Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Traffic may drive you crazy or you may find yourself cursing your boss under your breath on a weekly basis. However Intermittent explosive disorder involves repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts in which you react grossly out of proportion to the situation.

“Domestic abuse, throwing or breaking objects, screaming, or other temper tantrums may be signs of intermittent explosive disorder.” Says Athy from Eden Recovery Centre.

These intermittent, explosive outbursts cause you significant distress, negatively impact your relationships, work and school, and they can have legal and financial consequences.

Intermittent explosive disorder is a chronic disorder that can continue for years, although the severity of outbursts may decrease with age. Treatment involves medications and psychotherapy to help you control your aggressive impulses.

What are the symptoms of Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (EXD) is characterized by recurrent, impulsive aggressive behaviour that is distinguished from both premeditated aggression as well as defensive aggression provoked by an immediate threat. Aggressive episodes may be preceded or accompanied by:

  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Increased energy
  • Racing thoughts
  • Tingling
  • Tremors
  • Palpitations
  • Chest tightness

What causes Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

Patients with intermittent explosive disorder generally have a lifetime history of other psychiatric disorders; the most common are unipolar major depressive disorder, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, social phobia, specific phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Comorbid bipolar disorder may occur as well.

Intermittent explosive disorder may be associated with general medical disorders, including hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, arthritis, peptic ulcers, headaches, and chronic pain. The evaluation for intermittent explosive disorder includes a psychiatric and general medical history, mental status and physical examination, and focused laboratory tests.

Treatment and drugs:

There’s no one treatment that’s best for everyone with intermittent explosive disorder. Treatment generally includes talk therapy (psychotherapy) and medication.


Individual or group therapy sessions can be helpful. A commonly used type of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, helps people with intermittent explosive disorder:

  • Identify which situations or behaviors may trigger an aggressive response
  • Learn how to manage anger and control inappropriate responses using techniques such as relaxation training, thinking differently about situations (cognitive restructuring) and learning coping skills


Different types of drugs may help in the treatment of intermittent explosive disorder. These medications may include certain antidepressants (specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs), anticonvulsant mood stabilizers or other drugs if needed.

For more information on Intermittent Explosive Disorder, or further treatment plans, please feel free to contact Eden Recovery Centre. Or follow us on Facebook / Edenrehabcentre. You can depend on Full discretion.