Intermittent Explosive Disorder By Brittany Olivarez

Intermittent Explosive Disorder is a mental illness that causes patients to exhibit violent, aggressive behavior that is totally disproportionate to the event that triggered such conduct. Symptoms manifest as domestic abuse, temper tantrums, road rage and angry outbursts. This behavior is literally reminiscent of an �explosion,� as no warning signs generally precede an episode.
People who suffer from this mental illness may even attack other people and their belongings, which can cause significant property damage, not to mention personal injury. Individuals who are diagnosed with this condition can sometimes sense when an angry episode is approaching. Afterward, they often feel remorse and are embarrassed by their actions.
Causes of Intermittent Explosive Disorder
People who experience mental disorders-including anxiety, mood swings, depression and eating disorders-are at higher risk to develop Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Victims of substance abuse may also be at risk, and physicians concur that people who have this mental illness may have an imbalance in the amount ofserotonin and testosterone in their brains.
This condition is found in children as well as adults. Children who are exposed to abuse during childhood are more likely to develop Intermittent Explosive Disorder as adults. Physical brain injury and certain neurological disorders may also cause this condition, especially if the frontal lobe, which controls impulses, is damaged.
Diagnosing this Mental Illness
As a rule, this condition is diagnosed by professional psychologists and usually includes an analysis of the patient�s family history, a physical examination provided by the patient�s primary care physician and a look at various genetic factors, because this disorder may be passed from parent to child. An evaluation of the nature and frequency of violent episodes is conducted. Similar mental illnesses-including oppositional defiant disorder-must be ruled out to make an accurate diagnosis.
Treating Intermittent Explosive Disorder
While this mental illness cannot be cured, it can be controlled using psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, medication or by participation in an anger management program. Often, a combination of these treatments is recommended to improve the patient�s quality of life.
If the patient fails to seek treatment, Intermittent Explosive Disorder can result in serious disciplinary problems, social rejection and loss of  job. The violent behavior that manifests as a result of this condition may also be directed inwardly, and patients are in danger of harming themselves by causing intentional personal injury or attempting suicide.

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