Introduction to aggressive behavior
Aggressive behavior often results from physical and emotional harm to other people. This abuse could be a verbal or physical abuse.
Aggressive behavior always goes against social boundaries – break relationships, destroy property, etc.
It is common to be occasionally aggressive even when a situation is right. When you have recurring bouts of aggressive behaviors, then you should have a talk with your doctor about it.
Aggressive behavior will make you feel impulsive, restless, irritable, and out of control. It can be expressed secretly or openly.
It’s possible to act in an aggressive manner intentionally. And there are times you might not even know your actions are socially unacceptable. Aggressive behaviors can be a revenge mechanism in releasing your anger. It might also be an attempt to provoke a particular person. There are also instances where you can be aggressive on yourself.
If you can understand the causes of aggressive behavior you can know how to address it.
What causes aggressive behavior?
Many things have been outlined below as factors that can negatively influence your behavior
- societal or socioeconomic factors
- physical health
- life experiences
- mental health
- relationships with others
- family structure
- work environment
- school environment
- individual traits
When an adult feels frustrated or is going through an unpleasant situation, he can act aggressively. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, etc. can induce you to exhibit aggressive behavior.
Health Causes of Aggressive Behavior
Certain mental health anomalies can as well bring about an outburst of aggressive behavior
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- autism spectrum disorder
- conduct disorder
- bipolar disorder
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- intermittent explosive disorder
Damage to your brain can place a limit on your capability to manage aggression. You may have brain damage because of:
- a head injury
- certain infections
- a stroke
- certain illnesses
Different mental health situations can play a role in the development of aggressive behaviors.
Autism, for instance, can make you act aggressively in situations that make you feel
Bipolar disorders, conduct disorder, and other brain-related disorders can also predispose you to act aggressively.
Causes of aggressive behavior in children
Children can also experience aggressive behavior in the following instances:
- underlying health conditions
- poor relational skills
Children can copy a violent behavior they encounter in their everyday life. It’s possible for most parents or elderly persons to ignore or applaud kids that acted aggressively without knowing that they are indirectly sponsoring more of such behaviors from them.
A child that has paranoia or schizophrenia will likely lash out very often because of some inner fears, suspicion, etc.
A child that has bipolar disorder will probably be aggressive when he is in the manic phase of the condition.
Depression in kids can get them irritated and consequently make them act aggressively towards others or even on themselves.
Other instances when a child can express aggressive behavior that might be seen as socially unacceptable are:
- when he has trouble coping with his emotions
- when he finds it very difficult to manage frustration
- When he has a disruptive disorder such as ADHD
- when he has an autism spectrum disorder
- when he has cognitive impairments
Frustrated kids can find it extremely hard expressing how they feel. So rather than speak out, they act out – aggressive behavior!
Causes in Teens
Aggressive behavior in teens is very common. Many teens can act in very rude manners and even get into arguments. Aggressive behaviors in them can occur regularly if they:
- bully others
- yell during arguments
- get into fights
It is also possible to act aggressively in response to:
- unhealthy relationships with loved ones
- peer pressure
- substance abuse
Puberty is one stressful time for most teens that they can develop aggressive behavior as they undergo changes in their body. It can even result in other mental disorders.
How is aggressive behavior treated?
Working through an aggressive behavior first requires that you identify the specific cause.
Talking to someone about your experiences about the aggressive part of you can help you remain in control of those emotions.
You should as occasions demand, learn to avoid situations that can get you frustrated. This might mean you changing your lifestyle, career, residence etc.
Learn how you can honestly and openly communicate your feelings without gettingaggressive about it.
Your doctor will recommend that you have psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT has proven to be very good in helping aggressive people
Talk therapy is another great option you can opt for. With talk therapy, you will come to understand what can cause your aggression. Plus, with it, you can help yourself work through bad feelings.
Prescribed medications is another way your doctor might help you manage your aggressive behavior. Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) i.e. carbamazepine and phenytoin are a good example of prescription medications.
Mood stabilizers such as omega-3 fatty acid supplements will be recommended if Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorders are responsible for your aggressive behaviors.
So, you see that the way you will be treated will depend on the cause of aggressive behavior. More treatment options might be available for you. Speak to your doctor to find them out.
What is the outlook for aggressive behavior?
Aggression, when not properly addressed can develop into more aggressive behavior. However, getting the right treatment options as recommended by your doctor can help you be in control of your emotions and prevent you from harming others.
Aggressive behavior hardly occurs without a reason attached to it. If you can identify its actual cause, then you are a step closer to starting your treatment. It can also help you stay away from likely triggers for it. Our doctor should show you
What’s the best approach to determining whether a loved one is been emotionally reactive or manifesting an aggressive behavior?
Unfortunately, this question does not have an easy answer!
In most events of abuse, the abuser often times argues that he didn’t intend it that way, apologizes or feels remorse.
Abusive behaviors often occur with minimal or no provocation at all. However, if aggressiveness is witnessed within the limits of what one would normally expect in a given situation, then that’s a good pointer. Let me explain what I just submitted. If you are being physically threatened now, you will likely respond in an aggressive way. But if you keep reacting to a particular person for instance in an aggressive way, it might mean there is something more serious than the eyes can meet. It might be that that particular person has been abusing you in some ways and hence your reactions. I believe with this understanding, you can use this to assess any other situation including that from a loved one.
Tonika Bruce, MSN, RN, MBA. is an accomplished nurse leader, published author, and personal development expert passionate about advancing healthcare management and quality patient outcomes.
She taps into the years of experience in healthcare management to produce credible and easy-to-understand health and leadership content. Her exceptional work has been featured in reputable publications, including Forbes, Recruiter, Inc, and the Color of Wellness magazine.