Prevalence and Features of Intermittent Explosive Disorder in a Clinical Setting
J Clin Psychiatry 2005;66(10):1221-1227
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Objective: To determine the lifetime and
current prevalence, along with other characteristics such
as age at onset, patterns of comorbidity, and interest
in treatment, of DSM-IV intermittent explosive
disorder (IED) in an outpatient psychiatric sample.
Method: 1300 individuals presenting for
outpatient psychiatric treatment at Rhode Island
Hospital, Providence, R.I., underwent structured
diagnostic assessment for Axis I and II disorders. The
diagnosis of IED was made according to DSM-IV criteria.
Results: 6.3% (SE, ± 0.7%) of patients met
criteria for lifetime DSM-IV IED, and 3.1% ± 0.5%
of patients met criteria for current DSM-IV IED. While DSM-IV IED was the current principal
diagnosis in only 0.6% ± 0.2% of patients, most
patients with current DSM-IV IED (80%) were interested
in treatment for their intermittent aggressive
behavior. Only lifetime alcohol/drug disorder was more
frequent in DSM-IV IED compared with non-IED patients. Age at onset for DSM-IV IED peaked in
the teen years, was earlier for men than women,
and occurred earlier than all comorbid disorders,
with the exception of phobic anxiety disorders,
suggesting that IED cannot be attributed to most
Conclusions: DSM-IV IED in
psychiatric samples is far more common than
previously thought. DSM-IV IED develops early in life,
especially in male patients, and its development may
be independent of most other disorders.