“Addicted” to Hitting Women?
We call it IED or Intermittent Explosive Disorder—it’s right there in the recognized mental health disorders—starting with the primary symptom: “Several discrete episodes of failure to resist aggressive impulses that result in serious assaultive acts or destruction of property.” According to the NIH, 16 million Americans are thought to suffer from it.
BILL: Dave, did you see those headlines about 19-year-old singer Chris Brown going ballistic after Good Morning America interviewed him about past meltdowns?
DR. DAVE: The BILL for just one of the windows he smashed was two grand, but the way his friend and fellow rapper, Suga Shane put it, “It’s better Chris Brown did it to a window rather than a person.”
BILL: I remember when Brown was arrested for alleged felony battery against his girlfriend, 20-year-old fellow superstar Rihanna back in 2009. The same news story carried a quote he’d given MTV in 2007. “I always used to feel the hate for anybody that disrespected a lady.” Was that just PR spin?
DR. DAVE: According to Chris himself, his stepfather allegedly beat on his mother repeatedly. He’s got a good reason to feel passionately about the abuse of women.
BILL: “The last thing Chris Brown should do if he’s trying to make people forget his past with Rihanna is show his rage publicly,” is the way Party Girl author Anna David put it to me. And Anna, now executive editor of thefix.com-- a terrific new website devoted to addiction and recovery -- went on: “He reminds me of the alcoholic who holds it together for a while only to get completely smashed at the worst possible moment.”
DR. DAVE: The cops found that Rihanna had major contusions, a black eye, a split lip, bloody nose, and bite marks on one of her arms and on several fingers [via TMZ.com].
BILL: Who could do something like that sober? Was he high and/or drunk?
DR. DAVE: That old favorite sticking point of yours again,
BILL? The answer is no--you don’t have to ingest outside chemicals to enter irrational states of mind.
BILL: You’re saying that when Brown beat Rihanna so badly she had to be taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, he was drunk on anger alone?
BILL, if you need a blow-by-blow refresher on what Chris did to her, you can go to this police report link: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/file/lapd-details-rihanna-beating?page=3] where there is a lot of descriptions of domestic violence that night. No report of anyone being under the influence.
BILL: And the medical name for the addiction that causes rage in a Chris Brown is--?
DR. DAVE: We call it IED or Intermittent Explosive Disorder—it’s right there in the recognized mental health disorders—starting with the primary symptom: “Several discrete episodes of failure to resist aggressive impulses that result in serious assaultive acts or destruction of property.” According to the NIH, 16 million Americans are thought to suffer from it.
BILL: OK -- you needn’t like it if your girl friend yells at you about sexually-loaded text messages you’re getting from another woman—
DR. DAVE:--or a TV anchor keeps pushing your buttons over old paparazzi dirt. But what marks these incidents as cases of IED is that the “degree of aggressiveness expressed during the episodes is grossly out of proportion to any precipitating psychosocial stressors.” Not even in the world of Gangsta Rap would someone ever call Rihanna’s bloody face or Chris, himself, risking severing an artery in a shower of glass—a logical response to being “disrespected.”
BILL: Dave, let’s talk to readers worried about their own IED episodes. Outside conventional anger management classes and domestic violence education, where else can they turn for help?
DR. DAVE: Like other addictions, there is often a neurochemical component —so I usually start with a referral to one of the country’s leading IED treatment groups—the Mayo Clinic IED Program: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/intermittent-explosive-disorder/DS00730]. There is also a good website you can point your own physician too at this link: http://www.mdguidelines.com/intermittent-explosive-disorder] if you are concerned about your own struggles with anger.
BILL: But you know, Doc, IED addicts are like drunk drivers—they put others besides themselves at risk. What kind of therapist would you recommend as most likely to be effective in managing this type of addiction?
DR. DAVE: Intermittent Explosive Disorder is so insidious and dangerous that I wouldn’t accept any case manager, in a case like Chris Brown’s, except a Board-Certified Psychiatrist from the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Here is ASAM’s national index for anyone who needs to find a local MD: Find-an-ASAM-Physician: http://www.asam.org/DoctorFinderAgreementAdv.html].
BILL: Couldn’t be clearer Doc—I imagine a few spouses, coworkers, and concerned parents are hitting “email this column to a friend” as they read it. Thanks for the info!
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"“Addicted” to Hitting Women?"
Bill Manville and Dave Moore met when Dr. Moore was Director of The MacDonald Center addictions rehabilitation facilities at Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where Bill was a volunteer peer facilitator. Dr. Moore is a licensed psychologist and...