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Intermittent Explosive Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Dr. Umar Amir

1 min read

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Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) is a mental health disorder characterized by sudden impulsive bursts of anger, aggression, or violence. To know more about Intermittent Explosive Disorder, keep reading the article!

What is Intermittent Explosive Disorder

We feel anger of a mild to severe nature at certain times in our everyday lives. While it’s okay to lose our temper sometimes, we should be wary that it doesn’t happen too frequently or exceeds so much in intensity that it starts affecting us and those around us. People with Intermittent Explosive Disorder regularly exhibit angry or aggressive behavior in the form of recurring outbursts that can be both verbal or physical. It becomes difficult for affected individuals to control themselves during these repeated episodes of anger.

What Are The Symptoms Of Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

Following are the common symptoms of Intermittent Explosive Disorder:

  • Chest tightness
  • Increased energy
  • Palpitations
  • Headache
  • Tremors
  • Irritability
  • Rage

An episode of IED is usually short-lived and does not usually last longer than 30 minutes. During an IED episode, individuals may exhibit anger through various behaviors such as:

  • Shouting or yelling
  • Temper tantrums
  • Threatening others
  • Domestic violence
  • Physical assault
  • Fighting
  • Road rage
  • Causing damage to property

What Are The Causes Of Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

The exact cause of Intermittent Explosive Disorder is not known. However, researchers believe that it is likely caused by a mix of environmental, genetic, and biological factors:

  • Environmental causes: There may be a role of environmental factors in causing Intermittent Explosive Disorder, according to studies. Experiencing some form of physical abuse or trauma in childhood can be a contributing factor.
  • Genetic causes: It is believed that Intermittent Explosive Disorder may also be passed on from parents to their children in some cases as well.
  • Biological causes: Biological factors are believed to be a third potential cause of IED. Research suggests that there may be a difference in brain structure and function of people who have IED compared to those who don’t.

What Is The Treatment Of Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

Following are some ways in which IED can be managed or treated:

1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of psychotherapy can help patients with IED get rid of negative thoughts, thinking patterns, and behaviors. This can help them manage and overcome their aggressive outbursts and impulses.

2. Medications

Certain medications can also help in the treatment of Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Medication classes that may be prescribed to patients include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-Anxiety Medications
  • Mood Stabilizers
  • Antipsychotic Medications
  • Anticonvulsants


Intermittent Explosive Disorder is a mental disorder that can have a severe effect on the quality of life of affected individuals and those around them. To get help, it is important to consult with a psychiatrist and follow their instructions to live a healthy life.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Umar Amir
Dr. Umar Amir - Author Dr. Umar Amir is a top Psychiatrist with 20 years of experience currently practicing at Afridi Medical Complex, Peshawar. You can book an in-person appointment or an online video consultation with Dr. Umar Amir through oladoc.com or by calling at 0917158555.

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