Controlling your anger
Part of your treatment may include:
- Unlearning problem behavior. Coping well with anger is a learned behavior. Practice the techniques you learn in therapy to help you recognize what pushes your buttons and how to respond in ways that work for you instead of against you.
- Developing a plan. Work with your doctor to develop a plan of action for when you feel yourself getting angry. For example, if you think you might lose control, try to remove yourself from that situation. Go for a walk or call a trusted friend to try to calm down.
- Avoiding alcohol and other recreational substance use. These substances can increase aggressiveness and the risk of explosive outbursts.
If your loved one won't get help
Unfortunately, many people with intermittent explosive disorder don't seek treatment. If you're involved in a relationship with someone who has intermittent explosive disorder, take steps to protect yourself and your children. The abuse isn't your fault. No one deserves to be abused.
Create an escape plan to stay safe from domestic violence
If you see that a situation is getting worse, and suspect your loved one may be on the verge of an explosive episode, try to safely remove yourself and your children from the scene. However, leaving someone with an explosive temper can be dangerous.
Consider taking these steps before an emergency arises:
- Call a domestic violence hot line or a women's shelter for advice, either when the abuser isn't home or from a friend's house.
- Keep all firearms locked away or hidden. Don't give the abuser the key or combination to the lock.
- Pack an emergency bag that includes items you'll need when you leave, such as extra clothes, keys, personal papers, medications and money. Hide it or leave the bag with a trusted friend or neighbor.
- Tell a trusted neighbor or friend about the violence so that he or she can call for help if concerned.
- Know where you'll go and how you'll get there if you feel threatened, even if it means you have to leave in the middle of the night. You may want to practice getting out of your home safely.
- Come up with a code word or visual signal that means you need the police and share it with friends, family and your children.
Get help to protect yourself from domestic violence
These resources can help:
Aug. 25, 2015
- Police. In an emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number or your local law enforcement agency.
- Your doctor or the emergency room. If you're injured, doctors and nurses can treat and document your injuries and let you know what local resources can help keep you safe.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233). This hotline is available for crisis intervention and referrals to resources, such as women's shelters, counseling and support groups.
- A local women's shelter or crisis center. Shelters and crisis centers generally provide 24-hour emergency shelter, as well as advice on legal matters and advocacy and support services.
- A counseling or mental health center. Many communities offer counseling and support groups for people in abusive relationships.
- A local court. Your local court can help you get a restraining order that legally orders the abuser to stay away from you or face arrest. Local advocates may be available to help guide you through the process. You can also file assault or other charges when appropriate.
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- Highlights of changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Coccaro E. Intermittent explosive disorder in adults: Epidemiology, clinical features, assessment, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 23, 2015.
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- Coccaro EF. Intermittent explosive disorder. In: Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2014. http://psychiatryonline.org/doi/book/10.1176/appi.books.9781585625048. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Controlling anger before it controls you. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx. Accessed July 24, 2015.
- Personal safety plan. The National Domestic Violence Hotline. http://www.thehotline.org/resources/victims-and-survivors/#tab-id-7. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Path to safety. The National Domestic Violence Hotline. http://www.thehotline.org/help/path-to-safety. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Finding resources in your area. The National Domestic Violence Hotline. http://www.thehotline.org/2012/07/finding-resources-in-your-area/. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Palmer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 27, 2015.
- Rohren CH (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 17, 2015.