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About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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June 29, 2006

Medicalizing Road Rage

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Have you ever jumped out of your car and smashed someone else's windshield because they didn't use their blinker? Or has anyone done it to you? If so, someone might be suffering from intermittent explosive disorder.

"A little-known mental disorder marked by episodes of unwarranted anger is more common than previously thought, a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health has found. Depending upon how broadly it's defined, intermittent explosive disorder (IED) affects as many as 7 percent of adults — 11-16 million Americans — in their lifetimes.

People with IED may attack others and their possessions, causing bodily injury and property damage. To be diagnosed with IED, an individual must have had three episodes of impulsive aggressiveness "grossly out of proportion to any precipitating psychosocial stressor," at any time in their life, according to the standard psychiatric diagnostic manual. The person must have "all of a sudden lost control and broke or smashed something worth more than a few dollars…hit or tried to hurt someone…or threatened to hit or hurt someone."

People who had three such episodes within the space of one year — a more narrowly defined subgroup — were found to have a much more persistent and severe disorder, particularly if they attacked both people and property. The latter group caused 3.5 times more property damage than other violent IED sub-groups. Affecting nearly 4 percent of adults within any given year — 6-8 million Americans — the disorder leads to a mean of 43 attacks over the course of a lifetime and is associated with substantial functional impairment."

I can't imagine the commercials we are likely to see when anger calming drugs hit the market.

Comments (8) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Mental Health Issues


COMMENTS

1. curious visitor on July 7, 2006 10:33 AM writes...

or, it could be a hoax. Listen to Don Boudreaux's rant, to download from:

http://cafehayek.typepad.com/hayek/2006/06/a_rant_on_rage.html

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2. Kensai on July 12, 2006 3:31 PM writes...

Anger Management, anyone?! :p

Kensai

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3. Reay on October 7, 2006 7:28 AM writes...

This would explain a lot, seriously. When my gramdmother first saw the artical in the paper she immeditly thought of me, so im just trying to find info on it.

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4. Reay on October 7, 2006 7:30 AM writes...

This would explain a lot, seriously. When my gramdmother first saw the artical in the paper she immeditly thought of me, so im just trying to find info on it.

Permalink to Comment

5. Reay on October 7, 2006 7:30 AM writes...

This would explain a lot, seriously. When my gramdmother first saw the artical in the paper she immeditly thought of me, so im just trying to find info on it.

Permalink to Comment

6. Reay on October 7, 2006 7:42 AM writes...

This would explain a lot, seriously. When my gramdmother first saw the artical in the paper she immeditly thought of me, so im just trying to find info on it.

Permalink to Comment

7. Dion Moten on November 22, 2006 5:12 PM writes...

Pioneering screenwriter Nigel Kneale, best known for the Quatermass TV serials and films, dies aged 84...

Permalink to Comment

8. Todd Sills on December 12, 2006 1:54 AM writes...

The Rolling Stones postpone a show in the US to allow singer Sir Mick Jagger time to rest his voice...

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