Basics
July 15, 2020

Jem Fundano

Intermittent Explosive Disorder in Kids and Adults

When you have kids, tantrums and aggressive behavior may come in different forms. Other kids sulk in a corner, some throw their toys or bottles, other children go around punching other kids around them, and the list goes on. For adults, aggression or the act to behave violently is usually restrained.

For Intermittent Explosive Disorder in kids and adults, it's normal for parents or loved ones to overlook it. Overlooking IED in kids and adults hamper their personal growth.

As a parent or relative, how can you spot if your kin has Intermittent Explosive Disorder? Here are topics you need to be aware of:

Definition of Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Intermittent Explosive Disorder in kids or adults shows repetitive, uncontrolled, aggressive, or violent behavior. Aggressive or violent behavior may come in different forms: verbal, emotional, or physical responses are examples.

IED in kids show IED symptoms that revolve around aggression, the consistency of the behavior, and how your child is affected by the said symptoms.

One of the IED symptoms is aggressive behavior. Since IED in kids and adults is a chronic disorder, this symptom is initially impulsively intrusive. Over time, as kids with IED grow, the severity of outbursts decreases with age.

IED Symptoms

There is a reason why Intermittent Explosive Disorder in kids and adults is named as such. One of the critical IED symptoms is failing to control aggressive impulses. This means that the IED in kids shows a sign of 'explosive aggression.' Explosive aggression usually lasts for less than 30 minutes and responds to a minor prodding by someone.

Explosive aggression or aggressive episodes have some severity and may be in different forms. Symptoms of Intermittent Explosive Disorder in kids may look like the following examples:

  • Temper tantrums
  • Tirades or speech of criticism or accusation
  • Verbal heated arguments
  • Shouting
  • Physical fights
  • Slapping, shoving or pushing
  • Threatening or assaulting people or animals
  • Damage to own property or other people's property

All of the IED symptoms in kids, especially explosive aggression, maybe accompanied by or seen after physical cues like the following:

  • Rage
  • Irritation
  • Increased energy
  • Tingling sensations
  • Racing thoughts
  • Chest tightening
  • Heart palpitations
  • Body tremors

Although IED in kids and adults show violent behavior, individuals with IED usually have more non-violent or less severe episodes than destructive or assaultive ones.

In observing if one has IED, it's essential to note if your relative's behavior is affecting their growth in their mental, social, or occupational life. Intermittent Explosive Disorder in kids or adults has behavioral symptoms, which most likely affects their functioning.

All the IED symptoms are constant or are replacing one another in 12 months. For IED in kids, only mental health professionals are qualified to diagnose, and the kid must be older than seven years old.

Causes of Intermittent Explosive Disorder in Kids and Adults

As IED in the DSM V states that IED symptoms can begin during childhood, it's important to note that there are different causes of IED. IED is more common in younger adults than older adults because of certain factors. Here are the three causes of IED in kids and adults:

  1. Genetics- IED in kids and adults can be passed down from parents to children. Although genetics plays a specific role in IED, this doesn't necessarily mean that you already have IED if your parents have IED.
  2. Like all mental disorders, having a family history of mental disorder can increase the risk of you developing such mental disorders.
  3. Brain Chemistry- Aside from genetics as a scientific contributing factor to IED in kids or adults, brain chemistry is one too.
  4. If diagnosed with Intermittent Explosive Disorder, your functioning and brain chemistry is different from those who don't have a disorder.
  5. Three influential factors to tweak one's brain chemistry are nutrition or diet, exercise, and sleep.
  6. Environment- Most people with IED were brought up in families where aggressive behavior or violent acts are typical.
  7. Exposure to abusive or aggressive behavior at an early age can be learned and copied.

If you notice IED symptoms in your relative, you must encourage them to seek help.

Mental health professionals are available to help them distinguish what they are struggling with.

Having Intermittent Explosive Disorder may be frustrating because control feels impossible. But, engaging in treatment with a professional is a step to recovery.

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