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New Study Reveals Anger Issues Are Plaguing America’s Youth

Norbert Michalke, Getty Images
Norbert Michalke, Getty Images

The eyes of the America teenager appear to be seeing red all across the country, according to a new study.

According to researchers at the Harvard Medical School, nearly two-thirds of all adolescents in the United States have experienced the kind of blood-curdling anger that involves threats of violence, destruction of property, and literal head thumping aggression towards others at one time or another.

The study, which is based on the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement, a national face-to-face household survey of 10,148 America teenagers, also found that one in 12 of them (nearly six million adolescents) could currently be diagnosed with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), a condition known to cause tenacious bouts of wild animal like aggression separate from other mental disorders.

Senior researcher Ronald Kessler, McNeil Family professor of health care policy at Harvard, says that IED has a tendency to come on quite rapidly in the later years of childhood and has been associated with future problems, such as depression and substance abuse.

Study findings suggest that IED is a very serious problem among the youth in this country, and while nearly 38 percent of teens with IED did get treatment for emotional issues prior to the study interview, only 6.5 percent received specific treatment to deal with recurring bouts with anger.

Professor Kessler suggests that early detection is key:

If we can detect IED early and intervene with effective treatment right away, we can prevent a substantial amount of future violence perpetration and associated psychopathology.

While the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Diagnoses states that in order to be diagnosed with IED an individual has to have had three episodes of impulsive aggressiveness “grossly out of proportion to any precipitating psychosocial stressor,” researchers say that even after applying stricter guidelines to the study, they still found one in 12 teens met the criteria.

[Science Daily]

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