The essential feature of Intermittent Explosive Disorder is the occurrence of discrete episodes of failure to resist aggressive impulses that result in serious assaultive acts or destruction of property (Criterion A). The degree of aggressiveness expressed during an episode is grossly out of proportion to any provocation or precipitating psychosocial stressor (Criterion B).

A diagnosis of Intermittent Explosive Disorder is made only after other mental disorders that might account for episodes of aggressive behavior have been ruled out (e.g., Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, a Psychotic Disorder, a Manic Episode, Conduct Disorder, or Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder) (Criterion C). The aggressive episodes are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., head trauma, Alzheimer’s disease) (Criterion C).

The individual may describe the aggressive episodes as “spells” or “attacks” in which the explosive behavior is preceded by a sense of tension or arousal and is followed immediately by a sense of relief. Later the individual may feel upset, remorseful, regretful, or embarrassed about the aggressive behavior.

Specific Symptoms of Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Several discrete episodes of failure to resist aggressive impulses that result in serious assaultive acts or destruction of property.

The degree of aggressiveness expressed during the episodes is grossly out of proportion to any precipitating psychosocial stressors.

The aggressive episodes are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, a Psychotic Disorder, a Manic Episode, Conduct Disorder, or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., head trauma, Alzheimer’s disease).

Aggressive behavior can occur in the context of many other mental disorders. A diagnosis of Intermittent Explosive Disorder should be considered only after all other disorders that are associated with aggressive impulses or behavior have been ruled out.

 

 

APA Reference
Psych Central. (2013). Intermittent Explosive Disorder Symptoms. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/intermittent-explosive-disorder-symptoms/

Symptom criteria summarized from:
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fifth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
        or
American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Scientifically Reviewed
    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 May 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.