Aggression, in whatever form, scares people. She has many faces and can turn against people, things, objects and things of all kinds. Actually harming someone or something is aggression. The countless reports and news appear to suggest that aggression is steadily increasing in our society.

What are aggression

Causes of aggression can be stress and social stimuli.

Actions of any kind that are purposely and purposefully performed to injure or destroy are called aggression. Aggression can be physical or verbal. There are many approaches and theories about how to define aggression.

The learning theory approach of psychology explains aggression as a learned, acquired behavior of man throughout his life. This model learning is especially common in children. Children are significantly influenced by adult human beings, by the consumption of television, by the Internet and by video games.

Aggression is therefore predominantly characterized as behavioral or emotional disposition. Violence, in contrast to it, is a form of expressing aggression. It is also considered a subset of aggression.


Aggression can also be of a familial nature. Thus, their causes may be found in a mental illness of the mother or the willingness to help the alcoholic father. In this context, there are a variety of unfavorable conditions in families and in the environment, which can be triggers of aggression.

These include, for example, family tensions, lack of positive role models, no recognition, physical violence and sexual abuse. The study "On the development of violence in Germany" by the Zurich University on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) shows that adolescents are decisively violent in two areas. These are the school on the one hand and the family on the other.

In which of the two areas children and adolescents could now be confronted with violence could not be highlighted. This study shows that the majority of adolescents exposed to home-based aggression reported mild forms of violence. Severe aggression, such as being kicked, beaten or beaten, towards children and adolescents in families is described by 15% of adolescents.

Psychology plausibly explains the aggression with the learning theory approach. Thus, aggression is learned as a particular category of behavior from humans. This basically happens in the same way as learning to swim, read or write.

Three types of learning are distinguished here:

The classic conditioning

Stimuli can trigger a certain behavior in humans. This behavior is called an unconditional reaction. This stimulus-response learning is a combination of stimulus and response that runs independently of consciousness.

The operant conditioning

Behavior is the instrument that produces the corresponding consequence. Here a distinction is made between positive and negative reinforcement, punishment and deletion. This learning process takes place under certain conditions and situations. Accordingly, the behavior later emerges only in similar situations.

Learning on the model

Learning on the model is also referred to as observation learning. A previously observed action of the model is imitated or imitated. When observing, the amplifying consequences of model behavior are also perceived. The imitated reaction does not have to be shown in a timely manner. It is mainly learned from the experienced harm or benefit of others. Since the influence of adult role models and media in childhood is particularly large, this model can often be observed here.

Diseases with this symptom

  • anxiety disorder
  • Burnout syndrome
  • psychosis
  • drug psychosis
  • rabies
  • Dissocial personality disorder
  • high blood pressure
  • alcoholism
  • alcohol addiction


Aggression is a pronounced behavioral disorder and can occur at any age. These behaviors, such as striking around, destroying objects, rioting and self-mutilation, can lead to personal or other endangerment.

Aggressive people are largely rejected by their behavior. They are marginalized. However, the more contact with the social environment stops, the higher the risk of aggression.

When should you go to the doctor?

Aggression can also be due to organic diseases. There is a cohort of people showing aggressive behaviors due to metabolic disorders and mental disabilities. Also, neurogenic changes, such as dementia, show symptoms of pronounced, aggressive behaviors.

If aggression leads to behavior that is subject to external or intrinsic risks, medical treatment becomes necessary. After first clarification by the family doctor then the specialist for psychiatry and psychotherapy or the neurologist are responsible.

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Aggression or aggressive behavior of a person presupposes that the diagnosis is a disorder characterized by a continuous pattern of dissocial behavior.

The specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy or neurologist will carry out the investigations with the help of conversations, exploration of related parties and special assessment tools for behavioral and psychodiagnostics. It is certainly clarified since when the aggressive abnormalities exist and whether causes in the development or in relation to a specific disease can be found.

There must be a differential diagnosis. Aggressive behavior can also occur in mental disorders. Examples of this would be psychosis, developmental disorders and others

However, the following diseases with a possible potential for aggression are to be clarified especially carefully:

  • Organic personality disorder, due to brain damage after an accident
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder, caused by a stressful, incisive life event
  • Adjustment disorders, as a result of drastic life changes (separation from the partner, flight).
  • Unstable personality disorders, with a tendency to quarrels and conflicts with others, which can include outbursts of violence and acts of violence.

Treatment & Therapy

Therapy should be as early as possible. Thus, an earliest possible diagnosis and consistent care is necessary. Actually, prevention begins even before the birth of the child. In this way, pregnant women from a problematic social environment can receive targeted advice. Here are the consequences of the unfavorable behavior and subsequent educational methods could be shown.

In cases of acute, aggressive behavior with a foreign or self-endangerment, hospitalization is often inevitable. Here appropriate measures are taken to achieve an improvement in the symptoms. Then the use of psychotropic drugs and especially neuroleptics in acute states of excitement is often unavoidable.

Recurring aggression can be very lengthy to chronic. They depend on the respective personality. Similar situations create recurring patterns of aggression. Here accommodation in a special facility is inevitable. For the protection of the person concerned and its environment safety aspects are to be considered.

Also isolation rooms are necessary for some situations. The treatment must be approved by the court. There are then permanent job offers to submit. Sufficient, qualified staff for the care is necessary.

A key to the person's access is regression. Persons who behave regressively leaves the field to the person concerned. This can be helpful in protecting others. The regressive remains passive and waits for the first time. He refrains from contributing any own impulses. Thus the person concerned does not encounter external obstacles with his aggressive behavior. The regressive avoids conflicts and the risk of an escalation of the situation.

Outlook & Forecast

Aggression is treated primarily through discussions with the attending physician, the knowledgeable therapist, and medication. The duration and the result of the treatments depend on the extent of the present aggression behavior and aggression potential.

There are therefore no clear guidelines for the prognosis. All negative influencing factors, which can cause or intensify the aggression are to be eliminated as far as possible.

In aggression, behavioral regulation should take place. This happens in the form of a training. The stronger the aggression disorder is, the longer the treatment will take by means of intensive training. The great difficulty that exists here is to permanently promote and maintain the motivation for this training in those affected. Training crashes are not rare here.


At the first sign, discussions should already be conducted by trusted, closely related persons. People or things that might encourage behaviors should be removed. An understanding of the present situation should be raised and shown openly.

The limitations and consequences of aggressive behavior should be demonstrated. A negative attitude should be avoided. Offers should be made for reassurance, for example by visiting a quiet room or offering tea. The more relaxed and balanced the situation is, the better the patient is to be guided and guided.

Preventive, as with other mental illness, the affiliation to an intact and stable social environment. The possibility of getting sick is thereby minimized. In addition, abstaining from drugs, alcohol and other addictive substances have a positive effect. A well-filled day that brings satisfaction provides a good foundation for a life without aggression.

You can do that yourself

Afflicted with aggression can take action and develop strategies that will vary greatly and are dependent on the nature of the disorder. It must be made clear that an indispensable, holistic therapy must distinguish the aggression disorder between self-harming and alien-damaging behavior.

As a rule, it is not the primary goal to eliminate a pronounced aggression disorder. This is often hardly possible. Therefore, it is imperative to create valves for the person concerned that he can use to control the aggression with self-discipline. Since it is in the context of the release of the urge to aggression, it is at the discretion of the therapist with the person concerned together to find suitable ways. These should be suitable for everyday use and be part of the ongoing course of therapy.

People with aggression that lead to alien and self-harm should avoid situations, things or people that might cause this behavior. In addition to the medical and psychotherapeutic treatment, relaxation exercises are very well suited. Sport is always a good way to do something good for the body and mind and, if necessary, reduce the potential for aggression.

Self-help groups offer the opportunity to exchange information regularly with those affected in a protected environment. Here your own experiences with aggression can be introduced. Those affected learn from each other to cope better with future problems. New perspectives are developed to live with aggression.

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