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People suffering from rage disorder more likely to suffer from parasitic infection: Study

05-12 | Rachael

People suffering from rage disorder more likely to suffer from parasitic infection: Study

Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.

-Benjamin Franklin

Anger is of use only to a certain extent; beyond that it becomes rage that only jeopardizes everything, including the closest relationships. In some people, it takes the form of an intermittent explosive disorder, wherein they are unable to control their impulsive behavior, giving way to a hostile behavior.

A recent study by the University of Chicago found that those suffering from rage disorder are two times more likely to be afflicted with a parasitic infection, typically found in insufficiently cooked meat, polluted water and cat feces.

The study, titled “Toxoplasma gondii infection: Relationship with aggression in psychiatric subjects,” was conducted to test if the presence of dormant Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) in host tissues, including the brain, was linked to both categorical and dimensional measures of aggressive behavior.

For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in March 2016, the researchers surveyed 358 adults and examined them for Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), along with other mental disorders, such as depression. People suffering from certain mental disorders exhibit symptoms of repetitive explosive eruptions of antagonistic behavior in circumstances not demanding the display of such unnecessary reaction.

The respondents who tested positive for symptoms of impetuousness and aggression displayed two signs of IED through a psychiatric test. The participants were classified into three groups. One group of volunteers was suffering from IED, the volunteers sorted in the second group were suffering from psychiatric conditions and the last group was a control group with no history of mental disorder.

Those who tested positive for toxoplasmosis scored higher in aggression

The findings showed that the group of volunteers with IED was two times more likely to be tested positive for toxoplasmosis than members of the control group. It was also observed that an estimated 22 percent of the IED group was afflicted with the infection when contrasted with just 9 percent of the volunteers who were not suffering from any kind of mental illness.

The scientists observed that approximately 16 percent of volunteers in the “other psychiatric conditions” had the infection and reported close to the test scores in aggressive behavior to the respondents in the healthy group. Individuals tested positive for toxoplasmosis scored higher in aggression across all the groups.

30% people suffer from parasitic infection toxoplasmosis

The findings are important because they stressed on the correctness of the hypothesis that mental illnesses have their roots in biological factors. But the study has its limitations because it was conducted over only a small group of people.

The researchers also stressed on the commonality of toxoplasmosis with nearly 30 percent of humans having it and healthy people unlikely to display any symptoms associated with it. They issued a warning that though the findings point to a direct correlation between the mental health disorder and presence of toxoplasmosis, the observations and evaluations made during the study do not suggest the causative relationship between the parasitic infection and bouts of extreme anger.

Emphasizing on the importance of the research, co-author of the study Royce Lee, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago, said, “We don’t yet understand the mechanisms involved — it could be an increased inflammatory response, direct brain modulation by the parasite, or even reverse causation where aggressive individuals tend to have more cats or eat more undercooked meat. Our study signals the need for more research and more evidence in humans.”

Seeking recovery

The petrifying highs, the extreme lows and the erratic anxieties – characteristic of any kind of mental disorder need to be looked at carefully as such erratic behavior can harm in the long run. The lingering belief that depression is only a creation of the mind only makes the treatment more difficult.

If you or your loved is suffering from depression, it is time to seek professional help. The Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado helps one find the right treatment facility in accordance with the needs. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-427-5668 or chat online for further information.


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