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.