict with other students and teachers. Moreover, during their aggressive episodes, they may damage the property of educational institutions leading to expulsion.
Sometimes they may even change their residences and workplaces to have a fresh start, but the negative loop stays the same. They may feel guilty and embarrassed after their aggressive episode has passed, leading to severe distress.
Causes of IED
Researchers are still finding the exact culprit behind intermittent explosive disorder; however, they think genetic and biological differences and a person’s surroundings play an essential role in developing this disorder.
Once in the family, the chances of heredity increase by up to 72%. Brain scans and structural analysis have revealed that people with intermittent explosive disorder have specific brain changes compared to ordinary people. The amygdala of intermittent explosive disorder patients is typically the most affected area as it involves emotional control.
Abnormality in the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin is also identified due to ongoing studies on IED. Even if a person has no parent with intermittent explosive disorder, they may still develop the condition because of physical and verbal abuse in childhood or trauma.
Intermittent explosive disorder is typically treated through talk therapy or psychotherapy. The patient with IED receives psychotherapy focused on changing irrational thoughts and developing impulse control. Sometimes your psychologist will refer you to a psychiatrist to see if medications can help.
Successful treatment of intermittent explosive disorder is when most of the problematic symptoms of the disease have subsided and only a few persist. For example, suppose a person has severe intermittent explosive disorder. In that case, the goal of psychotherapy will be to stabilize the person to a safe point for him and the people around him.
Intermittent explosive disorder is when a person has excessive anger outbursts and has difficulty controlling them. Having intermittent explosive disorder is different from general aggression and temper problems. Various treatment options can help people gain more stability. People with intermittent explosive disorder must consult a psychologist to avoid legal and social consequences of their anger.