When individuals act out in recurrent, impulsive, aggressive manners in response to stimuli that would not normally elicit such a reaction, they may be suffering from intermittent explosive disorder. Also known as IED, this mental health disorder can cause countless disturbances in the lives of individuals who suffer from it. The outbursts that are characteristic of IED can be physical or verbal in nature, and, when they are physical, may or may not result in physical harm or damage. The cornerstone feature of this disorder, however, is the fact that these outbursts are not premeditated and typically last for under 30 minutes. Additionally, individuals who have IED often report experiencing feelings of guilt, shame, and/or remorse after the outburst has ended. Despite such feelings, these individuals feel powerless to control another outburst from occurring. Engaging in such outbursts can, understandably, have many negative ramifications, ultimately affecting every aspect of a person’s life.
At Southcoast Behavioral Health, we recognize how devastating suffering from intermittent explosive disorder can be, and we understand the impact that this disorder can have on the lives of our patients and their families. For this reason, we are pleased to offer inpatient programming that is designed to help individuals with IED learn the skills needed to manage their symptoms so that they are no longer prevented from living the full, happy, and productive lives that they deserve to be living.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Having a family member or loved one who is battling intermittent explosive disorder can cause an immense amount of emotional turmoil. You may feel frustrated with your loved one’s inability to control his or her behaviors and, at times, you may even feel fearful of the outbursts that he or she displays. You likely know that your loved one needs help to overcome his or her devastating behaviors, but you may be unsure as to what role you can play in helping the process begin. It is important to know that there are, in fact, things that you can do. Consider the following:
- Educate yourself on intermittent explosive disorder, including its signs, symptoms, and effects, so that you can gain an understanding of what your loved one is experiencing.
- Try to refrain from being judgmental of your loved one’s behaviors. Remember that he or she is suffering from a mental disorder and that many of his or her behaviors are out of his or her control.
- Devise a plan of action with your loved one regarding ways that you can best respond when he or she is behaving in an aggressive way. Remember that, when a person is suffering from IED, these outbursts are not premeditated, so having a plan in place can help everyone involved know how to respond in a proactive and healthy manner.
- Research treatment options that are designed to help individuals who are battling IED.
- Sit down with your loved one and express your concerns. Anticipate that he or she will likely become defensive, and may even become angry, but respond in a patient and kind manner. Be specific regarding what concerns you have and explain how treatment can be of benefit.
- With your loved one, review the treatment options that you have researched. Offer to be an active part of the therapeutic process, demonstrating a willingness to support and encourage him or her in any way that you can.
Why Consider Treatment at Southcoast Behavioral Health
When individuals are suffering from intermittent explosive disorder, there can be any number of adverse consequences that arise in their lives. Socially, people with IED frequently suffer losses due to their negative acting out behaviors. They may lose friends, family members may begin to distance themselves, and marriages or other romantic relationships may become highly disturbed. Occupationally, those with IED may be at risk for experiencing a demotion or losing their jobs as a result of their behaviors. Financially, individuals with IED may experience distress if their acting out behaviors have caused damage to property or objects. Additionally, if the symptoms of IED have caused them to lose their jobs, they will likely experience significant financial strife due to being unemployed. Furthermore, if these individuals have to obtain legal counsel in order to take care of civil suits or criminal charges brought against them as a result of engaging in aggressive behavior, further financial strain can arise. While these ramifications can be detrimental to an individual’s wellbeing, by receiving comprehensive treatment that is designed to help individuals learn to manage their impulses and overcome their symptoms, these negative consequences can be successfully prevented.