Intermittent Explosive Disorder (Causes)

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The cause of intermittent explosive disorder appears to be a combination of biological and environmental factors. Lives have been torn apart by this disorder, but medications can help control the aggressive impulses.

Most people with this disorder grew up in families where explosive behavior and verbal and physical abuse were common. Being exposed to this type of violence at an early age makes it more likely for these children to exhibit these same traits as they mature.
There may also be a genetic component, causing this disorder to be passed down from parents to children.

The majority of cases occur when the individual is between late adolescence and late twenties. There is some evidence that the neurotransmitter serotonin may play a role in this disorder.

Although the prevalence of intermittent explosive disorder is unknown yet considered rare, the disorder is probably more common than realized and may be an important cause of violent behavior. Intermittent explosive disorder is more common in men.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Last reviewed 11/21/2009

Sources:

  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • DSM-IV™ Made Easy: The Clinician's Guide to Diagnosis
  • Kessler RC, Coccaro EF, Fava M, Jaeger S, Jin R, Walters E. The prevalence and correlates of DSM-IV intermittent explosive disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2006 Jun; 63(6):669-78
  • NIMH (2006).
  • Olvera R. L. (2002). Intermittent explosive disorder: epidemiology, diagnosis and management. CNS Drugs. 16(8):517-26.