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What Is Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

Learn about intermittent explosive disorder from anger management expert Dr. J. Ryan Fuller in this Howcast video.


Hi, I'm Dr Ryan Fuller and I'm going to speak to you a little about intermittent explosive disorder. So intermittent explosive disorder is a DSM diagnosis. That's a diagnostic statistical manual. That's the guide used by mental health practitioners to diagnose mental health and behavioral health disorders.

IED is something diagnosed when an episode that is seemingly impulsive and aggressive, oftentimes involves property destruction occurs and usually it's unpredictable. The person does not see this coming on in advance and the episodes tend to be very infrequent. Now while there's aggression taking place, it is not necessary at all in fact for anger to be present and that's oftentimes not assumed to be the case, so I want to just repeat that. Intermittent explosive disorder does not require anger to be present. It doesn't mean that it isn't present. It could be and that does happen, but a person experiencing the sort of impulsive aggressive behavior may in fact not experience anger prior to the event.

So, it's something to look out for. It's something that requires further research. It's fairly infrequent, so prevalence rates aren't exactly clear. What is important is there is some new evidence that some of the inflammatory markers that are related to hard outcomes have been found to be higher in people with this diagnosis. That's C-reactive protein and interleukin-6, so definitely something that requires more scientific research.

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