The Five Phases of the Aggression Cycle

Most patients with mental health disorders are not aggressive. However, it is important for nurses to be able to know the signs and symptoms associated with the five phases of aggression, and to appropriately apply nursing interventions to assist in treating aggressive patients. Please read the case study below and answer the four questions related to it. (Please cite your material). Use the APA format to cite your reference.

Aggression Case Study

Christopher, who is 14 years of age, was recently admitted to the hospital for schizophrenia. He has a history of aggressive behavior, and states that the devil is telling him to kill all adults because they want to hurt him. Christopher has a history of recidivism and noncompliance with his medications. One day on the unit, the nurse observes Christopher displaying hypervigilant behaviors, pacing back and forth down the hallway, and speaking to himself under his breath. As the nurse runs over to Christopher to talk, he sees that his bedroom door is open and runs into his room and shuts the door. The nurse responds by attempting to open the door, but Christopher keeps pulling the door shut and tells the nurse that if the nurse comes in the room, he will choke the nurse. The nurse responds by calling other staff to assist with the situation.


  1. What phase of the aggression cycle is Christopher in? (State the evidence that supports your answer).
  2. What interventions could have helped prevent this situation?
  3. What intervention(s) should the nurse implement at this point?
  4. If the staff end up having to use restraint/seclusion, what are some important steps for the nurse to remember?


Legal and Ethical Issues in Mental Health Nursing

Discuss the importance of these three topics and their application to mental health nursing. (Please cite your material).

  1. The least restrictive environment.
  2. HIPAA
  3. Autonomy.

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