Drugs & Health Blog

Addicted to Aggression?

©Shutterstock/Marcelo Ricardo Daros

The NIDA Blog Team

Aggressive behavior can be physical (shoving or hitting somebody) or verbal (yelling at someone or saying something mean to them). What does a person who exhibits behavior like that have in common with someone who has a substance use disorder?

Your first guess may be, “Nothing!” They seem like completely separate problems. However, research is finding that’s not totally true.

What’s the link?

Scientists who study the brain and behavior have discovered that those who tend to be aggressive and hostile and those with substance use disorders are alike in two ways:

  1. Both groups are likely to engage in behaviors that could hurt others or themselves—even when they know the result could be harmful.
  2. If they stop doing those harmful behaviors, both groups can relapse (engage in the behaviors again), even if they haven’t done them for a long time.

What’s going on here? Scientists think that some people are more likely than others to develop “compulsive” (uncontrollable) aggression—and that this involves some of the same brain activity that gets disrupted with a substance use disorder. Further research into the brain could reveal why some people are more inclined than others to use drugs or to act aggressively.

Addiction is a disease

If you or someone you know or love is struggling with an addiction, the best thing you can do for them (and yourself) is to ask for help. See this blog post for more information.

Categories: 
Brain Science
Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.

Comments

I never knew that aggression was considered an addiction. Substance abusers and people addicted to aggression have many things in common such as they both can relapse if they stop. Also they can both hurt themsleves or pthers very badly.
Not sure how aggresion could be an addiction. I feel its more of a way someone is, just kinda how they are.
I dont feel that addiction starts as a disease it is a choice. So i disagree with that part of the article. i do think its interesting that theres a link between compulsive aggresive behavior and drug use
I dont feel that addiction starts as a disease it is a choice. So i disagree with that part of the article. i do think its interesting that theres a link between compulsive aggresive behavior and drug use
Of course doing drugs harmful to your BRAIN can affect emotions even after a long time
I wonder how some people can be more likely to develop a drug problem than others. I never really thought about how aggression and drug use can be so closely related. Stop and ponder the consequences before you use drugs.
You would never think that drug use and aggression have something in common or that you could be addicted to aggression but you can and it can be really bad and uncontrollable.
Both people can hurt themselves by dying by drugs or getting in fights so
I would have thought that these problems were the same before reading this. Also, it’s very interesting that aggressive people and people with substance use disorders have a lot in common.
It’s crazy how easily people can get addicted to aggression. I also never knew that aggression could count as a disease. I would’ve never thought it was that severe.
you shouldn't touch anyone in a harmful way. if this leads to drugs you especially shouldn't do it. you never want to be addicted to anything that hurts yourself or others.
This article was informative on how aggression shown to one another between teens can have serious effects on both parties and their peers. It’s also informative in that the rush that the brain gets from addiction is similar to that of the rush of a drug addiction.
I completely disagree with this article. I think Aggression is a category of anger which is an emotion not a disease. If you have anger issues it is still not a disease it is a disability.
I like the fact that we were able to learn about another type of addiction, as there are so many besides just drugs. This also may be more relatable for a lot of people, incluing me, sho know someone who was addicted to agression. It is also intersting how some of the signs/side efects are similar to that of drug abuse, despite the fact that no actual drugs are involved.
I thought that people who show aggression wouldn't have anything in common compared to someone who is on a substance use disorder. I too thought that it is two separate problems and was 100% positive in my answer. But I guess I was wrong and now I learned something.
I think it’s sad that some people have to deal with compulsive aggression and might have to deal with the side affects such as might having to relapse or harm themselves
I learned that being aggressive and mean to people in it’s own way, kind of a drug. You can relapse if they have been aggressive in awhile, like drugs.
I don’t understand how aggressive behavior can be considered a disease. Just because someone is uncontrollably mean or aggressive I don’t think it’s a disease. They need some help and it shouldn't be considered a disease.
This article is very interesting I never knew that those to things are related. Also people should have better way to manage aggression.
I don’t understand how aggressive behavior can be considered a disease. Just because someone is uncontrollably mean or aggressive I don’t think it’s a disease. They need some help and it shouldn't be considered a disease.
this article is about how people with substance disorders are more aggressive with social interactions and how they can’t stop themselves

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