Tags: Anger. Mental health. Emotions. Anger management. Depression. Anxiety.
“Emotions are given to us to move us to action.
Anger moves us to address injustice.
Fear makes us take precautions.
Sadness helps us to slow down and process our losses.”
– Remy Diederich
Anger is an emotion;
E= energy – motion = movement.
Energy in motions has a purpose, which is to let us know how we are feeling. Emotions are a complex state of feeling that leads to physical and psychological changes. They are a form of communication that lets us; and others; know how we are feeling.
What is an anger disorder?
- Anger disorders are described as pathologically aggressive, violent or self-destructive behaviours symptomatic of and driven by an underlying and chronically repressed anger or rage.
- Anger disorders result primarily from the long-term mismanagement of anger, a process in which normal, existential anger grows insidiously over time into resentment, bitterness, hatred and destructive rage.
- Anger disorders may also be caused or exacerbated by neurological impairment and substance abuse, both of which can inhibit one’s ability to resist aggressive, angry or violent impulses.
A leading cause of anger is a person’s environment. Stress, financial issues, abuse, poor social or familial situations, and overwhelming requirements on your time and energy can contribute to the formation of anger.
Anger issues maybe prevalent in individuals who were raised by parents with the same disorder. Genetics and your body’s ability to deal with certain chemicals and hormones may also determine how you deal with anger. For the most part, anger disorders cannot be blamed on bad neurology, genes or biochemistry. They arise from a failure to recognize and consciously address anger as it arises, before it becomes pathological and dangerous, starting in childhood.
Anger becomes a problem when it begins to affect a person’s daily life and causes them to react in ways that might hurt themselves, and/or others around them (reachout.com). Anger vs aggression Anger can lead to people being aggressive or violent, but they are not the same.
Anger is a feeling, but aggression and violence are actions. Anger can sometimes feel intense and overwhelming, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to violent or aggressive behaviour.
Signs that anger may be a problem include:
- feeling angry a lot of the time, at an intense and overwhelming level
- having trouble controlling anger
- feeling down and distressed because of getting angry, or using alcohol or drugs to manage anger
- feeling the need to use anger to get people to do something
- withdrawing from people or situations and bottling things up, rather than dealing with them
- expressing anger by saying or doing something aggressive or violent (e.g., shouting, swearing, throwing or hitting things). Anger can be our way of expressing or responding to a range of other
- feelings, such as Embarrassment or humiliation
- Guilt or shame
- Hurt or sadness
- Feeling unable to control a situation
- Feeling threatened or frightened
- Feeling unfairly treated
- Feeling misunderstood or not listened to
- Feeling the pressure of living in two worlds (that is, First Nation Peoples and non-Indigenous)
- Feeling a loss of connection to family, community or country (https://headspace.org.au/).
Emotional Symptoms of Anger-Related Problems
You might think the emotional symptom of anger-related problems are limited to anger, but several emotional states could indicate that you are failing to deal with anger in a positive and healthy fashion. Constant irritability, rage and anxiety are possible emotional symptoms. Physical Symptoms of Anger-Related Problems Strong emotions often bring about physical changes to the body, and anger is no exception.
Letting anger issues go unaddressed can put your overall health at risk. Some physical symptoms of anger-related problems include:
- Heart palpitations or tightening of the chest
- Increased blood pressure
- Pressure in the head or sinus cavities
Fatigue Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Anxiety
Unresolved anger issues lead to anxiety, which can have long-term effects on your life. Immediate effects of anxiety might include dizziness, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle pain, muscle tension, headaches, and problems with concentration and memory.
Such symptoms can make it difficult to perform routine tasks and can add to generalized anger about life. Long-term anxiety can pose dangerous risks to your physical and emotional states. Individuals who suffer from long bouts of anxiety can be at a greater risk for strokes. Serious memory loss, chronic sleep disorders and relationship issues can also develop. Before your anger and anxiety wreak havoc with your entire life.
Depression and Anger
Depression and anger go hand in hand and can cause a revolving cycle that’s hard to break. Lashing out in anger can lead to alienation and feelings of guilt, which can lead to depression. Long-term depression can make it difficult to handle emotions, increasing the likelihood of anger outbursts.
Often, the only way to break this cycle is to seek professional help.
Dual Diagnosis: Addiction and Anger
Drug and alcohol addictions can decrease your ability to deal with anger. It’s important to seek treatment options that deal with emotional and physical issues related to your disorder. A treatment program that addresses anger without dealing with addiction leaves you vulnerable to emotional issues in the future. Likewise, attending a group to discuss your addiction without mentioning your struggle with anger makes it likely you’ll use drugs or alcohol to deal with emotional pain in the future (apa.org).
Recognising when you’re angry
If you recognise the physical signs that you’re becoming angry, you may be able to control your actions. You might notice:
- your muscles feel tight, especially the muscles in your jaw or arms
- you feel increased pressure in your head – like it ‘might explode’
- your face feels flushed
- you have an increased heart rate, heavy breathing, and sweating.
STOP, DONT GET ANGRY
Managing your Anger
Everyone feels angry sometimes. Anger can be a good thing because it allows us to express negative emotions. It’s what we do when we’re angry that can cause problems. Remind yourself that it’s okay for you to be angry and think about why you’re feeling this way. When you realise the real reason for your anger, it is much easier to work out solutions to it.
Can anger be controlled?
It’s difficult to always avoid situations that make you to angry, however, you can learn how to control your angry reactions:
- avoid consuming alcohol or drugs
- become aware of the trigger points that might make you feel angry
- practice relaxation techniques
- active listening and empathy; try to understand how your anger feels/ sounds to people around you.
It’s useful to gain insights into angry impulsive behaviours if it’s impacting your relationship with your family, friends or colleagues. Consider how people you admire or get along with express anger.
If you’re not sure why you’re angry, you could try asking yourself questions like;
- Did someone do or say something that upset me?
- Do I have other feelings right now that might affect the way I’m reacting, like being sad or embarrassed, or feeling a loss of connection to my mob?
- Does the situation bring up bad memories?
- When you are angry, think about how your body feels. If you are tense, take some long deep breaths and focus on your breathing, or tense and release some of your muscles. Dealing with your body’s reactions to anger can help to calm your emotions and find a better way of expressing them.
- Take a break. Walk away from a situation until you’ve calmed down. This will stop you from acting in a way that hurts you or someone else. Some people find that reconnecting with country can also help.
- Use delay or distraction. Try counting slowly to 10 or doing something physical, like housework, push-ups or bouncing a ball. This will take your mind off what is making you angry and can stop you from saying or doing something that you might regret.
- Accept responsibility for your own feelings (“I am angry!” not “You made me mad!”).
- Avoid a “win-lose” position. The attitude that “I am going to win, and you are going to lose” will more likely result in both losing. If you stay flexible, both can win – at least in part.
- Gain the same information about the situation.
Because perceptions so often differ, it helps to make everything explicit (healthdirect.gov.au). The problem is in society, we condemn and denigrate the effects of anger as negative, worthless or evil, ignoring and denying its positive potentialities. Our own fear of our emotions needs to shift, and anger must be consciously acknowledged, accepted, understood and its indestructibly dynamic energy redirected into some positive or creative activity.
As a culture we need to encourage the acceptance of anger as a natural phenomenon, and teach children, adolescents and young adults how to manage and express it more constructively.