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Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Individuals react grossly out of proportion to the situation through episodes of impulsive, aggressive or violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts. Signs can be road rage, domestic abuse, throwing or breaking objects or temper tantrums.

In Intermittent Explosive Disorder, explosive eruptions…

– Can begin in childhood after age 6 or during teenage years; and are more common in younger adults than in older adults

– Can continue for years, though outburst severity can decrease with age

– Can occur suddenly, with little or no warning, and usually last less than 30 minutes. 

– May occur often or be separated by weeks or months of nonaggression. 

– Give no thought to consequences and be preceded or accompanied by:

        • Increased irritability and anger
        • Increased energy and/or racing thoughts
        • Tingling, tremors, palpitations
        • Chest tightness

– Cause significant distress, have a negative impact on relationships, work and school and include:

        • Explosive verbal and behavioral outbursts 
        • Temper tantrums, tirades, arguments, shouting
        • Physical fights, slapping, shoving or pushing
        • Property damage
        • Threatening or assaulting people or animals

– Can have potential medical, legal and financial consequences


Less severe verbal outbursts may occur between episodes of physical aggression. Individuals may often be irritable, impulsive, aggressive or chronically angry. 

After an episode, individuals may feel relief or tired—or, later, remorse, regret or embarrassment.

Read more about Child Behavior Problems & treatment at CFI…



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