Therapy Treatments for Aggression and Violence
Comparing Violence and Aggression
The two are commonly intertwined with many feeling that they are interchangeable. Violence is described as unrestrained, often explosive behavior that's typically combative and both mentally and physically abusive. While violence also involves aggressive behavior, aggression itself isn't necessarily violence. Aggression typically involves imposing strong will toward another, often escalating to violent aggression.
Psychological Conditions Connected with Aggression and Violence
Aggression and violent behaviors can be the result of a number of disorders, including conduct disorder, passive aggressive disorder and intermittent explosive disorder. Individuals that suffer from these conditions in many cases are also dealing with anxiety, major depression, post traumatic stress, may be bipolar or have drug or alcohol abuse problems.
Treatments for Aggression and Violence Issues
Psychotherapy can be highly effective when it comes to treating these behaviors and there are an extensive range of psychotherapeutic treatment options available, largely depending on the person's life experiences and personality. One especially effective treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy, which concentrates on teaching individuals with aggressive and violent behaviors, how to control the behaviors, learning coping techniques that help channel the negative feelings and thoughts that are associated with these distressing behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy also helps the patient effectively realize the consequences of the behaviors.
This therapeutic approach encourages the patient to become aware of the vulnerable emotions that typically are behind the protective mechanisms that often lead to aggression. Once vulnerable emotions are addressed (humiliation, shame, loss, fear, etc.), aggression usually begins to dissipate. If the aggressive and/or violent behavior is involved in a relationship, everyone involved can benefit substantially from family or couples therapy.
In some cases, providing the patient with prescription medication (s) may be the only way to ensure the peace of mind and safety of everyone involved in their life. Unfortunately, while medication can reduce the behavioral problems, it can also cause undesirable side effects, including increased confusion and drowsiness. Prescription drugs can also cause physical side effects like constipation.
At Home Therapies and Building Positive Habits
Along with therapy, there are several things that the person with aggression and violent behaviors can do on their own with the biggest being to practice "thinking before they act". If they're feeling angry, they should take 10 minutes or so to cool down, maybe even practice some meditative techniques, even if it's just to take a few deep breathes.
Once the individual dealing with aggression/violent behaviors has cooled down, they'll be better able to consider what made them mad in the first place and perhaps find a better way to handle their feelings in the future, developing more positive ways to address feelings of helplessness, sadness, fear, etc.
It has also been proven that some hobbies can help treat violent behaviors including art which can strengthen the patient's sense of self and provide them with a way to express negative feelings, eventually helping them tap into more positive responses to the emotions that typically trigger aggressive/violent reactions.
Keep in mind that it's healthy to argue once in a while, as long as it doesn't lead to aggression and violence.