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Old 06-06-2006, 06:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Road Rage disorder

I found this on Yahoo this morning (are we boycotting Yahoo or not? I'm fuzzy on those details).


Quote:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060605/...rage_disease_1
Study says millions have 'rage' disorder
By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer Mon Jun 5, 5:00 PM ET

CHICAGO - To you, that angry, horn-blasting tailgater is suffering from road rage. But doctors have another name for it intermittent explosive disorder and a new study suggests it is far more common than they realized, affecting up to 16 million Americans.

"People think it's bad behavior and that you just need an attitude adjustment, but what they don't know ... is that there's a biology and cognitive science to this," said Dr. Emil Coccaro, chairman of psychiatry at the University of Chicago's medical school.

Road rage, temper outbursts that involve throwing or breaking objects and even spousal abuse can sometimes be attributed to the disorder, though not everyone who does those things is afflicted.

By definition, intermittent explosive disorder involves multiple outbursts that are way out of proportion to the situation. These angry outbursts often include threats or aggressive actions and property damage. The disorder typically first appears in adolescence; in the study, the average age of onset was 14.

The study was based on a national face-to-face survey of 9,282 U.S. adults who answered diagnostic questionnaires in 2001-03. It was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

About 5 percent to 7 percent of the nationally representative sample had had the disorder, which would equal up to 16 million Americans. That is higher than better-known mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Coccaro said.

The average number of lifetime attacks per person was 43, resulting in $1,359 in property damage per person. About 4 percent had suffered recent attacks.

The findings were released Monday in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The findings show the little-studied disorder is much more common than previously thought, said lead author Ronald Kessler, a health care policy professor at Harvard Medical School.

"It is news to a lot of people even who are specialists in mental health services that such a large proportion of the population has these clinically significant anger attacks," Kessler said.

Four a couple of decades, intermittent explosive disorder, or IED, has been included in the manual psychiatrists use to diagnose mental illness, though with slightly different names and criteria. That has contributed to misunderstanding and underappreciation of the disorder, said Coccaro, a study co-author.

Coccaro said the disorder involves inadequate production or functioning of serotonin, a mood-regulating and behavior-inhibiting brain chemical. Treatment with antidepressants, including those that target serotonin receptors in the brain, is often helpful, along with behavior therapy akin to anger management, Coccaro said.

Most sufferers in the study had other emotional disorders or drug or alcohol problems and had gotten treatment for them, but only 28 percent had ever received treatment for anger.

"This is a well-designed, large-scale, face-to-face study with interesting and useful results," said Dr. David Fassler, a psychiatry professor at the University of Vermont. "The findings also confirm that for most people, the difficulties associated with the disorder begin during childhood or adolescence, and they often have a profound and ongoing impact on the person's life."

Jennifer Hartstein, a psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, said she had just diagnosed the disorder in a 16-year-old boy.

"In most situations, he is relatively affable, calm and very responsible," she said. But in stressful situations at home, he "explodes and tears apart his room, throws things at other people" to the point that his parents have called the police.

Hartstein said the study is important because many people are not aware of the disorder.
Since I commute to work everyday, this is of serious concern to me. I encounter drivers twice a day each and every day that I fully believe would kill me if they just had an easy opportunity. I really don't know what to think anymore. My father taught me to drive in a way that he said "Would earn a trucker's respect," but that advice is ridiculous now.

I wonder how many of you who read this and comment on it are guilty of these transgressions, too. If you came up behind me in my daily commute, would you tailgate me in the hopes that you could "push" me into going faster just to suit you? Would you pass me on a dangerous hill and purposefully downshift two gears at once just to make a loud enough engine noise to "teach me a lesson?" If I pulled out in front of you would you refuse to touch your brakes and slow up a little bit in order to "teach me another lesson?"

I've had people behind me in traffic start to get out of their cars to confront me because I didn't pull into oncoming traffic quickly enough to suit them. I've noticed that there seems to be a "five-second rule" at any stopping situation. Once a driver has waited five seconds, then that driver MUST pull out in front of whatever traffic is coming and go go go. To have somebody behind you forced to wait longer that 5 seconds is apparently a capitol offense.

I used to have a theory that cocaine was such a huge problem in the 80's because its users felt powerless in their lives and they needed something to erase that feeling. Is road rage the new version of that theory? Do people feel so useless and powerless in their lives that they have to "get even" with their cars?
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Old 06-06-2006, 07:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't understand people who get all pissed off in traffic. They go through the same thing every day, and get mad all over again every single day. If they could record themselves - the way they behave - in traffic, and then play it back for their family and freinds later, maybe they would get some sort of perspective on their behavior.

As far as it being a disorder; I think that much is obvious. But I see it more as a personality trait. Some people are perfectly fine until they find themselves driving a car. Then they just turn into jerks over the smallest thing.

It can be hilarious to watch, though. People flipping out at traffic (even though they are ALSO traffic) always makes me shake my head in confusion.
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Old 06-06-2006, 07:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
"People think it's bad behavior and that you just need an attitude adjustment, but what they don't know ... is that there's a biology and cognitive science to this,"
so being an asshole is biological? Gimme a break... Whatever happened to counting to 10... and having a little patience...

It's not biological at all.. the road ragers have a distorted sense of self worth I blame overindulgent parents and the education system that said the person was oh so important
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Old 06-06-2006, 07:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
so being an asshole is biological? Gimme a break... Whatever happened to counting to 10... and having a little patience...

It's not biological at all.. the road ragers have a distorted sense of self worth I blame overindulgent parents and the education system that said the person was oh so important
right. It's as simple as either you're an asshole or you're not.

driving, standing in line, walking down the street, sitting on the bus, shopping, whatever the activity, people think that they have the birthright to be an asshole, some think it funny and even "charming".
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Old 06-06-2006, 07:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
so being an asshole is biological?
Well...sure.
I mean...why not? That's just one more thing that people no longer have to take responsibility for. Right?

In so far as "Road Rage" goes, here's a little observation of mine. I drive a 1977 Chevy pickup. And...it looks it. I call it my "Old Whore"...not pretty anymore, but she still gets the job done. Anyway...I've noticed that when I'm entering the Highway, to get to work in the morning, if I'm driving the Saturn...people cut me off right, left, and from behind. However when I have the "Old Whore" on the road...people give me a very respectable amount of distance. They stay the hell away from me. Could it be the 29 years worth of dents and scrapes? Is it a subliminal "Look here...this happened from the last guy that tried what you're thinking". Maybe. All I know is, the Old Whore makes my morning commute much less stressful.
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Old 06-06-2006, 08:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I see that same difference depending on whether I am driving our Suburban or my bike. My wife refers to the Suburban as the "Intimidator". People will look right at me on the bike and just pull out, but not in the Suburban.

I do notice that when I drive my little bitty 26 year old Chevy LUV truck with all of it's dents and rust that people give me a wide berth. It looks like it has been to hell and back a few times.
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Old 06-06-2006, 08:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I sometimes feel that I have a mild case of this. I dont get "Road Rage" but I get pretty pissed off a few times a week in trafic. I dont know how bad it is where you all live. Waiting in line for 15 just to get ON the interstate and having some asshole jump or try to jump right in front of you, really makes my blood boil. Really, what makes him so special that he doenst have to wait in line like everyone else.

I saw this weekend the talking heads talking about this. Its sounds like a lot more than just road rage. I wonder if IED will hold up in the court system, like a temporary insanity.
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Old 06-06-2006, 08:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O'Rights
Well...sure.
I mean...why not? That's just one more thing that people no longer have to take responsibility for. Right?

In so far as "Road Rage" goes, here's a little observation of mine. I drive a 1977 Chevy pickup. And...it looks it. I call it my "Old Whore"...not pretty anymore, but she still gets the job done. Anyway...I've noticed that when I'm entering the Highway, to get to work in the morning, if I'm driving the Saturn...people cut me off right, left, and from behind. However when I have the "Old Whore" on the road...people give me a very respectable amount of distance. They stay the hell away from me. Could it be the 29 years worth of dents and scrapes? Is it a subliminal "Look here...this happened from the last guy that tried what you're thinking". Maybe. All I know is, the Old Whore makes my morning commute much less stressful.


My thoughts precisely. When did it become cool and accepted to throw temper tantrums like a 2 year old when you're an adult?
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Old 06-06-2006, 09:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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One study does not make a recognized disorder. If the DSM recognizes it at some point in the future, it will likely end up as one of the personality disorders aka asshole disorders.
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Old 06-06-2006, 09:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Boob = intermittent explosive disorder = IED = Improvised Exploding Device = Booby trap

Wonder if they planned the name?
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Old 06-06-2006, 10:07 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
Boob = intermittent explosive disorder = IED = Improvised Exploding Device = Booby trap

Wonder if they planned the name?
Mmmmmm....Boobs...
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Old 06-06-2006, 10:30 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm married to someone who does the following:

If a driver sticks out of a side street a bit too far, he aims for them.
If the light turns green and the car in front isn't stomping the gas, he rides their bumper. Same for people not passing fast enough in the left lane-he tries to go through them.
If anyone does something stupid, like swerve, go too slow in the left lane, etc., he yells, not AT them, just yells in general, even if the action had nothing to do with him.
If he sees someone coming down the shoulder and he's in the right lane, he'll swerve into the shoulder to block them.
I white-knuckle it riding with him and stopped doing any roadtrips because it stresses me so much to be in that car with him.
I admit, I get pissed, shake my head at stupid moves, but my theory is get out of the asshole's way. I have encountered people in the past who have jumped out of their car and come punch mine (uh, yield right of way does NOT mean you try to cut ME off, whacko) and another who, after I told him his brake lights have been on the past 2 miles, followed me, tailgating so close I couldn't see his headlights, and tried to run me off the road.
I might mention that the spouse is quick to anger all the time-he hollers rather than converse, which is exactly how his father was and his father died of a massive heart attack at age 62. His brother is mostly the same way and had a heart attack at age 49.
The article is interesting, but it's a chicken/egg kind of thing, I think. Are these assholes that way because of some serotonin/chemical make-up or did being an asshole affect it?
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Old 06-06-2006, 10:58 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
so being an asshole is biological? Gimme a break... Whatever happened to counting to 10... and having a little patience...

It's not biological at all.. the road ragers have a distorted sense of self worth I blame overindulgent parents and the education system that said the person was oh so important
Being an asshole is definitely biological (whether or not it is due to overindulgent parents). To my way of thinking, it being biological does not remove any responsibility. (But people always seem to look for ways to reduce their personal responsibility).
Quote:
Originally Posted by ngdawg
I'm married to someone who does the following...
My wife is married to a guy like that...Well, I'm not that bad. I honk at people who don't drive when the light turns green. I look dumbfounded out the window at people who drive slow in the passing lane. I try to stop people from passing me in the shoulder during merges. I used to yell. Now, I just calmly call people making left turns in front of me from the lane to my right "hazards". Most of my comments during driving are positive. I comment more on good driving than on bad. I also wave to people who let me merge, and try to let reasonable drivers merge in front of me.
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Old 06-06-2006, 10:59 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Yeah, it's interesting that we're now giving a label to "being an asshole". I wonder how long it will be before someone is fired, and sues on the grounds of being let go for their "disorder". I'd love the see the defense on that one... "But you weren't fired for a disorder, you're just an asshole!!"

And thank you very much, warrrreagl, for your thoughtful and well-articulated opening post opinion. It really goes a long way to help a thread foster input from others and grow as a discussion when there's a good opening post opinion to accompany an article.

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Old 06-11-2006, 08:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O'Rights
Well...sure.
I mean...why not? That's just one more thing that people no longer have to take responsibility for. Right?

In so far as "Road Rage" goes, here's a little observation of mine. I drive a 1977 Chevy pickup. And...it looks it. I call it my "Old Whore"...not pretty anymore, but she still gets the job done. Anyway...I've noticed that when I'm entering the Highway, to get to work in the morning, if I'm driving the Saturn...people cut me off right, left, and from behind. However when I have the "Old Whore" on the road...people give me a very respectable amount of distance. They stay the hell away from me. Could it be the 29 years worth of dents and scrapes? Is it a subliminal "Look here...this happened from the last guy that tried what you're thinking". Maybe. All I know is, the Old Whore makes my morning commute much less stressful.
Holy shit, this is SO TRUE. The day I got my Saturn I noticed people tailgating me, cutting me off, nearly swerving into me. I've since grown used to it, but I used to ponder why this is. Is my unassuming grey Saturn (which lacks any flash or flaire at all) nearly invisible to people? Does such a simple, economic car throw them into fits of rage? Do they just hate people who drive Saturns (most people I share the road with drive BMWs, Audis, or various SUVs).

My previous cars were kind of junker Hondas.

The difference in my daily commute changed drastically when buying a Saturn. People are weird.
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Old 06-11-2006, 09:01 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I notice that I tend not to get tailgated a lot. I think it is simply that I will move to the right and yield the passing lane. The other day I noticed someone who had been tailgaiting the car behind me did give me an appropriate following distance. I think he observed my behavior, and when he came up behind me he was willing to wait for me to finish passing because he knew I would move over when I could.

I find that I am generally treated courteously, and I think it is because other drivers observe me being courteous. I notice that people who follow too closely tend to be followed too closely, and in heavy rush hour traffic, I tend to simply stay right and allow plenty of room between me and the car ahead.

I think there's an inherent assumption in our society that people will not behave courteously. So we tailgate under the assumption that the guy in front doesn't intend to let us pass...

And if he doesn't, well, it's not that big a deal for me to commute for an extra two minutes...
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Old 06-16-2006, 09:54 PM   #17 (permalink)
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It's a real disorder, but as I've been fond of telling students who come up with all kinds of excuses for misbehavior or not doing their work on schedule, that explains the behavior, it does not excuse it. We don't control how we react emotionally, but we do control what we do and say.

I got this today going to the store. I needed to turn right from the offramp going onto a main road, and the red right turn arrow turned red long before I got to the intersection, so I stopped and waited for a solid green or right turn green. The woman behind me honked, edged up, honked again, starting making gestures, then rolled down her window and started yelling and making other gestures to all around. She seemed to get more angry each time there was a gap in traffic ahead, though I saw none I'd feel comfortable pulling into anyway. It was amazing to witness, though a bit scary at the time, to get so angry over such a small thing as being delayed by traffic for roughly a minute, maybe 90 seconds at the most.

The way I look at it, it's like the weather. There are poor and inconsiderate drivers out there, and you're going to run into them whether you like it or not, and it really is foolish to take it personally. It does about as much good to get mad at the weather.

I do get tailgated a lot, but I'm not driving in any way inconsiderately. I keep to the right when possible and move to the right as soon as it is safe to do so, but I still get tailgaters every time I pass.

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Last edited by Gilda; 06-16-2006 at 09:57 PM..
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Old 06-18-2006, 07:45 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Great, now people are going to start saying, "It's not my fault, I'm a natural-born asshole."

I dont' give a shit if it's biological, if I can overcome ADHD and study, you can overcome your impulses and not try to run me off the road because you're offended that I honked at you for swerving into my lane (this has happened, and in the most stereotypical way possible, it was a 40-something-year-old woman with a cell phone driving an H2.)
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