`Angry teens prone to impulse control disease`

Updated: Jul 07, 2012, 11:16 AM IST

London: Does your child often behave violently? Beware, the teenager might be suffering from an impulse control disease called the intermittent explosive disorder (IED), psychologists have claimed.

IED, recognised as an impulse control disorder, usually begins in late childhood and persists through the middle years of life. The condition is characterised by persistent and uncontrollable anger attacks.

The new study from Harvard Medical School in the US was based on a survey of 10,148 young teens and it found that nearly two thirds had a history of anger attacks involving real or threatened violence.

It also found that one in 12 met strict criteria for a diagnosis of IED. Across the US, that would equate to almost six million individuals, the Daily Telegraph reported.

To be diagnosed with IED, a person must at any time in life have had three episodes of "grossly out of proportion" impulsive aggressiveness.

For the study, the researchers said they have used a more stringent definition of IED which ruled out other mental disorders contributing to angry outbursts. They also indicated that IED was not being properly treated.

Although 37.8 per cent of teenagers with the disorder obtained treatment for emotional problems, only 6.5 per cent were specifically given help with anger management.

"If we can detect IED early and intervene with effective treatment right away, we can prevent a substantial amount of future violence perpetration and associated psychopathology," Prof Ronald Kessler, who led the study, said.

The findings are published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.