Psychopharmacology of Human Aggression: Laboratory and Clinical Studies
This chapter discusses the association between drugs and human aggression, laboratory studies of human aggression, and effects of drugs on human aggression under laboratory conditions. It argues that methodological difficulties often prevent unequivocal interpretations of the outcomes of pharmacological treatments of aggression. Conducting well-designed placebo-controlled studies in an inpatient setting is difficult, as drug-free washout periods may be unsafe for both patients and staff. Thus, it is clinically difficult to assess whether a reduction in aggression is a specific effect of the pharmacological agent or of nonspecific effects of medications such as neuroleptics and benzodiazepines commonly used for the management of specific Axis I and Axis II disorders. Nonpharmacological factors, such as the therapeutic milieu, can affect treatment outcome and should be considered when evaluating the efficacy of a pharmacotherapeutic intervention for aggression.
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