A mental disorder that encompasses a wide range of recurring, hostile outbursts, including domestic violence and road rage, characterizes considerably more people than previous data had indicated, a national survey finds.
At some point in their lives, between 5.4 percent and 7.3 percent of U.S. adults qualify for a diagnosis of intermittent explosive disorder, concludes a team led by sociologist Ronald C. Kessler of Harvard Medical School in Boston. Those percentages, which depend on whether the syndrome is narrowly or broadly defined, correspond to between 11.5 million and 16 million people, respectively.
In any given year, intermittent explosive disorder affects between 2.7 percent and 3.9 percent of adults, or from 5.9 million to 8.5 million people, Kessler and his coworkers report. "We never thought we'd find such high prevalence rates for this condition," Kessler says.
In contrast, a 2004 study of 253 Baltimore residents estimated a lifetime prevalence of 4 p