The Pharmacotherapy of Impulsive Aggression in Psychopathic Disorders

Alan R. Felthous, Matthew S. Stanford

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This chapter focuses on the psychopharmacology of impulsive aggression, a topic often overlooked in otherwise comprehensive studies on the programmatic treatment of psychopathic disorders and factors favoring successful conditional release, probation, and parole, as well as institutional treatment and management of psychopathically disordered inmates. The Cochrane Database review on the pharmacotherapy of antisocial personality disorder concluded that the evidence is insufficient to permit conclusions about the use of pharmacological treatment of antisocial personality disorder. The chapter addresses in particular the pharmacotherapy of impulsive aggression, one of the most troublesome dimensions of psychopathic disorders. Impulsive aggression is a quick, strombolian overreaction, emotionally charged, typically with anger or rage, to a slight provocation with behavioral dyscontrol. A useful framework for the study and understanding of personality in general and impulsive aggression in particular is the multidimensional closed‐feedback system, which extends from birth and throughout life, proposed by Barratt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Wiley International Handbook on Psychopathic Disorders and the Law, 2nd Edition
Subtitle of host publicationDiagnosis and Treatment: Volume I and II
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781119159322
ISBN (Print)9781119159292
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Cochrane Database review
  • Impulsive aggression
  • Multidimensional closed‐feedback system
  • Multidimensional closed‐feedback system
  • Pharmacological treatment
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Psychopathic disorders
  • Psychopharmacology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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