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CNS Drugs. 2002;16(8):517-26.

Intermittent explosive disorder: epidemiology, diagnosis and management.

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Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78284-7792, USA.


Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is characterised by discrete episodes of aggressive impulses that result in serious assaultive acts towards people or destruction of property. IED causes severe impairments in daily function. The diagnosis of IED should be made only after a thorough medical work-up. A structured or semi-structured diagnostic interview is helpful to ensure that comorbid and pre-existing conditions are considered. There is a lack of controlled trials of agents for the treatment of patients with IED, but there is evidence that mood stabilisers, antipsychotics, beta-blockers, alpha(2)-agonists, phenytoin and antidepressants may be useful. Behavioural interventions may be valuable as part of the overall treatment of IED.

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