CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (CBS Connecticut) — A new study conducted by the Harvard Medical School finds that nearly two-thirds of adolescents have experienced an anger attack.

The study also found that one in 12 adolescents have met the criteria of Intermittent Explosive Disorder, in which patients experience persistent uncontrollable anger attacks. That number accounts for 6 million people.

According to senior author Ronald Kessler, IED can lead to depression and substance abuse problems as young people get older.

“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,” Kessler said in the study.

Of the 37.8 percent of those treated for emotional problems resulting from IED, “only 6.5 percent received treatment specifically for anger,” showing that there is under-treatment to deal with this type of disease.

The research found that IED starts early in life and to be diagnosed with the disease the adolescent must have had “three episodes of impulsive aggressiveness ‘grossly out of proportion to any precipitating psychosocial stressor,’ at any time in their life.”

The study was based on the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement in which 10,148 adolescents were polled face-to-face. The findings were published in the Archives for General Psychiatry.


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