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Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) or Militant episode disorder (MED) is an uncommon disorder of the brain characterized by explosive outbursts of behaviour (throwing, breaking things, inflicting physical harm on others) that is disproportional to the provocation.
It belongs to the greater family of impulse-control disorders as categorized in Axis I of the DSM-IV along with kleptomania, pyromania, pathological gambling, and other impulsive personality disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Impulse-control disorders are primarily characterized by the experience of impulses that are difficult or even impossible to resist, even if the impulses may be harmful to self or others (Boyd, 2005; Grant, Levine, Kim, & Potenza, 2005). Impulse aggression is non-premeditated, and is characterized as a disproportionate reaction to any provocation felt by the patient (Ibid.). Patients have reported affective symptoms prior to the outburst, e.g., tension, preceding mood changes, energy changes, and so on (McElroy, 1999).
A 2005 study conducted in Rhode Island found the prevalence to be 6.3% (SE, +/- 0.7%) for lifetime DSM-IV IED in a study of 1300 patients under psychiatric evaluation (Coccaro, Posterkan, & Zimmerman, 2005). The national prevalence has not been established, and the disorder is considered to be relatively rare, due at least in part to the fact that an IED diagnosis is usually given only if all other possible disorders and syndromes are ruled out. Prevalence is higher in men than in women (Boyd, 2005).

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