Anger and Adolescents (United States Youth: An Anger Epidemic)
Do you need help with your teenager? We all know a teenager who can be kind of aggressive sometimes, and yet we tend to blame this aggressiveness on factors like hormones and undeveloped areas of the brain that deal with emotional regulation. However, based on some recent research findings, there may be a little more at play here than hormones.
A recent survey completed by over 10,000 United States adolescents revealed some very alarming findings. Nearly two-thirds of these adolescents surveyed had a history of anger outbursts or violent attacks. Unexpectedly, these results also suggested that a whopping six million adolescents might be undiagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder, IED. IED is defined as persistent, uncontrollable anger outbursts that do not originate from existing mental disorders.
What Does Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) Look Like?
IED commonly has an onset in adolescence and tends to persist through the middle years of life. Once the onset of IED occurs, other disorders are likely soon follow like depression and substance abuse disorder. Despite the alarming data that suggests six million adolescents have IED, only a minute number, 6.5 percent to be exact, are receiving treatment for this disorder. Experts are emphasizing the importance of our youth be treated for IED before the detrimental effects that coincide with IED become more prevalent. The criteria for being diagnosed with IED are as follows: Having at least three violent anger attacks that are not proportional to the environmental stressor that triggered the outburst. Researchers also emphasized that IED must be onset by itself and not co-occur with another mental disorder. When researchers brought together the data and the criteria, they found that about 1 in 12 adolescents in the United States meet the criteria for IED.
Help is Available for Anger
So next time your adolescent flairs, and if it is an significant pattern, do not to be so quick to blame it on puberty. Teens exhibiting symptoms of IED need a proper diagnosis so the right intervention is chosen to free or improve them and their home life from detrimental effects associated with IED. If you think your adolescent suffers from IED or an anger problem consider finding a reputable psychologist or therapist who provides cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). If your adolescent is reluctant to participate in meeting with a professional at first, then begin with an online anger management course or workbook.
Harvard Medical School. “Uncontrollable anger prevalent among U.S. youth: Almost two-thirds have a history of anger attacks.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120702210048.htm>. Article written by our Psychology Researcher and UNF graduate, Reema Sabella.