Understanding Anger Management
Sometimes, anger becomes disordered, causing harm to the individual himself and others. Anger management is a tool whereby someone can learn to cope with their disordered anger, acquiring tools that let them express the emotion in healthier ways.
The goal is not to erase anger– anger can be a part of a healthy emotional ecosystem and helps people process difficult feelings during hard times. When it is out of control, however, it becomes toxic and dangerous. Those with anger management problems may have related conditions, as well.
Anger comes in many varieties. Not everyone shouts and screams, for example. Anger might take the form of running away from a conflict. What all forms of anger have in common is that the individual’s heart rate goes up and she experiences mild, temporary stress.
When anger becomes unhealthy, however, it can create dire circumstances for everyone involved. Someone with disordered anger can be a physical and emotional threat to others. With the intervention of a mental health professional, those with disordered anger can learn to neutralize these destructive levels of anger.
Rates of Anger Disorders
Statistics tell us that seven percent of adults in the States experience Intermittent Explosive Anger. Disordered anger is harder to identify in younger people, but some professionals believe rates may be even higher in adolescents.
Therapy for Anger Management
Given how destructive their condition can be, many with an anger disorder believe they are “lost causes.” It is crucial for anyone in this type of situation to know that therapy can work and can change the patterns of anger in their life.
Anger in this context is a symptom stemming from a disease. Individuals suffering from disordered anger should not view it as an immovable character flaw. Mental health professionals can help patients with disordered anger get to a healthier place through new coping mechanisms. In some cases, medication can help, as well.
Spotting Anger Disorder– The Signs
The signs of an anger disorder are not always as obvious as you might think. Shouting and outbursts are hallmarks, but the condition can present in passive aggressive ways, too, in the form of sarcasm or apathy. Self-destructive habits can even be a sign.
Other signs of an anger disorder include:
- Loved ones “walking on eggshells” around someone
- Picking fights
- High irritability
- Suppressing negative feelings
- Focusing solely on the negative
- Acting out violently
- Driving dangerously
- Destroying property
- Threatening violence
Again, not every symptom will be obvious to a patient or her loved ones. Therapy can help an individual spot the signs and triggers related to a condition.
Someone with an anger disorder has a condition and deserves compassion. Anyone suffering from the behavior of an individual with an anger disorder, however, should not feel they have to stay in that situation out of compassion. Victims of someone with disordered anger should seek help and counseling as well.
Anger from Depression
Dysregulated anger often stems from depression, a fact that surprises some. Those with depression often have a toxic inner voice that leads them to act out. The presence of depression can make disordered anger that much worse for the individual with the condition.
Therapy and medication can work to help patients experiencing the compound effect of depression and dysregulated anger. Patients can learn to spot triggers and respond with better coping mechanisms than they have in the past.
The Management of Anger
Given its often chaotic nature, anger can seem as if it is uncontrollable. Learning to manage anger can happen, but it takes time. In anger management therapy, a patient learns to process and release negative feelings in more constructive ways.
Releasing the negative in constructive ways is central to anger management. These techniques can help:
- Wait before you speak. One hallmark of anger is saying things we later regret. When anger surfaces, wait before you speak to stop the cycle.
- Acknowledge feelings calmly. The mistake many make is tamping down on feelings. Expressing feelings is fine, but work to do that in calmer ways.
- Practice forgiveness. The after effects of conflict can last a long time. Release your anger by practicing forgiveness.
- Exercise. Exercise is not only beneficial to your health, it can also release pent-up energy and bring a better balance to your mind.
Incorporating these techniques into your life is a good starting point. Truly managing disordered anger should be done in partnership with a mental health professional.
Anger Management Therapy
As with other mental health issues, therapy, medication, inpatient treatment or some combination thereof are helpful for those with disordered angere.
Those with anger management issues can consider both individual and group therapy. In individual sessions, the patient learns to spot the triggers of anger and incorporate new coping skills. Group therapy involves a group of patients with similar conditions sharing their experiences. A therapist guides the process for the group.
Sometimes inpatient treatment is necessary when a patient acts out violently or also suffers from severe depression. Inpatient treatment involves staying at a facility for a period of time and taking part in both individual and group therapy.
Medication can be an effective intervention for anger management in the short or long term. Medication management can help ensure that the patient gets the right dosage and continues to benefit from a medication.
dication may be a piece of the solution.