Epidemiologic studies of adults show that intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is a highly prevalent and seriously impairing disorder.
- Retrospective reports in these studies suggest that IED typically begins in childhood
- Unfortunately, far too little is known about intermittent explosive disorder–the risk factors, protective factors, how to treat it.
- McLaughlin et. al. (2012) provided us with more information about the importance of this serious mental health condition:
Using the data from US adolescents in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement, 6483 adolescents ages 13-17 years were interviewed and their parents completed questionnaires.
a United States survey of adolescent (ages, 13-17 years) DSM-IV anxiety, mood, behavior, and substance disorders.
Findings revealed that:
- Nearly two-thirds of adolescents (63.3%) reported lifetime anger attacks that involved destroying property, threatening violence, or engaging in violence.
- 7.8% met DSM-IV/CIDI criteria for lifetime IED.
- Intermittent explosive disorder had an early age at onset (mean age, 12.0 years) and was highly persistent, as indicated by 80.1% of lifetime cases (6.2% of all respondents) meeting 12-month criteria for IED.
- Injuries related to IED requiring medical attention reportedly occurred 52.5 times per 100 lifetime cases.
- In addition, IED was significantly comorbid with a wide range of DSM-IV/CIDI mood, anxiety, and substance disorders, with 63.9% of lifetime cases meeting criteria for another such disorder.
These findings have important ramifications for treatment:
- 37.8% of adolescents with 12-month IED received treatment for emotional problems in the year before the interview
- only 6.5% of respondents with 12-month IED were treated specifically for anger.
- Thus, Intermittent explosive disorder is UNDERTREATED, and we know far too little about it.
The Authors of the study concluded
Intermittent explosive disorder is a highly prevalent, persistent, and seriously impairing adolescent mental disorder that is both understudied and undertreated. Research is needed to uncover risk and protective factors for the disorder, develop strategies for screening and early detection, and identify effective treatments
Intermittent Explosive Disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement
Katie A. McLaughlin, PhD; Jennifer Greif Green, PhD; Irving Hwang, MA; Nancy A. Sampson, BA; Alan M. Zaslavsky, PhD; Ronald C. Kessler, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012;():1-9. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2012.59