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Do You Need High-Risk Car Insurance because of a Medical Condition?


A solitary case of road rage is unlikely to put an otherwise good risk into the high-risk category for car insurance, but someone who repeatedly runs into trouble with road rage may be seeing high-risk car insurance rates because of a medical condition. A recent study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry shows that some cases of road rage are actually symptoms of a psychological disorder.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)

Called Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), this condition causes people to become overly agitated during stressful situations. Their response to a frustrating event is generally out of proportion with the event itself. Doctors believe the condition stems from a lack of serotonin production in the brain. Serotonin is responsible for helping us control our behaviors and regulate our moods. People who don't have the proper amount of serotonin have a harder time controlling their emotions. They tend to overreact in many different types of situations, including stressful traffic situations. People who suffer from IED are generally embarrassed and regret their outbursts once they have calmed down.

High Percentage of Americans Suffer From IED

The research showed that IED is relatively common in the United States, even though many people have never heard of the disorder. Psychologists did not realize how common the disorder was until the study was released. Findings indicate that almost 16 million people are dealing with IED on a daily basis. People with IED have an average of 43 recognizable angry outbursts, which lead to more than $1,000 in damages over a typical life span.

Symptoms Generally Begin in Childhood

Recognizable symptoms of IED usually begin in late childhood or early adolescence. The fact that teenagers seem to overreact in general may be one of the reasons IED has not been commonly recognized as a medical condition early in life. Psychiatrists who work with IED sufferers report that their patients experienced violent outbursts at least once during their adolescent years in most cases. The disorder is typically diagnosed only after the patients are older and have established a longer pattern of emotional behavior. Since the disorder is more common than expected, it could explain many of the stereotypes attached to adolescent behavior.

Stress Leads to Disproportionate Outbursts

Intermittent Explosive Disorder causes people to become severely agitated in situations that do not normally lead to such agitation. Road rage is a good example of an IED outburst, because it usually involves someone becoming enraged after a simple traffic maneuver. The anger expressed by a person with IED can seem out of control, which it very well could be. The person who suffers from the disorder might be amiable and easy-going most of the time. Their symptoms do not present themselves until something triggers an emotional response.

Sufferers can become

One of the hallmarks of this disorder is that a person with IED tends to become physically violent during an outburst. They might throw things around the room, put their fists through a wall, or drive their car dangerously during a road rage incident. Many cases of domestic abuse are attributed to sufferers of IED. The pattern of violent outbursts over insignificant incidents followed by remorse and embarrassment is a common theme in most domestic abuse situations. Recognizing IED as a medical condition could allow mental health professionals to treat abusive individuals in a more effective manner so that they can stop their abusive behavior.

Few People Aware of the Disorder

Although a large proportion of the American population suffers from IED, most people have never heard of the disease. Intermittent Explosive Disorder behaviors were written off as violent personalities or a lack of social control. It is possible that the majority of the people who have IED do not realize that they are sick at all. Even psychiatrists who are aware of the disorder did not realize that it was as widespread in the general population as recent research indicates. An increased awareness of this disorder among the public could change the lives of many people who suffer without treatment.

Treatment Involves More than Anger Management

Anger management therapy has traditionally been recommended for people who exhibited out of control anger problems. Psychiatrists report that this kind of treatment is not very effective for people who suffer from IED because their problems stem from a chemical imbalance. The best way to properly treat this disorder is through medication to stabilize the serotonin levels in the brain. Anti-depressants and medications that affect serotonin receptors are the most successful in helping to control this behavior. Doctors say that counseling and anger management therapy should be used in conjunction with the medication for the best results.

How to Tell When Someone Might need Treatment

There is a difference between someone with a bad temper and someone suffering from Intermittent Explosive Disorder. The main thing to watch for if you suspect IED is a sudden violent outburst that is out of proportion with the event that triggered it. A person who suffers from IED will seem more out of control when they are in the middle of an outburst. Once the outburst is over, the person will feel ashamed of their behavior. Watch for out of control anger that happens in certain types of situations repeatedly.

Not all Road Rage Events Are Caused by IED

Sometimes road rage really is a one-time event that has nothing to do with a person's brain chemistry. It is possible the driver simply had a bad day at work. It's always a good idea to drive respectfully, especially during peak rush hour traffic. Keeping your cool on the road will help you avoid dangerous road rage situations that could lead to an accident or worse. If someone becomes overly angry, give him or her plenty of space and let him or her pass you if possible. If you are really concerned, pull into a brightly lit convenience store parking lot where there are people around to assist you.