What Is Aggressive
Aggressive behavior can cause physical or
emotional harm to others. It may range from verbal abuse to physical abuse. It
can also involve harming personal property.
Aggressive behavior violates social
boundaries. It can lead to breakdowns in your relationships. It can be obvious
or secretive. Occasional aggressive outbursts are common and even normal in the
right circumstances. However, you should speak to your doctor if you experience
aggressive behavior frequently or in patterns.
When you engage in aggressive behavior, you may
feel irritable and restless. You may feel impulsive. You may find it hard to
control your behavior. You might not know which behaviors are socially
appropriate. In other cases, you might act aggressively on purpose. For
example, you may use aggressive behavior to get revenge or provoke someone. You
may also direct aggressive behavior towards yourself.
It’s important to understand the causes of
your aggressive behavior. This can help you address it.
Causes Aggressive Behavior?
Many things can shape your behavior. These can include your:
- physical health
- mental health
- family structure
- relationships with others
- work or school environment
- societal or socioeconomic factors
- individual traits
- life experiences
As an adult, you might act aggressively in
response to negative experiences. For example, you might get aggressive when
you feel frustrated. Your aggressive behavior may also be linked to depression,
anxiety, PTSD, or other mental health conditions.
Health Causes of
Many mental health conditions can contribute
to aggressive behavior. For example, these conditions include:
- autism spectrum disorder
- attention deficit hyperactivity
- bipolar disorder
- conduct disorder
- intermittent explosive disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder
Brain damage can also limit your ability to
control aggression. You may experience brain damage as the result of:
- head injury
- certain infections
- certain illnesses
Different health conditions contribute to
aggression in different ways. For example, if you have autism or bipolar
disorder, you might act aggressively when you feel frustrated or unable to speak
about your feelings. If you have conduct disorder, you will act aggressively on
Causes in Children
Aggression in children can be caused by several factors. These can include:
- poor relationship skills
- underlying health conditions
- stress or frustration
Your child might imitate aggressive or violent
behavior that they see in their daily life. They may receive attention for it
from family members, teachers, or peers. You can accidentally encourage it by
ignoring or rewarding their aggressive behavior.
Sometimes, children lash out due to fear or
suspicion. This is more common if your child has schizophrenia, paranoia, or
other forms of psychoses. If they have bipolar disorder, they might act
aggressively during the manic phase of their condition. If they have
depression, they might act aggressively when they feel irritated.
Your child might also act aggressively when
they have trouble coping with their emotions. They might find it especially
hard to deal with frustration. This is common in children who have autism
spectrum disorder or cognitive impairments. If they become frustrated, they may
be unable to fix or describe the situation causing their frustration. This can
lead them to act out.
Children with ADHD or other disruptive
disorders may show a lack of attention or understanding. They may also appear impulsive.
In some cases, these behaviors may be considered aggressive. This is especially
true in situations when their behaviors are socially unacceptable.
Causes in Teens
Aggressive behavior in teenagers is common. For example, many teens act rudely
or get into arguments sometimes. However, your teen might have a problem with aggressive
behavior if they regularly:
- yell during arguments
- get into fights
- bully others
In some cases, they may act aggressively in
- peer pressure
- substance abuse
- unhealthy relationships with family
members or others
Puberty can also be a stressful time for many
teens. If they don’t understand or know how to cope with changes during
puberty, your teen may act aggressively. If they have a mental health condition,
it can also contribute to aggressive behavior.
Is Aggressive Behavior Treated?
To work through aggressive behavior, you need to identify its underlying
It may help to talk to someone about
experiences that make you feel aggressive. In some cases, you can learn how to
avoid frustrating situations by making changes to your lifestyle or career. You
can also develop strategies for coping with frustrating situations. For
example, you can learn how to communicate more openly and honestly, without
Your doctor may recommend psychotherapy to
help treat aggressive behavior. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
can help you learn how to control your behavior. It can help you develop coping
mechanisms. It can also help you understand the consequences of your actions. Talk
therapy is another option. It can help you understand the causes of your aggression.
It can also help you work through negative feelings.
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe
medications to treat your aggressive behavior. For example, they may prescribe antiepileptic
drugs (AEDs), such as phenytoin and carbamazepine. If you have schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, or bipolar disorder,
they may prescribe mood stabilizers. They may also encourage you to take
omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
Your treatment plan will vary, depending on
the underlying causes of your aggressive behavior. Speak with your doctor to
learn more about your condition and treatment options.
Is the Outlook for Aggressive Behavior?
If you don’t deal with your aggression, it can lead to more aggressive and
violent behavior. However, there are treatment options available for aggressive
behavior. Following your doctor’s recommended treatment plan may help you gain
control, before you cause harm to yourself or others.
Aggressive behavior rarely happens without a
reason. Identifying the root causes of aggressive behavior can help you avoid
situations that trigger it. Speak with your doctor to learn how to identify and
treat the underlying causes of your aggressive behavior.