Intermittent Explosive Disorder: Dealing With Your Loved With IED?

Are you wondering how to deal with anger issues at home? Dealing with anger issues can be stressful. But there is a lot to understand like the impulse control disorder symptoms, causes and the ways to deal with anger issues to help your loved one to come out of IED.  Intermittent explosive disorder (IED), also known as impulse control disorder, is a psychological condition that affects negatively mainly teenagers and young adults. It manifests itself in sudden violent outbursts. These outbursts can be of two kinds: verbal and physical.

Although some patients tend to display one of the two types of IED, there is no rule in this respect. A person with the intermittent explosive disorder who usually has verbal outbursts may become physically violent at a certain point.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder Causes

There are no clear explanations for why IED appears in some patients. What doctors do know is that its onset is generally after the age of 6. They identified several likely causes and risk factors for people who may develop IED. These are:

1. Genetics

although it is not fully proven as a theory, many patients have a history of IED in their family;

2. Environment

Children growing in an abusive and violent environment (both verbal and physical) are more likely to develop impulse control disorder;

3. Chemical and structural differences in the brain

The brain is a complex and delicate organ – any imbalances in the functions, chemistry, and physical structure can favor the onset of IED.

Together with these intermittent explosive disorder causes, specialists add risk factors for IED like:

  • history of physical abuse,
  • and mental illness

Here are some of the facts and statistics about IED you must know.

intermittent explosive disorder-alignthoughts

How Exactly Does Impulse Control Disorder Manifest Itself?

The first aspect that family members should know about IED is that there are no specific triggers for a violent episode. It is important to remember this.

Because many relatives and friends of IED patients feel guilty or wonder whether they are doing or saying anything that provokes the crisis.

As the name of the condition states, the intermittent explosive disorder causes the patient to react suddenly and unexpectedly in one of the following ways:

  • Verbal tirades
  • Temper tantrums
  • Shouting, verbal abuse, use of profanity
  • Slapping, shoving or pushing objects, people or animals
  • Physical fights
  • Damage to property
  • Threats or assaults on people or animals.

Although these episodes seem to come out of nowhere, many patients with impulse control disorder reported experiencing various symptoms right before a crisis.

Impulse Control Disorder Symptoms Include:

  • Unexplained rage
  • Tingling sensations
  • Tremors
  • Chest tightness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Uncontrollable racing thoughts.

Thus, it is essential to have an open mind and maintain excellent communication with loved ones suffering from IED. If they trust you, they will alert you that an episode may be coming once they feel one of the symptoms above.

In this case, you will be better prepared to deal with violent outbursts.

What Are the Consequences of Living with IED?

IED is not a life-threatening condition for the patient. However, it can put a significant dent in their social and family life. Families that have to deal with an IED patient usually have strained relations. People are tense, on edge, and continually looking out for the signs of an upcoming violent episode.

For the patient with the intermittent explosive disorder, this means:

  1. being less outgoing,
  2. becoming an introvert,
  3. being unable to build and maintain meaningful relationships.

This negative situation will also extend to work and business relations. And has the potential to prevent the patient from building a career, going for their dreams, and becoming successful in their line of work.

Thankfully, with proper medical care and the support of a loving family, IED patients can lead a healthy life, experience fewer violent episodes, and minimize the negative impact of their condition.

So, How to Deal With a Loved One With Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

If you have noticed any of these symptoms of IED in your partner or child, here’s how to deal with anger issues at home.

impulse control disorder-how to deal with anger issues at home

1. Encourage Them to Seek Treatment

Unfortunately, there is a continuous stigma associated with going to psychotherapy. Patients are afraid of being labeled as “crazy,” “loony,” “deranged,” and becoming isolated from their family and friends.

The first and the best thing you can do for a loved one with impulse control disorder is to encourage them to go to psychotherapy. And also make it clear that no one will think any less of them or love them less.

On the contrary, show your loved one how proud you are of them because they are making this significant step.

See more: Signs Your Teen Is In An Unhealthy Relationship

2. Use Empathy After Violent Episodes

As far as it is possible and safe for you, stay close to your loved one with IED during an episode and try to soothe them through empathy. Use their own words to emphasize that you understand what they are going through and are there for them.

3. Channel Their Negative Energy to a Positive Activity

Another interesting way to deal with anger issues at home is channeling the energy in the right direction. Practicing sports such as martial arts or long-distance running is an excellent way to dissipate negative energy and turn violent impulses into something good.

Many therapists recommend competitive and physical contact sports for their patients as a part of the treatment.

4. Make Sure They Take Their Medication

You can be of direct help to a loved one with IED by remembering their schedule for taking medication and making sure they do take it.

Patients with impulse control disorder may forget to keep a strict schedule. Especially during challenging days when they had a particularly exhausting outburst.

5. Be There for Them after Violent Outbursts

Many IED patients feel a deep sense of remorse, guilt, and shame after an episode, when they realize what they have done or said. Just after such violent outbursts, they need their family the most.

Therefore, their family and friends must show some reassurance that they are still loved and wanted.

Last But Not Least: Prepare a Plan for Your Safety

Notwithstanding all of the above, please make sure you and your family are safe. Some patients with intermittent explosive disorder can be physically violent and abusive. Sometimes, people with IED go to the extent of putting their loved ones’ lives in danger.

Always make sure you have an escape route out of the house, and you can count on a friend, neighbor, or relative to contact the authorities and/or offer you shelter in a time of need.

Also, keep a charged mobile phone with you at all times so you can alert the police or reach a shelter or crisis center.

Key Takeaways On Intermittent Explosive Disorder

  • Intermittent explosive disorder (IED), also known as impulse control disorder, is a psychological condition.
  • It manifests itself in sudden violent outbursts of two kinds: verbal and physical.
  • There are no clear explanations for why IED appears in some patients. But there are some impulse control disorder symptoms and signs that can help you be prepared.
  • Genetics and the environment can have a vital role.
  • There are no specific triggers for a violent episode as it causes the patient to react suddenly and unexpectedly.
  • Thus, it is essential to have an open mind and maintain excellent communication with loved ones suffering from IED.
  • IED is not a life-threatening condition for the patient.
  • Encourage the patients to go to psychotherapy.
  • Try to soothe them through empathy.
  • Channel their negative energy into positive energy.
  • Make sure they take their medicines regularly.
  • Show them some reassurance that they are still loved and wanted.
  • Also, please make sure you and your family are safe.
  • With proper medical care and the support of a loving family, IED patients can lead a healthy life, experience fewer violent episodes, and minimize the negative and unhealthy impact of their condition.

Your thoughts

What else do you think family members can do to protect and stay safe from loved ones with IED? Do you know any more intermittent explosive disorder causes and symptoms?

How do you deal with anger issues at home? Feel free to share your thoughts about IED in the comments below.

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SEO and Content writer, translator, dreamer. These are some of the words which describe Silvia. She believes in the power of words - both for good and for evil. She also believes that we can all choose to use words in a positive manner, to share information, ideas, feelings, and truth. There is nothing more rewarding than to be the instrument through which knowledge is shared among other people. From this point of view, she considers herself in a privileged position of trust, which she strives never to betray.