What Drugs to Look for
When Anger or Aggression
are a Problem

One of the worst things that happens when someone is addicted is outbursts of anger or aggression toward his (or her) loved ones or friends. This behavior may be at such odds with past behavior that a family may be baffled and upset. What’s more, unless the family knows that the outburst stems from drug use, they may be unable to get to the bottom of the problem and prevent future problems.

A group of teens experiences the aggression of a couple of its members.

There are several drugs that can trigger anger and aggressive behavior. A spouse, parent, teacher or even teacher or minister trying to deal with this kind of personality change would be wise to keep a close eye out for any of these drugs.

Stimulants Can Cause Aggressive Behavior

The main class of drug that should be suspected is stimulants. This means cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine and synthetics nicknamed “bath salts” and “spice.” They all cause a person to feel energetic and euphoric. The severe downside of these drugs is that they cause paranoia, aggression and even delusional behavior. These negative effects are most pronounced when a person has been on a binge of drug use.

Bath salts-type drugs are cathinones, chemically similar to an Eastern Africa plant called khat. Bath salts can cause hallucinations, homicidal and suicidal behavior. If a person is using bath salts and becomes aggressive, professional help is needed.

Specific drugs in this class include mephedrone, MDPV or methylone. This type of drug is referred to as bath salts because it is often packaged with a misleading label, claiming, perhaps, that the contents are to be used “for a refreshing bath.”

Spice is a nickname for synthetic cannabinoids, drugs that resemble cannabis (marijuana) in their reactions in the body. The agitation and confusion that result from using this drug can lead a person to harm those he cares about.

Hallucinogens Cause a Person to Lose Touch with Reality

Because a person using a drug like LSD or PCP can easily believe the hallucinations he sees are real, he can harm himself or someone else while high on these drugs.

Many people think that Ecstasy is a harmless party drug but some people become paranoid and suffer panic attacks after taking it. It also has hallucinogenic qualities that can make the drug especially hazardous for some people.

Marijuana Also Belongs on This List

For decades, marijuana has been known as a drug that makes people mellow and laid back. The plant has changed so drastically that this is not always true any more. New studies link marijuana use to an increasing number of emergency room visits. The new, potent form of this drug on the market can make a person agitated, panicky and paranoid which can lead to aggression toward others. There is also an increased risk of suicide with heavy marijuana use. Some people may experience psychotic episodes after heavy use or consumption of a high dose.

Between 2007 and 2011, the number of emergency room visits involving cannabis increased 68%. Make sure you check for marijuana use if a person goes through dramatic personality changes including aggressiveness.

Synthetic Cocaine

Among the several types of synthetics on the market, a couple are classified as synthetic cocaine. One of them is usually referred to as pFBT and the other one is dimethocaine. Both are strong stimulants that can cause panic and temporary psychosis. It is easy to harm one’s family if one is suffering temporary psychosis.

A New Addition: Flakka

This new drug was originally seen in Florida communities but has since spread to Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas and Maine. It’s a strong stimulant; its full chemical name is α-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone which is usually shortened to alpha-PVP. It’s usually seen in the form of small whitish pebbles and may be nicknamed gravel.

Like other synthetics, flakka can make a person completely unaware of current surroundings which can make him dangerous to himself or others. Out of control, aggressive behavior is a definite possibility.

A loved one suddenly or gradually changing into an aggressive, angry person can be terrifying. If you know what drugs to look for, you at least have an idea of what the problem could be and how to pursue a solution.

When a person is harming himself or herself with drugs or alcohol, one thing is certain: that person needs help. If he can’t stop himself from using more drugs or drinking, then that help needs to be professional. At Narconon Ojai, those who could not stop themselves from using drugs or drinking have found the help they needed to achieve sobriety. We use only healthy methods of bringing a person back to an alert, productive condition again.

Check out our Family Health Guide for the steps you need to follow to get help for your loved one. And if you need immediate help, call us today.








For more than a decade, Karen has been researching and writing about drug trafficking, drug abuse, addiction and recovery. She has also studied and written about policy issues related to drug treatment.