Medical studies have to make you laugh sometimes. Gone are the days when a little personal responsibility and family discipline were crucial. Now, Americans are overwhelmed with a slew of acronyms to assure a lifetime of overmedication and group therapy.
Take, for instance, this week’s study that suggested those symptoms we think of as road rage are now attributed to Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). The study, conducted by Harvard Medical School and the University of Chicago, suggests that as many as 16 million Americans suffer from the disorder. Apparently, perceived threats and frustrating situations become magnified and manifest themselves as explosive outbursts.
How wrong I must have been thinking that there was just an increase in the number of jerks in the world? Now they seem to be sheltered by some psychiatric phenomenon.
While admittedly skeptical of the ill-defined IED phenomena, its average onset is said to be just a few years before college. But how can we tell if someone on our campus has such a disorder?
This led me to search for angering situations and potentially explosive areas around campus. Many probably know quite a few, but there seem to be some that we all have experienced.
Take the Library. Long ago I realized that few utilize the library to actually read. How archaic! With a Starbucks, numerous computers and a few comfy chairs, it could be renamed “The Hangout.” The potential explosive situations include run-ins with the cell phone jabberer or the seemingly starved individual with a Library-unfriendly wrapper. Beware of the IED sufferer that has a short fuse.
Another potentially explosive situation can arise while attempting to navigate the campus by foot. In one corner is the road rage sufferer controlling the steering wheel of a four-wheeled weapon. In the other is the bookbag-toting student trying to get to class.
Plenty of opportunity to witness this clash of titans is offered throughout the campus. Word of caution to pedestrians: You might have a designated walkway, but that is no match for a chronically late driver with aspirations of NASCAR. Beware the IED sufferer seeking to do personal property damage!
I like to classify the last potential scenario for explosive behavior into a category known as bureaucracy-induced IED. This outward display of intense anger is in response to a campus that is just too large.
Experiences that fall into this category include seemingly ridiculous holds that won’t allow students to register for classes, problems getting timely academic advising or just getting lost in the paperwork shuffle. A statement from University faculty or staff that may set off an IED outburst is “that’s the way we have always done things.”
Is there any therapy for those IED sufferers that just seem to react a little too aggressively? While medical wisdom might prescribe Prozac or Zoloft, we could always attempt to do away with those that aggravate. Student annoyances in the Library could be shipped off to preschool, aspiring racecar drivers to the Indianapolis 500 and instigators of administrative bureaucracy to federal employment somewhere else.
Alas, such actions might decimate the ranks of those that call USF home. Instead, maybe these causes of my newly diagnosed USF Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) are a gift in disguise. Think of these as part of your education dollars hard at work.
Coping skills and playing well with others in a corporate environment are important in future jobs. And while medical researchers spend millions on studies and medicating IED sufferers, my advice is free – grow up!
Aaron Hill is a USF alumnus.