IED: What Is It? Do You Have It?

IED: What Is It? Do You Have It?

When you hear the acronym IED most people may think of an improvised explosive device.  For more than 16 million people in the United States IED means intermittent explosive disorder.  This is a chronic disorder that leads to repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, or violent behavior.  It can cause angry verbal outbursts or overexaggerated reactions to situations. IED was once deemed to be very rare, but any more it is becoming one of the most common anger disorders.

Intermittent explosive disorder can lead to road rage, domestic abuse, and property destruction.  It can lead negatively to relationships, work, school, substance abuse, and self harm. Sometimes if things get too out of hand it can lead to legal and financial consequences.  Outbursts usually happen suddenly. You may never know what will trigger an episode. Outbursts usually only last less than thirty minutes. Before an outburst you can feel irritable, aggressive, or chronically angry.  Though the condition is chronic episodes can be separated by weeks or months.  


Risk Factors


Anyone can develop IED.  It can occur in children after the age of six.  Though it is most common in young adults. The cause of IED is unknown.  There are some things that can be linked to causing the development of IED.  One being your environment. If you are living around someone with explosive behavior it can cause you to develop the same behavior.  Another thing that can lead to intermittent explosive disorder can be genetics. There are now studies looking at the brain of someone with IED and comparing it to someone who doesn’t have the disorder.  There may be differences in structure, function, and chemistry of a person’s brain with IED than someone without it.  

Children who have been abused have a higher risk of developing IED.  Also people with antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or ADHD have an increased risk as well.  




Symptoms that can occur during an outburst can include temper tantrums, tirades,