Aggression: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/29/2020

Aggression refers to hostile, angry, or violent behavior or thoughts. Aggression is potentially dangerous when directed at oneself or others. Sometimes, people feel experience aggression when provoked, but exaggerated or persistent aggression can be a feature of underlying emotional or medical conditions. People with dementia or brain injury due to various causes may display aggression.

Depending upon the cause of aggression, it can be associated with other symptoms, including

Aggression may take the form of

  • threatening behavior,
  • physical attack,
  • self-harm,
  • destruction of property,
  • verbal threats, or
  • disruptive behavior.

Aggression can also be seen in some psychiatric conditions that involve disordered thinking, such as schizophrenia.

Other causes of aggression


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.