Explosive eruptions occur suddenly, with little or no warning, and usually last less than 30 minutes. These episodes may occur frequently or be separated by weeks or months of nonaggression. Less severe verbal outbursts may occur in between episodes of physical aggression. You may be irritable, impulsive, aggressive or chronically angry most of the time.

Aggressive episodes may be preceded or accompanied by:

  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Increased energy
  • Racing thoughts
  • Tingling
  • Tremors
  • Palpitations
  • Chest tightness

The explosive verbal and behavioral outbursts are out of proportion to the situation, with no thought to consequences, and can include:

  • Temper tantrums
  • Tirades
  • Heated arguments
  • Shouting
  • Slapping, shoving or pushing
  • Physical fights
  • Property damage
  • Threatening or assaulting people or animals

You may feel a sense of relief and tiredness after the episode. Later, you may feel remorse, regret or embarrassment.

When to see a doctor

If you recognize your own behavior in the description of intermittent explosive disorder, talk with your doctor about treatment options or ask for a referral to a mental health provider.

Aug. 25, 2015