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How to Deal with Anger Issues? Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis 

Learn more about anger issues and find the help you need at Anew. We can provide patients with the tools and resources to manage their anger effectively.

What Are Anger Issues?

Anger is natural, and everyone experiences it multiple times during their lifetime. However, if these angry feelings are persistent, overwhelming, and have a negative impact on your life and the lives of those around you, it may be time to seek help. This article will explore the symptoms, causes, and diagnosis of anger issues. We will also provide tips on dealing with anger in a healthy manner.

Anger Issues

Anger Issues Definition

According to Charles Spielberger, Ph.D., anger is “an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage.” Generally, anger issues are caused by external or internal events. For instance, the anger could be directed at a person, event, or personal problem. Additionally, traumatic memories can trigger an overwhelming angry response.1

Anger is a feeling or emotion that can appear as mild irritation, intense range, or something in between. It can become an anger management disorder if anger is felt too intensely, too often, or inappropriately. Anger issues place physical and mental strain on the body.2 

How Are Anger Issues Different from Normal Anger?

In contrast to normal anger one might experience, anger issues are present when a person’s typical response to various situations is frequent or aggressive. For some people, ongoing anger issues can become a maladaptive habit resulting in negative consequences. Regular or constructive anger is expressed assertively without aggression to get needs met or respond to threats.2

Types of Anger Issues

Anger management issues can present in different people in many different ways. Typically, individuals will display inward, outward, or passive types of anger issues. The following sections will explore what these terms mean and how they intersect.

Inward Anger

When a person suppresses or holds in their angry feelings, they also prevent healthy outward expression. With this response, inward anger can result in physical health problems such as depression, hypertension, or high blood pressure. Some people also self-harm and negative self-talk, which can impact a person’s outward interactions with others as well.

Outward Anger

Outward anger management issues can involve swearing, shouting, slamming doors, throwing things, and physical violence towards others. Verbal abuse and threatening language are also a part of outward anger. 

Passive Anger

A person displays passive or non-violent anger when they indirectly express their emotions without openly addressing them in an outward or inward manner. For instance, passive aggression can include ignoring people, being sarcastic, or refusing to complete tasks to spite others.3 

Signs and Symptoms of Anger Issues

If someone is frequently angry or becomes overly angry in small situations, it can be helpful to understand the signs, causes, and symptoms of anger management disorder. Read on to learn about anger issues symptoms and the common signs of anger issues.

Physical Symptoms of Anger

Physical anger issues symptoms can include tightness in the chest, increased heart rate, tense muscles, feeling hot, sweating, shaking, and dizziness. In addition to the physical symptoms of experiencing anger issues, there are behavioral signs of anger issues to look out for. These can include clenched fists, staring intensely at others, and raising voices in response to others.

Emotional Symptoms of Anger

Emotional anger issues symptoms include feelings of guilt, nervousness, an inability to relax, resentment, irritation, and humiliation. Emotional symptoms of anger often present themselves more inwardly than physical symptoms do, but they can be just as important when diagnosing what anger management disorder someone might have. They also can negatively impact relationships with others, especially if they end up becoming outward signs if they’re bottled up for too long.

What Causes Anger Issues?

What are the causes of anger issues? For people dealing with anger issues, their anger management disorder could stem from many different places. The causes of anger issues can be genetic, physiological, sociocultural, or based on a person’s family background. For example, some people are taught from a young age that anger, whether constructive or deconstructive, is negative.

Mental Disorders That Cause Anger

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), part of the criterion for five specific mental health disorders involves controlling anger. Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder can all involve anger management issues.4 

Anger Issues Diagnosis

Although anger issues by itself is not a mental health diagnosis, there are multiple anger management disorders. To receive an appropriate assessment, it’s crucial to discuss the possibility of an anger issues diagnosis with a mental health professional.

Anger Issues Symptoms Test

When getting an assessment for an anger management disorder, trained mental health professionals use psychological tests. These types of tests can measure the intensity of angry feelings, how likely a person is to develop angry feelings during a stressful situation, and how they handle that anger. The results of an anger issues test will determine whether a person meets the clinical criteria for an anger management diagnosis.

Anger Issues

How To Deal with Anger Issues

There are three main methods for dealing with anger issues: expressing, suppressing, and calming. During anger issues treatment, individuals can learn to express their angry emotions assertively and in a healthy way instead of aggressively. Anger issues can also be suppressed and redirected in a constructive way. Lastly, people can learn to deal with their anger issues using self-calming techniques.

As we all know, discussing anger issues is relatively simple from the outside looking in. However, it becomes significantly more challenging to deal with angry emotions effectively in a heated moment. The following sections will explore anger management exercises, relaxation techniques, therapeutic treatments, support groups, and anger issues medication.

Anger Management Exercises at Home

On stressful days where it might be harder to deal with anger issues, it can be helpful to set aside personal time for self-care. This can help provide time for individuals to work through their emotions in a healthy way. Other at-home anger management strategies can include an anger control plan, exercise program, or adult timeout.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques for dealing with anger issues include deep breathing, imagery, and slow exercises such as yoga. These can aid in calming down emotions from the day and doing so in a healthy manner without lashing out. 

Behavioral Therapy

A trained professional can help address angry behavioral patterns during anger issues treatment. A mental health professional may teach Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), enhanced personal awareness, anger disruption, acceptance, and forgiveness. CBT is a type of behavioral therapy that addresses unhelpful thinking and teaches individuals how to cope with these thinking patterns in a healthy way.5,6  

Support Groups

Peer support groups can be an invaluable resource when receiving treatment for anger issues. For many people, it is helpful to discuss everyday challenges and emotions with peers that can relate.

Anger Issues Medication

Depending on a person’s symptoms and various clinical factors, a treatment provider may recommend medication. For example, some clinicians prescribe topiramate as a prescription drug to help. If you or a loved one are interested in medication management for anger issues, consult your medical or mental health treatment provider.7 

Finding Recovery at Anew Treatment Center

If you or a loved one are struggling with uncontrollable anger or are finding yourselves more angry than usual, Anew Treatment Center provides comprehensive assessments and treatment programs for anger issues. Getting help for these anger management issues is imperative for maintaining healthy emotions and for cultivating positive relationships with ourselves and others. Whether it’s a support group or more intensive behavioral care that is needed, taking the first step to get the help you or a loved one need is imperative for helping deal with and control overwhelming or unwanted anger.

Contact our friendly concierge and support team today to schedule an evaluation or learn more about services! We are available to help with a multitude of anger management issues.

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