What Drugs Make You Aggressive

Have you ever wondered why some people become aggressive after using certain drugs? Knowing which drugs can cause aggression is important for everyone. When people use certain drugs, they can become unpredictable and even dangerous. Keep reading to find out more about the drugs that cause aggression, how to spot the signs, and what treatments are available.

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Why Do Some Drugs Make You Aggressive?

Some drugs can make you aggressive because they change how your brain works. These drugs can mess with the chemicals that control your mood and behavior, making aggression more likely. For example, stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine increase dopamine levels, which can lead to intense pleasure followed by aggression when the effects wear off. Drugs like alcohol impair judgment and lower inhibitions, making it easier to act out violently. Withdrawal from drugs can also cause irritability and anger, while hallucinogens like PCP and LSD can cause paranoia and anxiety, leading to defensive and aggressive outbursts. Long-term use of some drugs can cause lasting brain damage, further increasing the risk of aggressive behavior.

Drugs That Can Cause Aggression


  • Cocaine: This drug can make you feel very happy at first but then very angry and aggressive. Cocaine increases dopamine levels in the brain, which can lead to mood swings and irritability when the effects wear off.
  • Methamphetamine: Also known as meth, this drug can make people very violent. Methamphetamine overstimulates the central nervous system, leading to increased energy, paranoia, and aggressive behavior.


  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can lower your inhibitions, making it easier to become aggressive. It affects the brain’s frontal lobes, which control judgment and behavior, leading to poor decision-making and aggression. Long-term alcohol use can also cause permanent brain changes that increase aggression.
  • Benzodiazepines: These are drugs used to calm people down, but they can sometimes have the opposite effect and cause aggression. Paradoxical reactions, where the drug causes anxiety and irritability instead of calming, can lead to aggressive outbursts.


  • PCP: This drug can cause severe hallucinations and a loss of touch with reality, leading to aggressive behavior. PCP can induce feelings of invincibility and extreme agitation, which can result in violent actions.
  • LSD: Although not as common, high doses of LSD can cause severe anxiety and aggression. LSD can alter perceptions and cause paranoia, leading to fear-based aggression.

How to Spot Drug-Induced Aggression

Behavioral Signs:

  • Sudden Angry Outbursts: Unpredictable and intense episodes of anger that seem to come out of nowhere.
  • Physical Violence: Acts of physical aggression towards others or objects, including hitting, throwing things, or destructive behavior.
  • Increased Irritability: A generally short temper and a tendency to get annoyed or frustrated easily, often over minor issues.

Physical Signs:

  • Changes in Sleep: Irregular sleep patterns, such as insomnia or excessive sleeping, can be a sign of drug use and withdrawal.
  • Either Very Active or Very Tired: Depending on the substance, a person might be overly energetic and restless or extremely fatigued and lethargic.
  • Poor Hygiene: Neglecting personal hygiene and appearance, such as not bathing, grooming, or changing clothes regularly.

Mental Signs:

  • Paranoia: Irrational and excessive distrust or suspicion of others, often leading to defensive or aggressive behavior.
  • Mood Swings: Rapid and extreme changes in mood, from euphoria to anger or depression, can indicate substance use.
  • Poor Decision-Making: Impaired judgment and a tendency to make risky or irrational choices can contribute to aggressive actions.

Getting Help and Treatment

Addressing drug-induced aggression involves comprehensive treatment to help individuals achieve and maintain sobriety while managing their aggressive behaviors. Here are the main treatment options:

  • Detox Programs: The first step is to remove the drugs from the body safely. Detox programs help manage withdrawal symptoms and provide medical supervision to ensure a safe and comfortable process. Detoxification lays the foundation for further treatment by stabilizing the individual physically and mentally.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP): These programs provide treatment while allowing individuals to continue their daily lives. They include therapy to help manage aggression, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which teaches coping skills and strategies for controlling aggressive impulses. IOPs offer flexibility and support, making it easier for individuals to balance treatment with their responsibilities.
  • Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP): offer more intensive treatment with medical supervision and therapy. PHPs provide a structured environment during the day, where individuals participate in various therapeutic activities, including individual counseling, group therapy, and family therapy. This level of care benefits those who need more support than an IOP can provide but do not require 24-hour inpatient care.
  • Aftercare Services: After initial treatment, ongoing support is important. This includes counseling and support groups to help maintain sobriety and manage aggression. Aftercare services may also involve regular check-ins with a therapist, participation in 12-step programs, and access to resources like sober living homes. Continued support helps individuals navigate challenges and reduces the risk of relapse.
  • Family Support: Involving family members in the treatment process can be crucial. Family therapy sessions can help repair relationships, improve communication, and provide a supportive network for the individual in recovery.
  • Medication Management: In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, or treat co-occurring mental health disorders. Medication management is often combined with therapy to provide a holistic approach to treatment.
  • Holistic Therapies: Incorporating holistic therapies such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and art therapy can enhance the treatment process. These therapies help individuals manage stress, develop healthier coping mechanisms, and improve overall well-being.

Contact Our Team

Knowing which drugs can make you aggressive is important for keeping yourself and others safe. If you or someone you know is experiencing drug-induced aggression, it’s important to seek help. 12 South Recovery in Orange County offers comprehensive treatment programs to help individuals recover and manage aggression.
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At 12 South Recovery, we aim to help restore balance to every area of life – treating the mind, body and spirit so our clients are able to find lasting recovery from addiction and other co-occurring disorders. Our unique Treatment Programs aim to address both addiction and the underlying causes.

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