The Basics of Anger Management
Effective anger management works on two levels. First, it helps you learn techniques that can aid you in controlling your outbursts and teach you how to stay calm even when triggered. On a second level, it helps you begin to learn what healthy anger is and that anger can and should be a normal but non-disruptive part of life.
All of us experience feelings of anger. It can even be helpful, allowing people to process issues such as trauma or grief and smaller things, as well. When someone has an anger disorder, however, their anger is disruptive and destructive, hurting the individual and those around the individual.
What is Healthy Anger?
How do we recognize healthy anger? Learning to do this is an essential part of learning anger management. Learning the difference between healthy anger and disordered anger can also help someone understand whether or not anger management is the right choice for them.
Healthy anger does not interfere with your quality of life. It doesn’t destroy relationships, get you fired from work, or end friendships. Healthy anger comes and goes, and the person who deals with anger well is able to acknowledge it and take responsibility for it.
Disordered Anger: How Common is It?
There can be a good deal of stigma associated with something like anger disorder, leaving people in a place where they don’t feel comfortable getting help. It is important to understand that they are not alone in this condition. Seven percent of adults in the US are said to have Intermittent Explosive Disorder, for example. Rates may be even higher in adolescents. You are not alone, and a trained MHP can help you by administering non-judgemental compassionate care.
Anger Management Therapy: How it Can Help
Disordered anger leaves you feeling as if your life is full of chaos and that you will never be able to get through. By working with trained professionals to learn anger management techniques, you can begin to bring balance and stability into your life and relationships.
Treating anger through anger management can involve individual therapy, group therapy, or medication. Whether you use one or all three depends on the special plan of intervention you develop in partnership with your MHP.
Anger Disorder – The Symptoms
When most of us think of anger, we think of huge and even violent outbursts. People can express anger, however, in less obvious and more passive ways. Sometimes the anger turns inward and symptoms might include using a sarcastic tone with others, feeling apathetic towards others, or even engaging in self-destructive behaviors.
Symptoms of Anger Disorder:
- Suppressed or passive rage
- Focusing on negative aspects of life
- Engaging in violence
- Destroying property
- Making threats towards others
- Engaging in reckless driving
- Picking fights or arguments
- High irritability
- Making others feel as if they always have to be careful around you
Since anger disorder often comes with violent tendencies, others can suffer at the hands of someone with this disorder. While we should understand that anger disorder is a disease deserving of compassionate care, no one should stay in a violent situation. Anyone suffering at the hands of a person with an anger disorder should seek help and not excuse the actions of the individual with this disorder.
Depression and Its Relationship to Anger
Thinking of depression often brings up ideas of deep sadness or maybe even apathy. Those with depression, however, may experience profound anger, as well.
Depression can bring with it a very vicious inner voice that plagues those with the disorder, making them feel anxious and unworthy. Releasing this anxiety through outbursts can help reduce the pressure experienced. For this reason, therapists often work with patients who have depression on anger management, as well.
How to Manage Anger
Ultimately, learning effective anger management should be done in partnership with a trained professional. In the meantime, there are some techniques you can begin to use to ameliorate the symptoms:
- Think, then speak. Before speaking out in anger, take a moment to think. Breathing, too, can help you calm down and focus before you act out.
- Name your feelings. Work on naming your feelings in a simple, calm manner. The simple act of saying “I feel angry” can help calm your anger.
- Exercise. Getting exercise on a regular basis is a good way to release the energy pent up by an anger disorder.
Again, these techniques can help, but those with disordered anger should work with a mental health professional. A system of interventions tailored to your needs is the best answer for anger disorder.
Getting Therapy For Disordered Anger
Getting help through therapy for an anger disorder can take several forms. Patients may need one or several types of therapy to treat their disordered anger.
Anger Management through Group Therapy
Since anger can be stigmatizing, group therapy often helps because it helps people realize they are not alone in their struggles. In group, your therapist will lead the session. You and others may share stories of your experience with anger, and the therapist may provide tips or guidance.
Identifying triggers of anger is at the core of individual therapy for this disorder. Your therapist can then help you develop better coping mechanisms. You can also work on disorders you may have that are comorbid with an anger disorder, including depression. If you need, you may turn to a psychiatrist for medication, as well.
Sometimes disordered anger is so dangerous for the patient and others that inpatient treatment is required. If a patient has suicidal thoughts or is acting out in a dangerous way, they may need to receive treatment in a facility for a time by a team of medical health professionals.
Whatever treatment approach you take, understand that your anger does not need to hurt your life any longer. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you learn effective anger management.