There's no one treatment that's best for everyone with intermittent explosive disorder. Treatment generally includes psychotherapy and medication.
Individual or group therapy sessions can be helpful. A commonly used type of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, helps people with intermittent explosive disorder identify which situations or behaviors may trigger an aggressive response. And, more importantly, this type of therapy teaches people how to manage anger and control inappropriate responses using techniques such as relaxation training, thinking differently about situations (cognitive restructuring) and learning coping skills.
Different types of drugs may help in the treatment of intermittent explosive disorder. These medications include:
Sept. 18, 2012
- Antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and others
- Anticonvulsants, such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), phenytoin (Dilantin), topiramate (Topamax) and lamotrigine (Lamictal)
- Anti-anxiety agents in the benzodiazepine family, such as lorazepam (Ativan) and clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Mood stabilizers, such as lithium (Lithobid)
- Ebert MH, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Psychiatry. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3289149. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Nickerson A, et al. The relationship between childhood exposure to trauma and intermittent explosive disorder. Psychiatry Research. 2012;197:128.
- Intermittent explosive disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Coccaro E. Intermittent explosive disorder in adults: Epidemiology, clinical features, assessment, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Coccaro E. Intermittent explosive disorder in adults: Treatment and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- McCloskey MS, et al. Prevalence of suicidal and self-injurious behavior among subjects with intermittent explosive disorder. Psychiatry Research. 2008;158:248.
- Safety planning. National Domestic Violence Hotline. http://www.thehotline.org/get-help/safety-planning/. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Finding resources in your area. National Domestic Violence Hotline. http://www.thehotline.org/2012/07/finding-resources-in-your-area/. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Kung S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 23, 2012.
- Coccaro EF. Intermittent explosive disorder as a disorder of impulsive aggression for DSM-5. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2012;169:577.