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Intermittent Explosive Disorder

"A spouse should never let oppressive and violent behavior, or the possible shame of exposing such, stand in the way of ensuring the safety of themselves and their family."

A husband or wife should be acutely aware of any behavioral pattern of their spouse's that might be indicative of a mental disorder. Outrageously aggressive or violent outbursts could represent a mental illness called "intermittent explosive disorder." A spouse should never let oppressive and violent behavior, or the possible shame of exposing such, stand in the way of ensuring the safety of themselves and their family.

Many previously unexplained behavioral patterns or illnesses are now the subject of intense medical analysis and, potentially, treatment. Explosive temper tantrums are one such behavioral trait. The Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com) describes it as such, "Road rage. Domestic abuse. Angry outbursts or temper tantrums that involve throwing or breaking objects. Sometimes such erratic eruptions can be caused by a condition known as intermittent explosive disorder (IED)." While previous generations including your parents,' might have either glossed over or even cowered under such abusive outbursts, a spouse experiencing a similar occurrence today should seek immediate and professional counsel.

Symptoms of this particular illness are bold-faced and obvious. The Mayo Clinic describes the symptoms as "explosive eruptions, usually lasting 10 to 20 minutes, often result[ing] in injuries and the deliberate destruction of property. These episodes may occur in clusters or be separated by weeks or months of nonaggression." In addition to the destruction of property, the stricken individual might exhibit physical signs of stress, such as "tingling, tremors, palpitations, chest tightness, head pressure" and the like.

And while such behavioral patterns should be reckoned with the utmost seriousness, they need not be permanently debilitating. The medical profession has made striking progress in the treatments of such disorders. A divorced spouse should demand medical attention for their former abusive husband or wife who might still have access to, or even partial custody of, their children. Otherwise, a modification of custody terms may be in order. The Clinic's website describes multiple treatments for IED such as, "anti-convulsants, anti-anxiety agents, mood regulators, antidepressants" as well as extolling on the potential benefits of counseling sessions.

Spouses should recognize any "abnormal" behavior in their husband or wife that is abusive, or otherwise endangers themselves and their family. Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is one such behavioral pattern, and frighteningly so. If you encounter such behavior, seek immediate professional counsel from both your medical attendants and attorney.

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William A. Feinberg 1928 - 2001

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