Anger disorder, more properly known as Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) is a psychological condition characterized by sporadic episodes of aggression, violence, and destructive behavior. People who suffer from this disorder are unable to control themselves, exploding with rage in a way which is often out of proportion to the event which triggered the anger. Like many psychological disorders, IED can be treated with help from a psychological professional, but first it needs to be identified as a problem and diagnosed.
Three key things distinguish IED from other types of mood disorders which involve anger, such as bipolar disorder. The first is the presence of major property damage or serious harm as a result of one or more explosive episodes. The second is the characteristic of responses which are out of proportion, and the third is a lack of another explanation for the behavior, such as the use of mood-altering medication or an existing mood disorder. People may also experience feelings of fatigue, confusion, or distress after their explosive episodes, often compounded by guilt over their actions.
People with IED could be said to be simply short-tempered, but the disorder goes beyond this point. Most people with irritability and short tempers do have some control over their actions, and explosions of rage which result in serious damage or harm are unusual, thanks to self-control. Someone with anger disorder is actually unstable, lacking the ability to make choices which could prevent explosive occurrences. A short tempered person might snap at an irritating coworker, for example, in an understandable if inappropriate emotional display, while someone with IED might break a keyboard after making a typographical error.
Often, this condition is tied in with mood disorders and antisocial personality disorders. It can be treated with the use of therapy to discuss the root causes of the anger and to address these causes, often with psychotherapeutic sessions which include discussions about how to interpret information and control anger. Medications may also be used to address chemical imbalances in the brain which could contribute to the anger disorder.
Treating anger disorder is very important, because people with IED could potentially harm themselves or others in a fit of rage. They can also be frightening to live or work with, making psychological treatment beneficial to those who interact with the patient. Many treatments are highly effective, although sometimes it takes a few sessions with different therapists to find a good treatment approach, and therapy for IED also usually benefits the psychological health of the patient by addressing underlying issues.