What is Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

There are people who get angry, and people who explode in anger. Anger is about more than meets the eye. Stark differences define types of anger. Some people are defensive, while others are simply sensitive. Some people are vengeful, while others are traumatized and scarred. Some people are angry at the world, while some are angry at select kinds of people. Then, there is the irrational anger. Road rage, temper tantrums, social altercations and pure fury are all types of the kind of anger that seems beyond cause. Oftentimes to the point of violence, these enraged outbursts seem imbalanced compared to the immediate situation. Intermittent explosive disorder is a behavioral disorder that could be responsible for this type of reactionary pattern.

Outbursts of the Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) type can be a means for relief from an otherwise consuming experience of emotion. The DSM-5, the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, lists IED under “Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders”, but IED is commonly associated with bipolar disorder. Typically an outburst is short lived, and though it may provide momentary relief it is commonly met by remorse. Likely, the remorse is due to the wild nature of IED explosions.

Intermittent explosive disorder

Symptoms of Intermittent Explosive Disorder include:

  • Verbal aggression in the form of tantrums, verbal arguments or fights
  • Physical aggression
  • Injury to self or others as result of outburst
  • Destruction to personal surroundings, private property or public property
  • Distress or impaired function result from outburst
  • Legal consequences result from outburst
  • Financial consequences result from outburst
  • There are no other medical disorders, abused substances, or mental disorders present.


Another symptom of IED is a marked difficulty in social interactions. Outbursts and temper tantrums aside, people with IED are challenged in their social environments. Recent research found that the neurological connection between language processing and social interaction is weakened in people with IED. Impaired social abilities is not consequential of the angry outbursts associated with IED. The poor connection in the brain may cause a breakdown in the way information is processed from social engagement. Call Aurora Recovery Centre for more information on behavioural disorder treatment.


Pin It on Pinterest