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Home > Wellness Resources > Health Library > Anger, Hostility, and Violent Behavior
Anger signals your body to
prepare for a fight. This reaction is commonly classified as "fight or flight."
When you get angry, adrenaline and other hormones are released into the
bloodstream. Then your blood pressure goes up, your heart beats faster, and you
Many people mistakenly believe that anger is always
a bad emotion and that expressing anger is not okay. In reality, anger can be a
normal response to everyday events. It is the right response to any situation
that is a real threat. Anger can be a positive driving force behind our
actions. Anger can also be a symptom of something else, depending on how often
a person feels angry and how angry the person feels.
Hostility is being ready for a fight all the time. Hostile
people are often stubborn, impatient, hotheaded, or have an "attitude." They are
frequently in fights or may say they feel like hitting something or someone.
Hostility isolates you from other people.
Anger and constant
hostility keep your
blood pressure high and increase your chances of
having another health problem, such as
heart attack, or a
Teens who say they often feel
angry and hostile also more often feel
stressed, sad, and
fatigued. They have more problems with alcohol and
drug abuse, smoking, and eating disorders than teens who do not have high
levels of anger.
Violent behavior often
begins with verbal threats or relatively minor incidents, but over time it can
involve physical harm. Violent behavior is very damaging, both physically and
emotionally. Violent behavior can include physical, verbal, or sexual abuse of
an intimate partner (domestic violence), a child (child abuse), or an older adult (elder abuse).
causes more injury and death in children, teenagers, and young adults than
infectious disease, cancer, or birth defects. Murder,
suicide, and violent injury are the leading causes of
death in children. Violence with guns is one of the leading causes of death of
children and teenagers in the United States.
If you are angry or hostile
or if you have violent behavior, it is important to find help. You can learn ways to
control your feelings and actions.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The
problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, you need
Call911or other emergency services now.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind
of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.
The risk of a suicide attempt is
If you are angry, hostile, or
violent, it is important to find help. You can learn ways to control your
feelings and actions.
There are some things you can do to try to control any feelings of anger or hostility and avoid violence.
Call your doctor to
evaluate your feelings if your anger, hostility, or violent behavior becomes
more frequent or severe.
To prevent anger and hostility and to avoid
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to
answer the following questions:
While waiting for your appointment, it may be helpful to keep
a diary of your feelings.
September 5, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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