Harvard Mental Health Letter

Commentary: Violence as a medical issue

Commentary

Violence as a medical issue

The McLaughlin Report host introduced the issue this way:

"Road rage drivers are not just angry. They're crazy. So says research from Harvard and the University of Chicago. The new sickness is called IED — intermittent explosive disorder. IED sufferers have abnormal areas of the brain that are supposed to control anger....Should states require brain scans before issuing driver's licenses?"

Laughter and amused banter among the show's panel members followed, but there may be a good reason for their skepticism. Commentators worry that our diagnoses create artificial distinctions between bad behavior and excusable symptoms of an illness. But — since all such behavior can be said to derive from abnormal brain function — it would be a mistake to ignore what neuroscientists have to say about aggression.

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