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How to Deal with Attention Deficit Disorder Aggression

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: Linda Richter • updated: 12/30/2010

Attention deficit disorder aggression is not uncommon. Here we will explore this problem as well as coping strategies.

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    Attention deficit disorder is a condition in which the patient exhibits chronic behavior patterns of no impulse control and inattentiveness. Attention deficit disorder aggression is something some patients experience. It may also occur as a result of comorbid disorders, such as conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder. Understanding the aggression associated with attention deficit disorder and how to cope with it will help the patient and those caring for them.

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    Aggression and ADD

    Many believe that a patient's aggressive behavior is associated with distraction instead of an issue of its own. Some parents and caregivers blame themselves for the patient's aggressiveness and inaccurately feel they have something to do with this. Those experiencing aggression may use it as a coping mechanism when they are in situations in which they feel uncomfortable. They become aggressive at inappropriate times and do so in ways that are self-defeating. They tend to fight with their peers more often than others and argue with teachers and other authority figures.

    For some patients, developing nervous systems may be associated with aggression. Patients seem like they are physiologically unable to take control of impulses, or they may need to practice and learn social skills. Attention deficit disorder aggression is often rewarded. Those who are acting out are given attention because of this, though the person giving them attention does not mean it as a reward.

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    Coping

    One of the best ways of dealing with attention deficit disorder aggression is to identify the patterns that trigger the patient's aggression. Some patients are only aggressive when they are out in public, while others are only aggressive when they are at home. Most patients will go through a sequence of events that is predictable prior to losing control. Once such triggers are identified, simply helping the patient avoid them will help to keep their aggression under control.

    Routine and structure are also helpful. Having a predictable schedule helps aggressive patients remain in control and calm. Teaching the patient ways that are appropriate to get what they need and want is also helpful. It is also important for caregivers to be assertive, but never aggressive, around the patient. This will make it easier to teach them the difference between assertiveness and aggression.

    Both patients and caregivers need to learn to focus on the positive aspects of the situation instead of the negative aspects. This will help everyone involved notice the patient's improvement and remain in control. Caregivers should also avoid reacting with aggression or another negative reaction to the patient who is being aggressive. Trying to calm the patient and remaining neutral will benefit all involved.

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    Resources

    National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2010). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Retrieved on December 28, 2010 from the National Alliance on Mental Illness: http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=54&ContentID=23047

    HealthCentral.com. (2010). Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Retrieved on December 28, 2010 from HealthCentral.com: http://www.healthcentral.com/encyclopedia/408/639.html