Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"Your Honor, my client has been diagnosed with IBTCOOYWD...intermittent beat-the-crap-out-of-your-wife disorder..."

Question: If road rage is a disease--a manifestation of what doctors are now calling "intermittent explosive disorder," or IED--then why aren't other forms of violent behavior (or, more specifically, other patterns of violent outbursts) similarly classified? A recent study of 9000 people found that almost one person in 20 was afflicted with IED, which causes you to act as you might expect someone to act, based on the name of the disorder. But what I don't quite understand (and what none of the write-ups on this latest development makes clear) is why researchers are limiting their focus to rage that occurs in a moving vehicle. Why isn't your garden-variety rage--the stationary kind--also a disease? Especially since they're saying that IED has biochemical origins. And if indeed rage is a disease, or is about to become one with the next study, I don't understand how society (in particular the criminal-justice system) will accommodate that latter-day truth, differentiating between those who are sick and those who are simply criminal. One in 20 is a lot of enraged people.

We don't want to second-guess the experts, but some of the specifics are telling. IED is more prevalent in men than women, and tends to start at age 14, which (I'm sure this too is pure coincidence) happens to be when puberty kicks into high gear. The bottom line, then, seems to be this: Men have more explosive tempers than women. I for one am shocked.

Though I say that with tongue-in-cheek, well-known Harvard Medical School epidemiologist Ronald Kessler described himself as "blown away" by these findings. He was quick to add, in a word of comfort to IED sufferers, "You don't have to blame yourself for it--it's a biological thing." Empowerment may be the flavor of the day, folks, but Victimization remains alive and kicking.

8 comments:

Cosmic Connie said...

*****
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Oh, boy, another new disease. Isn't medical progress wonderful? Are they still making those awful Movies Of The Week about trendy diseases? If so, the IED movie oughta be a good one (“Deadly Rage: The Nikki Cooper Story”). Actually, I would have thought Intermittent Explosive Disorder was the result of eating bad Mexican food, but I guess I'm wrong. Looking into my cosmic crystal ball, I see a lucrative book deal in the good Dr. Kessler's future...although he himself seems to be a victim of yet another modern disease: AED, or Acute Exploitative Disorder. But I’m sure it’s not his fault.

Steve Salerno said...

What a clever post! Keep 'em coming.

Anonymous said...

Love AED! Too true. Thanks, Connie!

Anonymous said...

I think Dr. Phil has BLOB-- belligerent, loud, obese boor disease.

Rodger Johnson said...

I new that police officer had something wroung with him this morning when he pulled me over.

We should petition to get Acute Authoritative Disorder, or AAD included in the next DSM revision.

Include the ones on this page too.

Cosmic Connie said...

Actually, in my rush to be clever (or silly, as the case may be) I neglected to mention that Steve raised some important points, as usual. A former client of mine, a psychiatrist, lamented the state of psychiatry today. He said he regretted that it's no longer about spending time talking with the patient and finding out his or her emotional problems; these tasks fall to the lesser-degreed psychologists, psychotherapists and the like. Psychiatry today is mostly about writing out a scrip for whichever disorder the shrink deems the patient has. And, since more and more disorders and diseases are being "discovered" every day, it would seem that the DSRM would need to be revised at least once a month. How in the heck do the docs keep up with this stuff? And I wonder what the treatment protocol would be for the newly discovered Intermittent Explosive Disorder? I do know this: Dr. Kessler and his colleagues aren’t the only folks who are going to benefit from this “disease.” The big pharmaceutical companies are gonna clean up too. Lucky them.

Cosmic Connie said...

DSRM!?! Oops...I meant DSM, of course. (I had just finished paying my Valero bill -- to DSRM Nat'l Bank.) I guess I have HUMAD, or Head Up My Ass Disorder. I hope there is a good drug for that.

Steve Salerno said...

Never fear, Connie. The syndrome you reference is one with which which we all suffer now and then. (Some of us more now than then.) And actually, I think I've got a great Connie-specific acronym for DSRM--but I don't want to risk making "HUMAD." (Groan.)