Cat Parasite Linked To Violent Anger Problems In Humans? Your Feline Companion May Be Behind The Uncontrollable Rage

Cat Parasite Linked To Violent Anger Problems In Humans? Blame Your Sudden, Uncontrollable Rage On Toxoplasmosis

A common parasite found in cats could be responsible for your uncontrollable anger outbursts. The single-celled parasite doubles the chances of suffering from a mental condition that triggers violent rage over petty issues.

Uncontrollable and explosive bouts of anger may have a hidden culprit that scientists have discovered. The violent anger problems may occur due to an infection in your brain brought on from the common parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which causes the parasitic disease Toxoplasmosis. The parasite is commonly found in cat feces, undercooked meat, and contaminated water. Once the parasite manages to enter the human body, it can have a strong effect on the brain due to the infection.

University of Chicago researchers have been studying the toxoplasma gondii and consider the parasite a key component of their broader concept of improving techniques to diagnose and eventually treat people who suffer from anger issues, most common examples being excessive road rage and recurring bouts unexplainable and extreme anger. The association between blinding rage and the cat parasite has been detailed in the Scientific American journal.

People experiencing extreme bouts of blinding anger, are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder called Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). The mental disorder is characterized by recurrent, impulsive, problematic outbursts of verbal or physical aggression that are disproportionate to the situations that trigger them, reported News Oxy. In simpler words, many people are known to have anger that has a hair trigger and can be set off with the least amount of provocation, and sometimes without any warning. However, the most notable aspect about the bouts of anger is that they occur over pretty mundane and in most cases, ignorable causes.

To investigate the association of the cat parasite with anger issues, a team led by Dr. Emil Coccaro and Dr. Royce Lee of the University of Chicago’s department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, involved more than 350 adults, who had been previously evaluated for IED, personality disorders, depression, and other psychiatric disorders. The study rated these individuals on traits such as anger, aggression, and impulsivity. Preliminary investigations revealed at least 30 percent of the patients were suffering from IED, the other 30 percent had one of the psychiatric disorders. The remaining members of the group had no psychiatric disorder.

Detailed analysis revealed the individuals who had been diagnosed with IED, were more than twice as likely, to be diagnosed with toxoplasmosis infection caused by the cat parasite, as compared to the control group.

Does this mean toxoplasmosis causes anger issues? Certainly not, assured Dr. Coccaro, who added that while the exposure to the cat parasite is pretty common, not all develop anger issues.

“Not everyone that tests positive for toxoplasmosis will have aggression issues. But exposure to the parasite does appear to raise the risk for aggressive behavior. More research is needed to determine whether the link is causal, and what, if any, the underlying biological mechanism may be.”

In other words, the doctor and the research indicates there’s a strong link between toxoplasmosis and rage. However, this does not mean toxoplasmosis causes rage. Recently a study had similarly indicated a link between caffeine consumption of both the spouses had a detrimental effect on the conception and pregnancy, likely raising the risk of miscarriage. But the study authors stressed there’s no proof of cause and effect.

IED affects about 16 million Americans. The people with uncontrollable anger issues outnumber those suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia combined, reported Canada Journal. However, the researchers found about 30 percent of all humans are currently infected with the relatively harmless cat parasite. The organism, usually stays dormant in the brain tissue, but has been linked to several psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and suicidal behavior.

[Photo by Karen Bleier/Getty Images]