Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
If you're concerned because you're having repeated emotional outbursts, talk with your primary care doctor or make an appointment with someone who specializes in treating emotional disorders, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker.
What you can do
These steps can help you make the most of your appointment:
- Write down the symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins, supplements or herbal products that you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Prepare a list of questions to make sure you cover everything that's important to you. For intermittent explosive disorder, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Why am I having these angry outbursts?
- Do I need any tests? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- Are there any side effects from treatment?
- Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- How long does therapy take to work?
- Do you have any printed material on this topic? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask questions anytime that you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them so you can focus on points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- How often do you have explosive episodes?
- What triggers your outbursts?
- Have you injured or verbally abused others?
- Have you damaged property when angry?
- Have you ever tried to hurt yourself?
- Have your outbursts negatively affected your family or work life?
- Does anything seem to makes these episodes occur more often?
- Is there anything that you've found that can help calm you down?
- Has anyone else in your family ever been diagnosed with a mental illness?
- Have you suffered from a head trauma?
- Ebert MH, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Psychiatry. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3289149. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Nickerson A, et al. The relationship between childhood exposure to trauma and intermittent explosive disorder. Psychiatry Research. 2012;197:128.
- Intermittent explosive disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Coccaro E. Intermittent explosive disorder in adults: Epidemiology, clinical features, assessment, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Coccaro E. Intermittent explosive disorder in adults: Treatment and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- McCloskey MS, et al. Prevalence of suicidal and self-injurious behavior among subjects with intermittent explosive disorder. Psychiatry Research. 2008;158:248.
- Safety planning. National Domestic Violence Hotline. http://www.thehotline.org/get-help/safety-planning/. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Finding resources in your area. National Domestic Violence Hotline. http://www.thehotline.org/2012/07/finding-resources-in-your-area/. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Kung S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 23, 2012.
- Coccaro EF. Intermittent explosive disorder as a disorder of impulsive aggression for DSM-5. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2012;169:577.