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Chapter 10 Anger, Hostility, and Aggression. Anger can be a positive force It can help a person to resolve conflicts, solve problems, and make decisions Anger energizes the body physically for self-defense

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Chapter 10 Anger, Hostility, and Aggression


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    1. Chapter 10Anger, Hostility, and Aggression

    2. Anger can be a positive force It can help a person to resolve conflicts, solve problems, and make decisions Anger energizes the body physically for self-defense It activates the “fight-or-flight” response mechanisms of the sympathetic nervous system Anger can be expressed inappropriately or suppressed It can cause physical or emotional problems It can interfere with relationships Anger Is a Normal Human Emotion

    3. Hostility (verbal aggression) is an emotion expressed through verbal abuse, lack of cooperation, violation of rules or norms, or threatening behavior Physical aggression is behavior in which a person attacks or injures another person or that involves destruction of property Anger Is a Normal Human Emotion (cont’d)

    4. Anger • Appropriate expression of anger involves assertive communication skills that lead to problem-solving or conflict resolution • Anger that is expressed inappropriately can lead to hostility and aggression • Venting angry feelings by engaging in safe but aggressive activities (punching bag, yelling) is called catharsis; however, research has shown that catharsis may increase rather than alleviate angry feelings • Clients with depression may have anger attacks when they feel emotionally trapped

    5. Hostility and Aggression • Hostile and aggressive behavior may occur suddenly without warning, but often stages or phases can be identified: • Triggering • Escalation • Crisis • Recovery • Postcrisis

    6. Related Disorders • Paranoid delusions • Auditory hallucinations • Dementia, delirium, head injuries • Intoxication with alcohol or other drugs • Antisocial and borderline personality disorders • Depression • Intermittent explosive disorder

    7. Acting Out • An immature defense mechanism in which the person deals with emotional conflict or stress by actions rather than reflection or feelings • The person is trying to feel less powerless or helpless by acting out

    8. Etiology of Hostility and Aggression • Neurobiologic theories • Decreased serotonin, increased dopamine and norepinephrine; structural damage to the limbic system, damage to frontal or temporal lobes • Psychosocial theories • Failure to develop impulse control and ability to delay gratification

    9. Cultural Considerations • In certain cultures, expressing anger may be seen as rude or disrespectful • Some culture-bound syndromes involve aggressive, agitated, or violent behavior

    10. Treatments and Medications • Treatment often focuses on treating the underlying or comorbid psychiatric diagnosis • Lithium • Carbamazepine (Tegretol) or valproate (Depakote) • Atypical antipsychotics: clozapine (Clozaril), risperidone (Risperdal), and olanzapine (Zyprexa) • Benzodiazepines • Haloperidol (Haldol) and lorazepam (Ativan)

    11. Application of the Nursing Process • Assessment • Early assessment and intervention needed when clients are angry or hostile to avoid physically aggressive episodes • Nurse must assess both individual clients and the therapeutic milieu or environment • Assessment and intervention are based on five phases of aggression

    12. Application of the Nursing Process(cont’d) • Data analysis • Common nursing diagnoses: • Risk for other-directed violence • Ineffective coping

    13. Application of the Nursing Process(cont’d) • Outcome identification • The client will: • Not harm self or threaten others • Refrain from intimidating or frightening behaviors • Describe feelings and concerns without aggression • Comply with treatment

    14. Application of the Nursing Process (cont’d) • Managing the milieu includes: • Having planned activities; informal discussions • Scheduled one-to-one interactions; letting clients know what to expect • Helping clients with conflicts to solve their problems, including expression of angry feelings Interventions are most effective and least restrictive when implemented early in the cycle of aggression

    15. Intervention • Managing aggressive behavior includes: • Triggering phase • Approach in nonthreatening, calm manner • Convey empathy • Listen • Encourage verbal expression of feelings • Suggest going to a quieter area, or use of PRN medications • Physical activity such as walking

    16. Intervention (cont’d) • Escalation phase • Take control • Provide directions in firm, calm voice • Direct client to room or quiet area for time out • Offer medication again • Let client know aggression is unacceptable and that the nurse or staff will help maintain/ regain control if needed If ineffective to that point, obtain assistance from other staff (show of force) to get client to take time out or take medication

    17. Intervention (cont’d) • Crisis phase • Staff must take control of situation (trained in techniques for behavioral management) • Use restraint or seclusion only if necessary

    18. Intervention(cont’d) • Recovery phase as client regains control • Talk about the situation or trigger • Help client relax or sleep • Explore alternatives to aggressive behavior • Provide documentation of any injuries • Staff debriefing

    19. Intervention(cont’d) • Postcrisis phase • Client is removed from any restraint or seclusion and rejoins the milieu • Calm discussion of behavior, no lecturing or chastising, return to activities and groups, etc. • Focus is on appropriate expression of feelings and resolution of problems or conflicts in nonaggressive manner

    20. Application of the Nursing Process • Evaluationphase • Was the client’s anger defused in an early stage? • Did the angry, hostile, and potentially aggressive client learn to express feelings verbally and safely without threats or harm to others or destruction of property?

    21. Community-Based Care • Regular follow-up appointments, compliance with prescribed medication, and participation in community support programs help the client to achieve stability • Anger management groups are available to help clients express their feelings and learn problem-solving and conflict-resolution techniques

    22. Self-Awareness Issues • How nurse handles own angry feelings • Comfort with expression of anger from others • Ability to be calm, nonjudgmental Nurse must have assertive communication skills, conflict resolution skills, ability to see that client’s behavior/anger is not personal or a sign of nurse’s failure, and ability to deal with own fear when clients are aggressive or threatening