Understanding Intermittent Explosive Disorder Symptoms

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) is a behavioral disorder characterized by repeated and sudden episodes of aggressive behavior marked by extreme anger, verbal abuse, physical assault, and property destruction.

Cause of Intermittent Explosive Disorder

The causes of IED are still unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of environmental, genetic, and psychological factors. Some people with IED have a family history of this disorder or other mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, or substance abuse.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder Symptoms

The symptoms of IED may vary from person to person, but some of the most common IED symptoms include:

1. Verbal Aggression

People with IED may have outbursts of verbal aggression in which they shout, insult, and threaten others. They may say hurtful things or use foul language, without considering the consequences of their speech.

2. Physical Aggressiveness

Physical aggression is a common symptom of IED, which might result in causing harm to other people or damaging property. It can occur suddenly with no apparent cause or can be triggered by minor incidents or situations.

3. Road Rage

People with IED may have frequent and severe outbursts of road rage. They might become agitated, shout, or even physically assault other drivers while driving.

4. Temper Outbursts

Temper outbursts are an uncontrolled expression of anger which may result in breaking things, throwing things, or punching walls.

5. Impulsive Behavior

IED may cause people to indulge in impulsive behaviors like gambling or excessive shopping without considering the consequences of their actions.

Treatment of Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Treating IED typically involves a combination of therapy, medication, and management of acute symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common therapy for IED, which teaches people to identify and manage their emotions and change their behavior in response to anger triggers.

Psychopharmacology is another treatment option for IED, and it includes the use of medication such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic drugs to manage mood symptoms and control angry outbursts.

People with IED may also benefit from a support system, including family and friends, and support groups, which provide a safe and non-judgmental environment for them to express their emotions openly and learn coping mechanisms.


Intermittent Explosive Disorder is a potentially dangerous condition that can negatively impact the lives of people affected by it, as well as those around them. If you or anyone you know experiences any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is crucial to seek treatment from a mental health professional. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can facilitate the management of symptoms and help people to lead fulfilling lives.


Frequently Asked Questions about Intermittent Explosive Disorder Symptoms

What are the common symptoms of Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

Symptoms of Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) include sudden, intense anger outbursts, verbal or physical aggression, and damaging property or harming others. These outbursts may be unpredictable, and the person may feel guilty or remorseful afterward, but they may not necessarily apologize or take responsibility for their actions.

What causes Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

The exact cause of IED is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and biological factors. Stressful life events or unresolved conflict may trigger outbursts of violence in people with IED.

Can Intermittent Explosive Disorder be treated?

Yes, there are treatments available for IED, including therapy, medication, and stress management techniques. Therapy can help individuals with IED learn coping strategies and communication skills to manage their anger and reduce the frequency and intensity of their outbursts. In some cases, medication may also be prescribed to help control impulsivity and aggression.


1. Coccaro, E. F., Fanning, J. R., Lee, R., & Trestman, R. L. (2018). A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of fluoxetine in patients with intermittent explosive disorder. Journal of clinical psychiatry, 79(5), 16m11327.

2. Kessler, R. C., Coccaro, E. F., Fava, M., Jaeger, S., Jin, R., Walters, E. E., & the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R) (2006). The prevalence and correlates of DSM-IV intermittent explosive disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63(6), 669-678.

3. Meyer-Lindenberg, A., Buckholtz, J. W., Kolachana, B., Hariri, A. R., Pezawas, L., Blasi, G., … & Eaves, E. (2006). Neural mechanisms of aggression in humans. Molecular psychiatry, 12(2), 226-237.