What Is IED Disorder What Is IED Disorder

What Is IED Disorder: Top 5 Facts You Must Know

This article will discuss every aspect of intermittent explosive disorder IED. We will also cover what is IED disorder1 along with its symptom and sign and, in the end, what are the various ways that help in treating intermittent explosive disorder IED.

Intermittent explosive disorder IED also refer to as psychiatric disorders and bipolar disorder. In simple words, intermittent explosive disorder IED is the sudden anger outbursts, violent behavioral outbursts, verbal aggression, and violent behavior referred to as intermittent explosive disorder.

This impulsive and aggressive behavior can sometimes also cause substance abuse and physical harm to itself and, in severe cases, to the person near such person.


IED is a disease that shows the aggressive personality of an individual. In this disease, the person becomes aggressive, over-responsive, and frustrated. The American Psychiatric Association first time noticed this disorder. The diagnosis team of this association researched the issues and then prepared a statistic manual of the illness and symptoms. They give it the name DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual).

In the third edition of this manual, they researched the clinical symptoms and the poorly diagnosed disorders. They have started integrated research on the condition to overcome the disease and the severity of the symptoms. The fourth edition of the disease manual shows the improvement criteria of the disease.

The basis of diagnosis of DSM 52 is the research criteria in DSM 4. They check various parameters like subjective stress, aggressive behavior, and comorbid diagnoses, along with antisocial and borderline personality disorders. In DSM 5, the condition takes the form of Disruptive Impulse Control.

There is some non-injurious physical aggression which can cause some impairment and distress. The individual should be at least 6 years old to be diagnosed with the disease.

1. What Is IED Disorder

IED Disorder is also called intermittent explosive disorder IED. This disorder is related to the mental health condition in which the person cannot manage angry outbursts, also called episodes. This outburst can be due to many factors, including environmental factors, physical aggression, and aggressive impulses.

Mental health professionals suggest that according to the diagnostic and statistical manual and national suicide prevention lifeline, the intermittent explosive disorder is one of the mental disorders. In simple and understandable words, IED Disorder, also called intermittent explosive disorder can be defined or explained as a condition marked by frequent impulsive anger outbursts. The intermittent explosive disorder can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy.

People with the IED (Intermittent explosive disorder) have less tolerance for irritation, adversity, and frustration. Apart from this angry outburst, they used to live a normal life with appropriate behavior. The episodes of intermittent explosive disorder could be temper tantrums3, physical injury, physical violence, verbal arguments, and aggressive behavior.

Another name for intermittent explosive disorder is several impulse control disorders. Approximately around 80% of the people suffering from the intermittent explosive disorder have other mental health conditions or other disorders too, including mood disorders, significant distress, mental illness, antisocial personality disorder, anxiety disorders, temper tantrums, major depressive disorder, substance use disorder, borderline personality disorder, conduct disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, developing the intermittent explosive disorder, intermittent explosive disorder subtypes, oppositional defiant disorder, and mental health disorders.

2. Symptoms And Sings Of Intermittent Explosive Disorder IED

The main and important symptoms of intermittent explosive disorder IED can be uncontrollable anger, impulsive aggression, physical violence, violent behavior, and verbal outbursts. People with intermittent explosive disorder know that their mental health is unstable and their behavior is not good or appropriate. Still, they feel like they can not control aggressive impulses during the episode. The aggressive outbursts are

  • Explosive outbursts

  • Impulse control is lost

  • Impulsive behavior

  • Self-harm

  • Physical fights

  • Multiple traumatic events

  • Explosive episodes

  • Sudden bursts

  • The sudden bursts last for almost 30 mints

  • Causes significant distress

The people who are already having conduct disorders are likely to develop the intermittent explosive disorder, they are at very high-risk factors, apart from this the people with a head injury, biological factors, negative consequences, childhood trauma, unmanageable impaired interpersonal relationships, genetic factors are at increased risk of intermittent explosive disorder diagnosed.

Mental health professionals suggested that intermittent explosive disorder treatment can be done with the help of pilot randomized clinical trials, anti-anxiety medications, relaxation techniques, relaxation training, and cognitive restructuring. According to the diagnostic and statistical manual, many actions mainly manifest in patients’ anger with a specific disorder called intermittent explosive disorder.4

  • Tamper Tantrums

  • Verbal arguments, which sometimes may include shouting and threatening warnings

  • Physical fights and physically assaulting people or sometimes animals.

  • Damage to property and object

  • Domestic violence

  • Impulsive behaviors

The range of anger episodes can be mild or severe. The attack may include hurting someone badly enough so that they can even require medical attention, or injuries are so powerful that it even causes death. Right before the anger outburst, people with the intermittent explosive disorder experience

3. Causes Of Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Researchers are still working to find the exact reason behind the intermittent explosive disorder. But according to mental health professionals and the American psychiatric association, it must be due to genetic, biological, and environmental factors.

3.1. Genetic Factors

The intermittent explosive disorder is very common in the people who have this disorder in their families. Some studies suggested that around 44% to 72% have the chance to develop intermittent explosive disorder with a family history.

3.2. Biological Factors

The person with this disorder has some altered brain shape and structure. Various Brain magnetic resonance imaging suggested and proved that it affects the amygdala area; this part is generally the part of the brain normally involved in emotional function. In addition, some studies also tell that the person having an intermittent explosive disorder has a higher level of serotonin.

Serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter used by the brain to transfer brain signals from one location to another. The serotonin level in people with the intermittent explosive disorder is higher than that of normal people.

3.4. Environmental Factors

Certain childhood trauma and physical and verbal abuse appear to play a major role in the development of this disorder. Diagnostic criteria suggest that a person having one or more childhood traumatic events is the main reason behind the development of this disorder.

4. Diagnosis

It is very important to observe yourself or your child to identify whether you or you are suffering from this disorder or not. Suppose you think there is a certain possibility of you or your family member suffering from this disorder. In that case, consulting with your doctor and the healthcare professional is mandatory. They will further ask you to consult with a mental health professional.

A well-established and licensed mental health professional, including a psychologist, can diagnose intermittent explosive disorder with the help of the diagnostic criteria prepared by the American psychiatric association’s diagnostic statistical manual of mental disorders.

They can recognize intermittent explosive disorder by interviewing the person or by having a normal conversation with that person about their symptoms and signs. The question includes personal history, mental history, and information related to the family. They will also investigate you to know your school history and experiences, your relationship history with your family members and partner, and impulse control.

The medical health professionals will also talk to your family members, your co-worker your loved ones to understand your situation and condition in a better way. American psychiatric publishing department published certain parameters; if the individual falls under any parameter, they will be diagnosed with the intermittent explosive disorder. 

4.1. Low-Intensity And High-Frequency Episodes

The verbal arguments, and verbal aggression towards any person, object, or animal, occurring twice weekly for almost three months, comes under the high-frequency episode. On the other hand, increased energy due to anger outbursts for non-physical assault comes under the low-intensity high-frequency attack.

4.2. Low Frequency And High-Intensity Episode

Almost three anger episodes also involve physical damage, property damage, and physical assault, involving head injury or injury to animals. If it occurs within twelve months, then it comes under the category of low-frequency and high-intensity episodes.

5. Medication

There are specific medications that are used in the treatment of this disorder. There is a certain medication that the doctor prescribes for patients who are suffering from the intermittent explosive disorder. This medication helps increase the threshold level of the patient suffering from this particular disorder.

Fluoxetine- The function of this medicine is to inhibit serotonin reuptake. Serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter used to transfer the signal from one location to another. The other medicines include lithium, carbamazepine, phenytoin, and oxcarbazepine.

The other medications generally prescribed by healthcare professionals can be antipsychotics, mood regulators, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.

Final Note

IED (intermittent explosive disorder) is a sudden outburst of anger. What is IED disorder is discussed in detail in this article. We also discussed the major signs and symptoms of this disorder, how this disorder can be treated and what medications are used for IED.

IED is a disorder generally related to emotional imbalance, verbal abuse, verbal aggression, and physical harm to ourselves and the people near us. If such a person is around you or you are suffering from this disorder, then there is no need to worry; this can be treated if you take care of it and take the medication on time. This disorder is curable.

  1. Coccaro, Emil F. “The Overt Aggression Scale Modified (OAS-M) for clinical trials targeting impulsive aggression and intermittent explosive disorder: Validity, reliability, and correlates.” Journal of psychiatric research 124 (2020): 50-57. ↩︎
  2. First, Michael B. DSM-5-TR® Handbook of Differential Diagnosis. American Psychiatric Pub, 2024. ↩︎
  3. Hoffenaar, Peter, and Geertjan Overbeek. “Temper tantrums in toddlers and preschoolers: Longitudinal associations with adjustment problems.” Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 43.7 (2022): 409. ↩︎
  4. Coccaro, Emil F. “The Overt Aggression Scale Modified (OAS-M) for clinical trials targeting impulsive aggression and intermittent explosive disorder: Validity, reliability, and correlates.” Journal of psychiatric research 124 (2020): 50-57. ↩︎

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