(HealthDay News) – Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is a highly prevalent, persistent adolescent mental disorder, which is significantly comorbid with a range of other mental disorders, according to a study published online July 2 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Katie A. McLaughlin, PhD, from the Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined epidemiologic data on the prevalence and correlates of IED among US adolescents. A total of 6,483 adolescents were assessed for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) anxiety, mood, behavior, and substance disorders using the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). In addition, parents of the participants completed questionnaires.

The researchers found that 63.3% of adolescents reported lifetime anger attacks that involved destroying property or threatening or engaging in violence, 7.8% of whom met the DSM-IV/CIDI criteria for lifetime IED. The mean age of IED onset was 12 years, and IED was highly persistent, with 80.1% of lifetime cases meeting 12-month criteria. IED-related injuries requiring medical attention were reported 52.5 times per 100 lifetime cases. Significant comorbidity was reported, with 63.9% of lifetime IED cases meeting the criteria for another DSM-IV/CIDI disorder. Only 6.5% of teens with 12-month IED were treated specifically for anger, although 37.8% received treatment for emotional problems in the year before the interview.

“Given the substantial consequences of IED for individuals and society, research is sorely needed to resolve diagnostic disagreements, uncover risk and protective factors, and develop strategies for screening, early detection, and effective treatment,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The World Mental Health Data Coordination Centres received support from the pharmaceutical industry.

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