Intermittent Explosive Disorder

What is Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

Intermittent explosive disorder is a mental health condition that involves sudden outbursts of violent, aggressive, and explosive behavior. These outbursts occur repeatedly and seemingly randomly. When a person has intermittent explosive disorder, their angry or aggressive reaction is out of proportion to the situation or circumstances. This can be something along the lines of flying into a rage because something was moved in the kitchen. Road rage sometimes can be attributed to intermittent explosive disorder.

When a person suffers from intermittent explosive disorder, their angry and violent reactions can cause serious harm to themselves or others as well, both in physical and mental/emotional ways. Intermittent explosive disorder is most common in people going through adolescence as well as young adults in their 20s and 30s. It is much less common in adults over the age of 40.

Genetics plays a big role in whether or not a person develops intermittent explosive disorder as can environment. Being related to or growing up with someone with the condition can lead to the development of intermittent explosive disorder. Unbalanced brain chemistry can also contribute.

What are the Symptoms of Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

Symptoms of intermittent explosive disorder involve becoming irrationally angry about small things and seemingly out of nowhere. The person may be easily irritable as well.

Some of the symptoms of an aggressive outburst include tremors, shaking, chest tightness, repaid breathing, rage, and a racing mind. To an outside party, symptoms or signs may include a quick temper, physical and verbal fighting out of nowhere, temper tantrums, and sudden rage.

How is Intermittent Explosive Disorder Treated?

Psychological and psychiatric therapies can help a person with intermittent explosive disorder to get a better understanding of the root cause of their bouts of anger and rage. Sometimes, suppressed emotions or other psychiatric disorders may cause the outbursts and treatment can help a person to better deal with the situation.

Coping techniques and mechanisms can also help with these feelings of anger and rage to prevent them in the future. Psychiatric drugs and medications may also be useful in the treatment of the condition.

Last Reviewed:
September 21, 2016
Last Updated:
September 01, 2017