The Phenomenology and Epidemiology of Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Ronald C. Kessler, Emil F. Coccaro, Maurizio Fava and Katie A. McLaughlin

in The Oxford Handbook of Impulse Control Disorders

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195389715
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The Phenomenology and Epidemiology of Intermittent Explosive Disorder


Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is characterized by recurrent episodes of impulsive, uncontrollable aggression out of proportion to the severity of provoking agents. Few epidemiological studies have been carried out on the prevalence and correlates of IED. Data are reported here from the most recent and largest of these studies: the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R) and the World Health Organization World Mental Health (WMH) surveys. These studies show that IED is a commonly occurring disorder that typically has an early age of onset, a persistent course, and strong comorbidity with a number of other usually secondary mental disorders. This disorder is almost twice as common among men as women. It is often associated with substantial distress and impairment. However, only a minority of people with IED obtain treatment for their uncontrollable anger. This combination of features makes IED an ideal target for early detection and intervention aimed at secondary prevention of anger attacks as well as primary prevention of secondary disorders.

Keywords: intermittent explosive disorder; impulse control disorders; aggression; anger; epidemiology; comorbidity

Article.  10214 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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