Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
This is sometimes referred to as Intermittent Explosive Disorder also. It falls into the Impulse-Control Disorders category. The most common characteristic of this disorder is the inability to control aggressive or violent impulses. Once they act out the aggression they are feeling, the person may have a strong sense of relief because the episode happened but will regret what they have done during the episode. The impulses the person feels will result in very serious assaults and/or property destruction. One example of what someone may do before and during an episode is the threat of or actually physically harming someone and breaking things of value to “hurt” their victim. Some people suffering from IED will express violent behaviors ranging from physical assault all the way to homicide or violent suicide. A diagnosis is made when several episodes occur in a determined amount of time. Several resources I read while researching this also stressed these episodes happen WITHOUT being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Some symptoms the person may feel leading up to an episode is an intense feeling of wanting to hurt something sometimes with no legitimate reason for being upset, intense irritability or rage, an increase in energy, and their thoughts racing. One report I read stated “Some individuals may also report that their aggressive episodes are often preceded or accompanied by symptoms such as tingling, tremors, palpitations, chest tightness, head pressure, or hearing an echo.”
This disorder is still being studied and there is no pinpoint of what causes this to happen. Some known facts are: it is more common with men, majority of people diagnosed with this disorder have occurrences of episodes from late adolescence to late twenties, and it is considered rare but more and more diagnoses are being made. Women who experience episodes most often report them during PMS.
The best treatment for this disorder is a combination of medication accompanied by behavior modification techniques. A person suffering from IED will go through tests for other personality disorders such as bipolar, ADHD, and antisocial disorder. Currently there is no known way to prevent IED.
I do not intend for this article to be a way to dismiss or make an excuse for domestic violence occurrences in your home or the home of someone you know who is being abused. During the calming part of an episode, you may suggest to your abuser that this could be a probable cause of their violent behavior. This could open dialogue for the two of you to seek professional help.