It is common to read in newspaper stories about a usually calm and intelligent person who suddenly snaps and commits a violent act.
Some people lose their tempers in this way, repeatedly and dramatically, causing serious physical harm to others. It’s a pattern in which tension builds until an explosion brings relief, followed eventually by regret, embarrassment, or guilt feelings.
In this sudden outburst, people might do things they normally would not even think of doing —they might break things, abuse others, hurt or try to hurt someone else or even try to harm themselves. The degree of aggressiveness expressed during the episodes is grossly out of proportion to any precipitating psychosocial stressors. Yes, we are talking about a disorder called Intermittent Explosive Disorder.
What is intermittent explosive disorder?
On the way to work, you hurl abuses at the driver who just cut you off. At the office, a trivial problem gets your blood pressure high. That night at home, you fight with your spouse and throw a bottle of water against the wall.We all have a propensity to get angry and upset. But then, there are people who react to situations with a sudden outburst without thinking about repercussions. This little-known disorder marked by episodes of unwarranted anger is more common than previously thought, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) has found. Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) affects as many as 7.3 percent of adults in their lifetime.
Why people suffer from IED ?
Research findings suggest that IED may result from abnormalities in the areas of the brain that regulate behavioural arousal and inhibition. Impulsive aggression is related to abnormal brain mechanisms in a system. Persons with IED have a set of negative beliefs strongly embedded in their personality, often resulting from harsh punitive methods inflicted by the parents. The child grows up believing that others “have it in for him” and that displaying anger is the best way to restore damaged self-esteem. There is some evidence of that the neurotransmitter serotonin may play a role in this disorder.
Symptoms of IED
Many people diagnosed with IED appear to have general problems with anger or other impulsive behaviors. They may experience racing thoughts or a heightened energy level during the aggressive episode, with fatigue and depression developing shortly afterward. Some report various physical sensations, including tightness in the chest, tingling sensations, tremor, or a feeling of pressure inside the head.
A psychologist who is evaluating a patient for IED would first take a complete case history. One has to rule out head trauma, epilepsy, and other general medical conditions that may cause violent behavior. Series of psychological tests are conducted to rule out other personality disorders.
Anger management skills through a combination of cognitive restructuring, raising endurance levels, and relaxation training looks promising. And because intermittent explosive disorder often begins in early adolescence, parents need to be vigilant in tapping aggressive symptoms in their teens. Treatment could involve medication, with the best prognosis utilising a combination of the two.
Better communication :
Angry people tend to jump to and act on conclusions and some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you’re in a heated discussion is slow down and think through your responses.
Get away from the situation :
Sometimes our immediate surroundings give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel “trapped”; making you resentful.” Give yourself a break.
Be tolerant :
All you have to do to practice tolerance, accept other people as they are, not as you would like them to be. When you are tolerant, your actions will almost always become more logical and reasonable.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”