Image credit: cnpru.bsd.uchicago.edu
Having unexplained outbursts of rage? Your cat’s litter could be the cause of it. According to a recent study, it has been found out that a particular parasite which is found in cat feces and uncooked meat could result in toxoplasmosis which in turn could cause explosive episodes of rage in people.
The lead author of the research and chair of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago, Dr. Emil Coccaro said that those people who are diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder (IED) are twice more likely to carry the Toxoplasma gondii which is a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.
Dr. Coccaro further said, “If you’ve got someone with aggression problems, you might check them for toxoplasmosis. People who blow up have a real problem. It’s not just a character problem or bad behavior. There’s something underneath that’s driving it.”
The researchers said that the findings of the study did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the cat parasite and the rage disorder since the research was not a clinical trial. They also said that every patient who tests positive for the parasite will not have rage and aggression issues.
The rage disorder or the intermittent explosive disorder can cause impulsive and recurrent outbursts of physical and verbal aggression. These bouts of anger are often not proportionate to the situation that triggered it. Talking about the patents of this disorder, Coccaro said, “They’ve got a short trigger, and when they’re threatened by something, they blow up.”
The authors of the research said that IED affects around 16 million people in the United States. The numbers of cases of the disorder is even more than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder combined.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the parasitic infection toxoplasmosis is usually harmless. The people who are most likely to contract the infection or get a severe form of the infection are those with a compromised immune system and also newborns. The infection, if severe, can cause damage to eyes, brain or both.