Intermittent Explosive Disorder - the name sounds too highbrow, and perhaps that is the reason most people do not know about it much. But, we know it for sure, albeit in different terms. Sudden fits of anger, violent outbursts ... these are some of the terms that we can associate with this condition.
People who suffer from this are quite normal mostly, but there are unpredictable times when they might have a great display of anger. They might do things they normally would not even think of doing - they might break things they can lay their hands on, they might set fire to things, they might hurt someone else, or they might even try to injure themselves.
This difference itself indicates that there is some kind of underlying aberration in the people who react much more in proportion to the cause. This is what is medically termed as Intermittent Explosive Disorder.
The most alarming part of IED is the fact that it might exist within a person without him or her even knowing about it. As long as there is no provocation, these people are in their pink of health; but there is no saying what they might do when provocation comes their way.
In fact, people who suffer from IED themselves would not know that they have the condition. A whole case study of the person's life, behavioral tendencies, and even corroborations from family and friends could help understand whether a person has IED or not.
Remember that IED is not something that can be quantified - there's no measurement to it. Even in the same person, there might be ebbs and surges of the way they react to things.
Ingrained in Childhood?
A great amount of emphasis is being laid on the manner of upbringing as a potential cause for IED. Research done into this indicates that children who are brought up in families where the parents are always squabbling about things and having angry spats will also grow up to demonstrate their anger violently.
Families that suffer in poverty have children that grow up with IED, which could be an indication of the frustration born out of children's habit to compare themselves with other kids. But then, this cannot be taken as the universal truth at all.
There are kids from violent families that grow up to be fine gentlemen and ladies without any shred of IED in them, and there are kids from peaceful families who might get as angry as a bull teased by the matador at the smallest of things.
Though the point of childhood ingraining is much existent, there could be several other reasons too. Some people have a genetic propensity to get wild. This explains the excessive anger in some kids when both parents are quite genial. They might have picked up the trait from a violent uncle or aunt or some other relative.
As these people grow up, they might enter into happier situations and overcome their tendency to be unnecessarily violent, or their conditions might keep on piling up inside like lava in a dormant volcano.
How to Identify the Presence?
You can never say for sure whether you have IED or not. But, if you remember your recent angry episode and if the answers to most of the following questions is 'yes', then most probably you have this condition:-
1. Did you feel as though someone within you was forcing you to reply, to cause injury or damage to someone or something? (Some people actually hear voices within themselves which make them want to fight back. These are actually their own emotions, which are so strong that they materialize as voices. You can take this as a form of schizophrenia.)
2. Were you overcome by a wave of anger? A literal wave - you might have felt it as something boiling within you, and you wanted to hit out or yell in order to silence this wave? (This is the response of the autonomous nervous system to the high stimulus it is receiving. People without IED can control this and this 'wave' might not occur in them at all.)
3. Were you very normal and at ease just minutes before this extreme rage took over you? (This is an important aspect of IED. The angry episode comes on quite suddenly.)
4. Is the person in front of you during your angry encounter scared of you? (People with IED do not realize the terror they might bring in people who are with them during their outburst.)
5. After the angry episode, did you feel regret or remorse at your own expression of things? (In all IED patients, the remorse is a very important thing. They act so wildly in proportion to the occurrences, that they certainly feel sorry for what they have done.)
There are many such symptoms that might help you understand if this condition is within you. Therapies like Yoga, exercising in the peaceful mornings, reading light books with moral values, attending places of worship are solutions you can use.
The best solution is of course to lead a more fruitful life, be cheerful always and build up love for the people around you. When you love the people with you, you will be better able to control these destructive surges of emotion.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.