A new study suggests that a high number of American teenagers suffer from a disorder that leads to fits of uncontrollable rage. Researchers from the Harvard Medical School conducted a survey and interviewed over 10,000 teens aged 13 to 17. They discovered that eight per cent of them suffered from a mental disorder called intermittent explosive disorder (IED). The team says that based on its results, up to six million youths in the U.S. could be suffering from this illness. IED leads sufferers to suddenly lose control of even the smallest, non-threatening situations. They can fly into a fit of rage on impulse and become extremely aggressive. Sufferers break or smash things, scream and shout, become violent and can attack others. The scientists say it is responsible for a lot of domestic violence and problems at school.
The study is published in the journal of Archives of General Psychiatry. It is the first large-scale research to document the extent of IED in the USA. Lead researcher doctor Ronald Kessler described the potential importance of his research, saying: "If we can detect IED early and intervene with effective treatment right away, we can prevent a substantial amount of future violence." He added: "It's a problem because it really gets in the way of your life. There are lots of things people don't get treatment for because it doesn't really impact them. This does. The problem is an awful lot of people have it,more than I thought, it's awfully chronic, and it's impairing." Dr Kessler believes it is important this problem is given more recognition. "Social disorders can fall through the cracks, and this is one of them," he said.