Episodic Dyscontrol Syndrome Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Intermittent explosive disorder is marked by sudden, unpredictable acts of violent, aggressive behavior in otherwise normal persons. The reaction is out of proportion to the event that triggers or provokes the outburst.

What is going on in the body?

The exact cause of intermittent explosive disorder is not known. Some evidence suggests there may be a link between this disorder and mild neurological problems similarto those associated with some learning disabilities.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

The cause of intermittent explosive disorder is not known. It may be caused by an abnormality in the nervous system. Things that increase a person’s risk for the disorder include the following:

  • a caregiver who is antisocial
  • child abuse and neglect
  • conflict with a spouse or significant other
  • parents who abuse drugs or alcohol
  • lower socioeconomic status
  • parents who are not consistent in their availability or discipline
  • psychiatric illness
  • Symptoms & Signs

    What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

    A person who has intermittent explosive disorder:

  • destroys property
  • has repeated acts of sudden verbal or physical aggression
  • is unable to stop or control the impulsive, aggressive actions
  • A person who has this disorder is not violent or aggressive most of the time. The outbreaks of severe rage and anger are usually isolated. The amount ofaggression is out of proportion with the incident that triggered the outburst.

    Diagnosis & Tests

    How is the condition diagnosed?

    Diagnosis of intermittent explosive disorder begins with a medical history and physical exam. A complete psychological evaluation should be done to rule out another medical or mental disorder.

    Prevention & Expectations

    What are the long-term effects of the condition?

    Someone who has intermittent explosive disorder may have social or legal problems as a result of the aggressive behavior. The behavior may also cause problems at home or school.

    What are the risks to others?

    Intermittent explosive disorder is not contagious.

    Treatment & Monitoring

    What are the treatments for the condition?

    Medicines and psychologicaltreatment are generally used to treat this disorder.Psychotherapy with a focus on awareness of appropriate limits in socialsettings is often helpful.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Side effects of medicines vary. They may include allergic reactions and drowsiness.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    With effective treatment, the person can live a normal life.

    How is the condition monitored?

    Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

    Article type: xmedgeneral