NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — People usually associate temper-tantrums with children, but adults are being caught now pitching a fit.

CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported that more and more adults are being caught on tape throwing temper-tantrums. They kick, scream, fall to the floor, and throw things — and it doesn’t take much to set them off.

Adults throwing tantrums are also being caught on video thanks to today’s technology. But could there be something more going on?

“Most of us are able to get angry, and express our frustration in a constructive way,” therapist Diane Kolodzinski said.

But for others, Kolodzinski said something as simple as spilled milk is literally enough to send them over the edge.

“They go zero to 100 really fast,” she said.

These adults who throw these temper-tantrums could be suffering from a condition called intermittent explosive disorder.

“The people who have this disorder cause a lot of suffering,” Dr. Igor Galynker, a psychiatrist, said. “They themselves suffer, and they make a lot of other people suffer when these people are subject to aggression.”

Galynker said as many as one in 20 people now suffer from the disorder.

“A person who has intermittent explosive disorder feel they don’t have control,” Galynker explained.

Experts said what differentiates the disorder from a bad temper is the disproportionate response.

“Yelling, screaming, throwing things, hitting the wall,” Kolodzinski detailed. “They could hit the other person or push them.”

Cursing at someone who cuts you off while driving is pretty typical, but chasing the car down and ramming it could be the behavior of someone suffering from the disorder.

One man, who started a vlog about living with the disorder, said he was relieved to finally find out the root of his overreactions, and even more comforted to learn it’s treatable.

“When I got a grip on the illness, I started to work hard to do something about it,” he said.

Experts said treatment typically includes therapy and learning techniques to self-soothe.

“There is definitely hope out there and help out there, if you reach out,” Kolodzinski said.

Experts said those with the disorder may also experience a sense of relief after an episode, followed by remorse or embarrassment.

Comments (4)
  1. Jeanine McGrady says:

    I hope and pray that a miracle comes along and soon, because my 32 year old daughter has beaten up upon my blind 60 year old husband, she has been in and out of the local mental health institution like it has a revolving door, and now we are being forced to move due in part to her behavior.

  2. George R Isbell Jr says:

    my 18 yo grand nephew is the same way. If he doesn’t get his way, hell breaks loose. He screams, curses, kicks, throw things, etc. He is just like a three year old. This has been going on since he was three years old. My niece made him move in with his nana because she can’t
    deal with him any longer. He got arrested for drunk driving (yes he is not of legal age) and threw a major tantrum in the back of the police car. Screaming and cursing; say he only answers to
    God. When he got home from jail, he had some small bruises and scratches on his arms. My brother-in-law asked him if the police took him “down”. He said “yes”. It’s one thing for a toddler to throw tantrums, it’s all together different when this “adult” throws one. He threatens to commit
    suicide, kill others, hits the walls, throws his cell phone and breaks it etc. All the family is worried
    he will do something regrettable. Of course he has seen mental health professionals; but his
    behavior hasn’t not changed.

  3. Corinna says:

    Is there a name for this disorder? My 20yr old, 7 foot boyfriend has been diagnosed with an underlying mental health issue which is triggered by certain things. His behaviour is difficult for me to control as I’m a 42yr old, 5ft woman. For nothing he will be lying on the bed (for example) and will start slamming his legs or arms down alternately, usually legs. He will poke Nige head butt me to get my attention as though he’s a toddler. He will ask me to get him things but by pointing only. If I say ‘in a minute’ he will literally be annoying me again when the minute is up. He will constantly ask questions or repeat himself even when I do answer him. During his worst fits, he sobs, shakes, has panic attacks, can’t breathe, threatens suicide, to leave me if I’m not there for him, shouts aggressively within inches of my face. When I tell him to leave me alone until I’m calm, he’s constantly coming back into the room and back in my face again. He wants me to cuddle him during does to make better. Etc, etc.
    I’m finding this difficult to understand and to be able to help me.
    Thanks in advance if anyone’s able to advise me.

  4. Hmm. I sense a very expensive designer drug emerging soon from big pharmaceutical. …and so the circle of love begins… $$$$

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