home
RSS
Does your teen have a severe anger disorder?
July 2nd, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Does your teen have a severe anger disorder?

Teenagers are often characterized as over-emotional, prone to outbursts that confuse their parents and leave teachers reeling.

But a study published in the July issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry says 1 in 12 adolescents may in fact be suffering from a real and severe anger problem known as intermittent explosive disorder (IED).

Study author Katie McLaughlin, a clinical psychologist and psychiatric epidemiologist, says IED is one of the most widespread mental health disorders - and one of the least studied.

"There's a contrast between how common the disorder is and how much we know about it," she said.

IED is characterized by recurrent episodes of aggression that involve violence, a threat of violence and/or destruction of property, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It often begins around the age of 12, but scientists don't know whether it continues into adulthood. (A similar study which focused on adults found 7.2% met the criteria for IED).

"Intermittent explosive disorder is as real or unreal as many psychiatric disorders," wrote CNN's mental health expert Dr. Charles Raison in an e-mail. "There are people who get really pissed off really quick and then regret it, just as there are people who get unreasonably sad and depressed. In both cases, but especially with [IED], it's really just a description of how people behave."

In this large study, researchers authors interviewed 6,483 adolescents and surveyed their parents. They excluded anyone who had another mental health disorder, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or conduct disorder (CD).

Of the teenage participants, 7.8% reported at least three IED anger attacks during their life.  More than 5% had at least three attacks in the same year.

McLaughlin said one of the most interesting things her team found was that very few of the adolescents who met the criteria for IED had received treatment for anger or aggressive behavior.  More research needs to be done to determine if treatments that have been developed for ODD or CD anger issues would apply to IED as well.

Additional research should also look into the risk factors for IED, she said. "We know not that much about course of the disorder... Which kids grow out of it and which kids don't?"


soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. philliyboy

    Load 'em up with sugar and caffeine, then medicate them when they act up. And we wonder why America is falling behind in education, and we have a drug problem.

    July 2, 2012 at 18:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DetoxCentral

      Absolutely right phillyboy - One branch of science develops the 1000's of chemicals to add to food and drinks. Another branch of science discovers 100's of personality disorders. They work together to grow their bottom line. It's great business. A great example of business networking to create sickness with chemicals, and provide drug solutions with other chemicals. It's a win-win.

      July 2, 2012 at 18:40 | Report abuse |
    • idunno

      LOL ya addiction is funny. Smoke pot once in your life and get caught? The court system tells you you are a weak individual with a drug addiction. Buy any video game? It's sure to say "the most addicting game of the..." on it, but it's ok to be addicted to video games and no one says boo to that.

      I guess as long as you pick the right poison (a taxable, government regulated poison) then the government doesn't care.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • lindaluttrell

      Not to mention some of the violent music they listen to and all the video games these days...blood...killing...explosions...one article said many teenagers prefer to live in this cyber world than in reality. Scary!

      July 3, 2012 at 15:22 | Report abuse |
    • Annie

      I would vote for you! Please stop our politicians who are approving all kind of chemicals in our kid's food!

      July 3, 2012 at 20:03 | Report abuse |
    • JimTheo

      Just beat the crap out of them when they act up.

      July 3, 2012 at 23:25 | Report abuse |
  2. Kay

    Don't brush this off too easily...anger management issues are accepted as reality, but is it that hard to believe that there's something more to it? My significant other has serious problems controlling his outbursts of anger, directed at completely inconsequential frustrations – a ziplock bag that won't close properly can cause an explosion for him, when any other person would shrug and find a new bag. He can't help it – it's not like he enjoys becoming explosively angry on a regular basis. I don't support over-medication any more than the next person, and I do feel that a lot of adolescent problems are blown out of proportion, but there's a difference between a constant, uncontrolled problem and an occasional temper-tantrum. I don't plan on even mentioning this article to my SO, but I hope that the studies on this continue in hopes of finding out if there's a specific hormone or lack there-of that could explain this problem.

    July 2, 2012 at 19:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • soulcatcher

      Funny, I get that way when I get shot in battlefield 3 all the time when I can't exact immediate revenge.

      July 3, 2012 at 08:12 | Report abuse |
    • Victor

      Kay...I'm not a psychiatrist...but have you thought about getting a new SO...this guy sounds like a major loon and having to make sure that there are no faulty zip-lock bags in the house to protect his babysih temper tantrums would be a total buzzkill...get a set and dump the guy already.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
    • robin

      My son has this and it is very real. He hates that he has problems controling his anger/feelings. He's 15 and it's a hard time for him. We are doing counseling and meds.

      July 3, 2012 at 13:59 | Report abuse |
    • Aine57

      I would seriously reconsider staying with this guy. "He can't help it" is probably heard a lot in emergency rooms and eventually the morgue. Do NOT endanger yourself. It is often just a small step from explosions about ziplock bags (I mean, really!) to explosions about dinner, the housekeeping, your tardiness, your looks, etc. - with resulting violence.

      July 3, 2012 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
    • Barb

      Kay,
      What would your SO do if he had a REAL PROBLEM? Maybe grab a gun? Too many times, this is what happens. Men don't get their way, then they resort to violence. Women can become violent too, but they are less likely to do such damage because they usually don't pick up a gun or heavy object to injure someone.

      July 3, 2012 at 18:11 | Report abuse |
    • JimTheo

      Time to find another significant "Other". IMHO if you want to live.

      July 3, 2012 at 23:27 | Report abuse |
  3. Shannon

    Sounds like great fun to be around. . . .gosh

    July 3, 2012 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. negligence///!!!!!!

    Hey Kay, 'm WITH YOU ALL THE WAY. I REALLY HOPE MORE RESEARCH IS DONE AND FINNALLY SCIENTIST WOULD COME UP WITH A TREAMENT. VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE.

    July 3, 2012 at 02:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Grrrrrrrrr

    I'm MAD AS HELL .... and I'm not going to take it anymore!!!

    July 3, 2012 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. A Student

    5-7.8% "results" in a study depending on interviews? That's hardly good evidence of anything in the academic community – interviews are considered one of the poorest forms of reliable data collection, and to further apply this technique to teens who are known for their outbursts and underdeveloped brain regions (specifically, one of the ones in charge of impulse control) is questionable at best.

    July 3, 2012 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. jane

    Someone nuts up and they want to spend $$$ and time to prove that someone nutted up. What a dumb world! That's like going swimming and a group of Dr's want to know what is that wet stuff left behind when you are done swimming and you get out of pool to find your towel. Wow!! We are getting dumber and dumber! Drug companies just got caught lying to us. GSK

    July 3, 2012 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. hex2323

    Is every single behavior now going to be blamed on a Mental Disorder? I have Disbelief in Bullshin Pyschology Disorder now.

    July 3, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • idunno

      Everything is good for you. Everything is bad for you. Any drug addiction is serious. Any video game/food/soft drink/television addiction is just good marketting. I guess what can you expect when we live in a society where no one wants to take responsibilty for their actions? It's like those people who are trying to say all kids with a cell phone should be required to use a TracPhone, that way their parents can know where they are at all times and if their kid gets in a wreck while texting and driving you can sue the parents. Ya know, because kids don't have any money and someone definitely has to be sued, and we all know kids aren't responsible for their actions (that's why 14 year olds get tried as adults, right?).

      July 3, 2012 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
    • Heidi Stugart

      hex 2323 this was the best comment ever!!!! most of the comments here are right on, yes we pigeonhole our kids & what we can't blame on a disorder we blame on the parents. But parents don't teach the same values as before. Kids are allowed to get away with everything at home, therefore have no respect for their parents, let alone any other authority figure. Teachers say they all have ADD or ADHD, so the kids are medicated as a means of controlling their behavior b/c the teachers aren't allowed to discipline them at all. However, I do believe that it is not just the parents, but that their diets contribute to some of this stuff too. We continually add more & more chemicals to our foods & genetically alter our seed crops to produce a faster growing, higher yield food product that stays fresher longer. It seems that there are more & more kid with food allergies. It has been proven that a gluten free diet will help kids with Autism, their aggressive behavior & hyperactivity changes notably once gluten is removed from their diet. I used to think it was bs, but discovered my son was mildly allergic to wheat & during the trial period he became less hyper when we removed the wheat. Idk – sadly it's all a vicious circle & while I agree that psychologists will call just about any twitch a disorder so they can feel more self important, I also encourage people to look at the big picture.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • Victor

      Hey idunno...have you always been so fond of generatlizations and non-sequetors...breathe deeply and try to stay on point.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
  9. tacc2

    Jesus Christ! Psychiatrists with their DSM bible would have us believe that almost EVERYONE has some kind of mental "disorder".

    July 3, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cplusplus

      So You Think You Can Dance Tour: I have yet to get tickets for this but I am deemreintd! This past season had an amazing cast and winner Melanie did not disappoint. See the 10 finalists perform old favorites and original pieces created just for the tour. October 12 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

      October 11, 2012 at 08:51 | Report abuse |
  10. gggg

    No kidding. It's called puberty. All those raging hormones just mess up the works. Duh!

    July 3, 2012 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Adam

    Let me translate – you mean "does your kid throw tantrums because you did a horrible job raising them?"

    July 3, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Annie

      It is hilarious when people blame the parents. We as society don't want to deal with educating our future generation, parents have to do it alone because they are their kids. Well, when these kids are adults, they will pay taxes for everybody else, they will pay SS for the rest of populations, they will be the healthcare providers, the care givers, they will provide the food, pave the roads, etc. for everybody but we, "everybody" don't want the hustle to contribute on their education.

      July 3, 2012 at 20:17 | Report abuse |
    • Genevee

      Perhaps the numbers of men that were abseud as children are much greater than the numbers the data suggests.Could well be. Of the males I've known who were sexually abseud as children, I would guess less than 10% of their cases were reported. Surveys of adults about CSA are probably more accurate, but still not 100% I'm sure.

      December 18, 2012 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
  12. BAD Journalism

    Psychology is becoming too much of a religion. The DSM would have every breath we take categorized and labelled in some form or fashion as a mental disorder. Conversely, try to define "normal" or "sane." It's entirely subjective, much like the DSM. If you don't believe me, check into any US elementary school classroom and see how many kids are "A.D.D." and medicated. Check into any US high school and see how many teens are on anti-this or anti-that drugs. It's scary.

    July 3, 2012 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Dammit

    Yep. It's official. Childhood itself is now a recognized diagnosis. Maybe they'll come up with a pill for this one that won't turn kids into homicidal maniacs and suicide statistics.

    July 3, 2012 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Jen in Texas

    Sounds like a great way for some pharma company to sell more drugs. I hope parents don't fall for this one.

    July 3, 2012 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. mac101

    As a psychiatric nurse with experience treating troubled children and teens, I have a very different take on both Intermittent Explosive Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I don't think either are psychiatric disorders, I think they are both reactions to inconsistent and/or rigid parenting.

    Every single child or teen I have ever met who was diagnosed with IED and/or ODD, without exception, has come from a home that is dysfunctional, with inconsistent rules, rigid and/or shaming adults, and not uncommonly, adults with their own anger problems. Alcohol abuse is very common.

    Reacting in anger is learned behavior, just as manners, politeness, and treating others kindly is learned behavior. If a teen has problems expressing anger appropriately, take a look at the adults in their lives – chances are they have learned at the feet of the master.

    July 3, 2012 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ben

      mac101. Kudos to you. That is a truly professional AND compassionate basis that you are speaking from. Such a good reply. And, no, I am not being ironic. Your comment is exactly what came to my mind when I read this. Well... no, you put it spot-on. I could not have done that. Keep that fire going even if some do not like it. - And to some others here. Big Pharma must change. It will happen. Mark these words. They are not from me but they can be found on the web. And I think they are true.

      July 3, 2012 at 20:16 | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      You are so right! My husband had problems with controlling his anger, so did his father. Once we start living together, I learned that he was educated this way, that it was OK to yell for every small thing like his father did. It took some time and patience from my side that turned him to a wonderful husband. I am not a professional, I just got emotional when he was angry and he learned to control himself just to make me happy. I'm glad I had the patience and gave him the time he needed.

      July 3, 2012 at 20:23 | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      Mac101, I am a child and family therapist and deal with many teenagers that could be diagnosed with just about anything (ODD, CD, IED, Adjustment Disorder, etc.) and I have had the EXACT same experience as you described. Most of these children have been hurt emotionally and have learned that anger is a means of emotionally protecting themselves and dealing with their hurt and fear.
      If someone would take some time to talk with these children about how hurt and scared they are, they would be amazed at how normal these teenagers are.

      July 8, 2012 at 19:11 | Report abuse |
    • Spencer

      Guess the fee for taking the SAT are going to rise. Confused in NJ says:September 28, 2011 at 5:17 pmSeton Hall University is pnannilg to reduce its annual tuition by $21,000 for some incoming freshmen next fall. Incoming freshmen with high SAT scores and are in the top 10 percent of their graduating high school class would be eligible for the reduction. The university will match Rutgers Universitye28099s undergraduate tuition e28094 which is currently $10,104 for in-state students e28094 if freshmen score at least 1,200 on their SAT tests, have a composite ACT score of 27 or above and graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class. Other students will continue to pay Seton Halle28099s regular tuition rate, which is currently $31,440 annually before room, board and other costs are added.Just glad my boy graduated S.H. in 1989. Wouldn't want to pay $31K+.

      October 11, 2012 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • Max

      #31 MattaxI tend to dis agree with Zillow.They base their Zestimate on property tax paid.I won a ralveeuation on my property.The same house on this same block,same layout from the same builder and the same upgrades.My house that was contested and lowered in property tax, Zestimate is $35,000 less than the same house that was not contested.

      October 13, 2012 at 23:08 | Report abuse |
  16. Brett in CA

    They'll make up a disorder for everything eventually... Love your children and make personal sacrifices to spend time with them (not in front of the TV) and that will help them to learn the correct behaviors when they are frustrated. Teach them how to cope in a manner that gets their needs met. Whether that is compromise, explanation, or understanding, etc. And just because you are an "adult" or "parent" doesn't mean that you are infallible. Raising your child is not the time to be complacent, selfish, or ignorant to that responsibility. Put in the extra effort even if that means that you need to give up watching "Grey's Anatomy."

    July 3, 2012 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fahrettin

      ChiFi: What if you are caught flat fooetd? In my numb nut opinion my logic works as follows.If bill passes, market climbs on euphoria and I short near peak of hysteria as I see no way to stop the loss in the value of housing. My biggest risk is that the economy is not as bad as it seems and I give back some of the gains I've made since playing it right since last August.If bill fails, market drop to <10K and I inch my way back into some long positions, which quite frankly, I'm looking forward to doing. If market keeps dropping to 8K (which I predict it will), I will have a very nice long-term buy and hold position for the eventual recovery.You and I both know that typically market recoveries are swift and V shaped. I expect the same thing to occur this time around. It is impossible to time the market and I have been quite lucky on my way out as I already won by getting out of my longs over 30% ago. I only wish I was more of an aggressive shorter when I did.Now with some luck, I can get back in near a bottom. If I miss and the market keeps dropping, we are all screwed anyway.Keep in mind, I am always well diversified and decently risk adverse. Also keep in mind that what I say today might change tomorrow ;)

      October 13, 2012 at 23:55 | Report abuse |
  17. Weed

    Don't let the Scientology cult see this.

    July 3, 2012 at 19:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Greenspam

    And 1 in 3 Republicans has anger disorder too!

    July 3, 2012 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Lex

    1 in 12 suffer from a sever anger problem? 11 in 12 sounds a little more accurate.

    July 3, 2012 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. sybaris

    I'll bet a paycheck that most of these kids with anger issues come from homes where there is no discipline or their parents use the distraction method to pause bad behavior.

    July 3, 2012 at 23:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Rosa Michelle

    My neighbor's son definitely has it.. He is downright scary..

    July 4, 2012 at 04:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. david

    So that's the name for it. It's either genetic or learned as my father has it and so do I. I hope my son doesn't.

    July 4, 2012 at 08:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Paleo Diet Results

    Thanks for posting this . I have been looking for something like this . Great information I will check back for more info about Paleo Diet.

    July 11, 2012 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. icons design

    Thanks for an explanation. I did not know it.

    P.S. Please review Radio transmitter Icon from desktop-device-icons

    September 19, 2012 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Stephanie D

    We all know what anger is like as a teenager, it can take on many appearances. It can be a seething anger kept quietly below the surface, or a tidal wave released on everyone around them.

    Anger in teenagers usually comes from some unmet needs or heart-longing. Such “wants” can be immature and selfish; like wanting more material things (IPod, car, cool clothes.) Or the more complicated want for control and independence. But these can also be a smokescreen for deeper wants, like the want for love, acceptance. All these feelings have crossed our minds and they are part of being a teenager.

    Parents can definitely step in and nip this in the bud before a child gets out of control with their anger. A wise parent will discern the difference between temporary and immature fits of anger and the kind of anger that bubbles up from somewhere deeper in a teenager’s heart. Parents need to help their teen find the source of their anger, their unmet wants and express a desire to help their teen meet those deeper wants. If these wants simply cannot be met, or wouldn’t be the best thing for the child right now, then a parent can at least express empathy and explain ways for their teen to better handle their anger.

    Parents are responsible for creating an environment where solutions to inappropriate anger can be found, even in the face of their own feelings of anger. Shutting down an angry teen resolves nothing, though sometimes a timeout needs to be called when things get too heated. Helping your child to not just controlling their outward behavior, but also controlling their internal responses is also important.

    Anger is a normal, usually healthy, human emotion. However, when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems, problems at school, in friendships, at home, and in the overall quality of life.

    Maybe your teenager’s anger is the type that won’t let up, no matter what you say or do. He wakes up angry, goes to bed angry, and lets everyone know he is angry. If so, to get him into anger counseling is encouraged. Angry teens release their anger somewhere and cause serious issues for your teen’s future. So get them help in managing it if they are consumed or overwhelmed.

    Finally, DetoxCentral has brought up a very true and vital subject. “Science develops 1000's of chemicals to add to food and drinks, another branch of science discover 100's of personality disorders.” It really is all about business and money, always trying to find new problems new things to blame them on. These “anger issues” could easily be resolved with good parenting.

    Staff at SmartStart Education and Smarties Tutoring Services

    http://www.smartstarteducation.com/

    October 17, 2012 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. marrakech tours

    Thanks for some other magnificent article. Where else may anyone get that kind of info in such an ideal approach of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am at the search for such info.

    November 10, 2012 at 03:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. superb site thanks lwvgpidpwf click here :/ buy this today, :-* zxpikdsfgq [url="http://www.tabrpdxwjnwq.net"]or here[/url] :-/ green coffee, :-X cbwryumaxr http://tabrpdxwjnwq.info :-D buy here, :-D pposersvrt [url=http://tabrpdxwjnwq.ru]qopiilgral[/url]

    oosjqrmtzojm

    March 12, 2013 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. did you purchase this theme? uwmdkqbbkr click here :/ find out, 8-| rcmagbeigu [url="http://www.sgfzrrjlzzth.net"]or here[/url] :-/ loving it, :-/ ftghboyxkv http://sgfzrrjlzzth.info >:-O click here, 3:-) nssvqcpkez [url=http://sgfzrrjlzzth.ru]kpjekzip

    zjjnzyyheyfk

    March 12, 2013 at 05:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Pattie Lamonte

    Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you're about to erupt. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other favorite physical activities. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. ,'-*

    Our web site
    <http://www.homelifestyledigest.com

    June 7, 2013 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Lexi W

    How can you determine whether the teen has any anger disorders besides IED ?

    December 1, 2013 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.