The psychopharmacology of aggression: Toward a new day

J. J. Ratey*, A. Gordon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Psychiatrists should reconsider the use of neuroleptics and benzodiazepines as the primary treatment for aggressive behavior, as these drugs do not have a specific anti-aggressive effect. They reduce aggression often at the cost of grave side effects (e.g., tardive dyskinesia, akathisia, and cognitive dulling). Newer regimens such as beta-blockers, serotonin- agonists and serenics have fewer side effects, and do not negatively affect cognitive or attentive functions, allowing for more effective rehabilitation of the patient. These drugs are more specific, and positively influence the four axes of cognition, attention, arousal, and mood regulation, which, if unbalanced, can lead to a higher 'noise' level, and thus increased agitation and aggression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-73
Number of pages9
JournalPsychopharmacology Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


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