Intermittent Explosive Disorder
Aggressive and angry children is not a pretty site to observe. The idea that a sweet, young child can sit down with you and behave like an angel in one moment, and then run around threatening 6’2″ adult males with arms and shoes in another moment is baffling. Intermittent explosive disorder is an impulse-control disorder, characterized by sudden episodes of anger, hostility and recurrent aggressive outbursts.
The predictability of these episodes in children is not always obvious. As stated above, a child may demonstrate a loving persona, interacting with you in a pleasant way that would never make you think twice of any hidden violence. But when the other side of them manifests, it’s as if a demon were unleashed.
Believe it or not, even adults may become frightened when a child’s IED manifests. At the height of a reaction, a child with IED may demonstrate the following behavior:
- Unpredictable impulsive behavior
- Rage directed at anyone who stands in their way
- Nonsensical hyperactivity
- Vulgar language, including cursing and verbal threats
- Physical threats and assaults
- Shouting and crying
- Disorganization and refusal to cooperate
- Unwillingness to calm down and connect with others
After they take their medications, usually Abilify, Clonidine or Risperidone, they tend to calm down within that hour. But in order to be able to give them their medication, they must naturally calm down to a certain extent, until they are in the right state of mind to cooperate. Until then, the earthquake must ride its course.
Children with IED need consistent behavioral and psychopharmacological treatment. IED is usually not their only psychiatric diagnosis. They may also have ADHD, further contributing to their hyperactivity, lack of focus and inattentive behavior. Keep in mind that psychosocial factors may also be at play, such as poor family dynamics and unstable home environments.
A child with IED? Definitely not a pretty site. That’s why learning more about children is important.
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