Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (312.34) | Abnormal Psychology

Intermittent explosive disorder, also known as IED, is characterized by the failure to resist aggressive impulses, which result in serious assaults or property destruction (American Psychological Association, 2000). The degree of aggression displayed during these outbursts is grossly out of proportion with the events that provoke them. (Bayer, 2000). The short-lived episodes of aggression provide a way for the person with IED to vent his or her anger and frustration (Bayer, 2000). These verbal or physical outbursts are much more intense than normal anger, and the individual with IED is unable to control them (Bayer, 2000). The aggression the individual feels is often ego-dystonic, so they may feel regret or guilt after committing the aggressive act (Bayer, 2000; Blankenship, 2008). IED is not the same as aggression that is purposeful and premeditated, and it does not arise out of personal motives, such as revenge, social dominance, or monetary gain (Blankenship, 2008).

History of IED:

  • The name of this disorder has changed over time and so has the diagnostic criteria listed in the DSM. In the DSM-I, IED was called passive aggressive personality, aggressive type; in the DSM-II, it was renamed explosive personality disorder.
  • The term intermittent explosive disorder was first used in the DSM-III, and the diagnostic criteria excluded individuals with antisocial personality disorder and generalized aggression or impulsivity (Blankenship, 2008).
  • In the DSM-III-R, individuals with borderline personality disorder were also excluded (Blankenship, 2008).
  • The current diagnostic criteria for IED no longer excludes generalized aggression or impulsivity (Blankenship, 2008).
  • For an individual to be diagnosed with IED, the outbursts cannot be triggered by other disorders or medication. However, people with IED very likely to abuse drugs (Bayer, 2000).


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