Intermittent obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms and treatment

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Intermittent explosive disorder is a disorder in which bouts of uncontrollable anger and sudden aggression occur in response to an irritant and may be accompanied by verbal and physical aggression lasting less than 30 minutes, which can harm the person or others around them.

Prior to anger attacks, symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and altered consciousness may occur and are often followed by remorse, guilt, and even shame. This disorder often accompanies other disorders such as substance abuse, depression, OCD, and social phobia.

Treatment for intermittent explosive disorder includes taking medications such as fluoxetine or sertraline, as well as sessions of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy for impulse control and anger issues.

Intermittent explosive disorder: symptoms and treatment

The main symptoms are

It is common to experience anger in a stressful situation, such as a car accident or an overly stressful job; this feeling is normal as long as there is awareness and control over it, without sudden shifts to rage, anger or aggressive behavior that can jeopardize one's own well-being and the safety of others.

However, when anger is disproportionate to the situation that provoked it, it can be a sign of a periodic explosive disorder, which is characterized:

  • Lack of control over aggressive impulse;
  • Breaking one's own or someone else's things;
  • Sweating, tingling sensation, and muscle tremors;
  • Increased heart rate;
  • Verbal threats or physical aggression toward another person without any reason to justify such an attitude;
  • Feelings of guilt and shame after an assault.

This syndrome is diagnosed by a psychiatrist based on personal history and accounts of friends and relatives, as this disorder is only confirmed when aggressive behavior is repeated over several months, suggesting that it is a chronic condition.

Other behavioral disorders such as antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder must also be ruled out. Learn how borderline personality disorder is characterized by.

Causes of temper tantrums

The cause of periodic explosive disorder is not exactly known, but it is thought that factors such as family members with a history of impulsive aggressive behavior, altered neurotransmitters, and abnormalities in the brain area responsible for impulse control may be associated with this disorder.

In addition, people with this disorder often have a history of physical abuse, childhood sexual abuse, and exposure to traumatic situations such as serious accidents or disasters.

How the treatment is conducted

If anger attacks are frequent and out of control, it is recommended to see a psychologist who will provide several sessions of individual and/or group psychotherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy may also be applied to learn not only how to manage anger, but also how to identify situations that may provoke an aggressive response.

During therapy, the help of close family members is crucial in learning how to cope and control these episodes of aggressive behavior.

In addition to psychotherapy, this syndrome may require antidepressants and anticonvulsants such as fluoxetine, citalopram, sertraline, carbamazepine and valproate to help control emotions, thereby reducing aggression.

Possible consequences

Consequences of intermittent explosive disorder resulting from reckless actions during anger attacks, such as job loss, suspension or expulsion from school, divorce, problems with alcohol or other substances, difficulties in relationships with others, car accidents, and hospitalization due to injuries sustained during the aggression.

Aggression occurs even when intoxicated, but is usually stronger under the influence of alcohol, even in small amounts.

Anger attacks can also lead to coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and can even cause suicide.