Managing Anger and Aggression in Patients With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Rachel Yehuda, Ph.D.

This article discusses the evolving concept of posttraumatic stress disorder as a clinical entity, the association of anger and aggression with the disorder, and the psychopharmacologic approaches totreatment. Posttraumatic stress disorder is a relatively new diagnosis that is still evolving as a clinical concept. Although not formally considered as diagnostic criteria, anger and aggression are common features of posttraumatic stress disorder, and it is timely to consider the management of patients with these associated features. Controlled data on pharmacotherapy of the disorder are limited, but patients seem to benefit most when medications target specific symptoms or symptom clusters. Preliminary data indicate a role for anticonvulsants in the treatment of the impaired impulse control and violent outbursts that often accompany posttraumatic stress disorder. Controlled studies are needed.

(J Clin Psychiatry 1999;60[suppl 15]:33-37)