Abstract Mental health nurses often provide care to individuals who have the potential for aggressive behavior. The expression of such behavior is influenced by the functioning of the central nervous system (CNS). The authors present a framework to assist the reader to understand the interrelationships among the limbic system, and frontal and temporal lobes as they relate to the expression of aggressive behavior. The implications for mental health nursing practice include detecting contributing factors such as head injury, temporal lobe epilepsy, alcoholism, and dietary imbalances, and interpreting patient behaviors to colleagues. Suggestions for proactive interventions are also included.