We all get angry. It’s an emotion we all experience. But some of us experience it more often — and to a greater degree — than others. In fact, on the road alone, “Nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year.”1
And this doesn’t even take into account anger at home, at work and in other public and private settings. So, when does anger become a problem, and what can we do about it?
Is It Anger or an Anger Issue?
When are you just mad like we all get from time to time, and when is it something more? The following signs can help you identify anger management issues in yourself or a loved one:
- Quick to anger. The littlest things may seem to set you off. You get frustrated over little tasks or anything that isn’t as easy as you want it to be. Small issues can turn into big scenes.
- Physical violence. When something does upset you, you react with physical violence. You may hit walls, break objects or even lash out at another person.
- Verbal violence. You may refrain from physical violence and instead scream or yell aggressively or say harmful things without thought.
- Cycles of bad behavior. You may feel remorse immediately after a violent or angry outburst. You may promise to change, be overly apologetic and remorseful and do your best to behave well and show how sorry you are.
- Substance abuse and addiction. Do you get angry when you drink, or do you drink or use drugs to try to mask your anger or guilt surrounding it? Drugs and alcohol worsen an anger management problem, yet anger and addiction still often overlap.
These are broad categories of signs and symptoms. They are helpful because symptoms of anger can vary from person to person. However, sometimes specifics can be easier to identify in your or a loved one’s life.
Specific Signs and Symptoms of Anger
- Often pondering aggressive acts of violence
- Frequently ending up in violent or confrontational situations
- Frequently experiencing road rage
- Blaming others for your feelings or troubles
- Feeling misunderstood or like no one “gets” you
- Reacting with violence without thinking of the consequences
- Having a history of violence-related arrests
- Getting in legal or personal trouble for domestic violence
- Breaking or destroying objects when angry or frustrated
- Expression inappropriate amounts of anger for disproportionately small events
- Using violence and screaming to control others
- Enjoying violent and dramatic situations
- Being easily frustrated with other people
- Being easily frustrated with the world around you or your inability to control it
- Drinking excessively or frequently
- Never feeling satisfied
- Losing a relationship to anger
- Having relationships that are chaotic or filled with arguments
- Ignoring the signs and symptoms of an anger management issue
Look for these symptoms in yourself or a loved one. You don’t have to find them all. You may find some not listed above. If you’re not sure if you’re seeing signs and symptoms of anger, or if you think you’re seeing signs and symptoms of a different mental health issue, talk with a professional and get a quick assessment followed by an in-depth diagnosis.
What Do You Do About the Signs and Symptoms of Anger?
Once you’ve spotted signs of anger, what happens next? The answer is anger management treatment. This treatment can be combined with professional addiction or mental health disorder care if these issues co-occur. Some people simply struggle to deal with feelings of frustration and anger. If you do, or a loved one does, this is okay — as long as you’re proactive to seek help.
Why Does Anger Need to Be Treated?
Trouble managing anger isn’t considered a mental illness. But it can be a forerunner of violence and injury, whether intentional or spur of the moment. You’re protecting yourself, and more importantly your family and loved ones, when you look into treatment. You or a loved one may be committed to never acting or speaking out in anger again, but without the right skills and tools, you’re likely to lose control of your emotions and actions again.
For most people who struggle with anger issues, the action and behavior that results are regrettable and a source of guilt and shame. And yet, they are still unable to stop themselves from repeating those behaviors the next time they are triggered. These behaviors tend to get worse and more violent over time. Finding anger management treatment now is the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones.
What Does Anger Management Involve?
Anger management addresses the signs and symptoms of anger problems. It explores the roots of anger. Slate explains that anger turns to violence when individuals, “are lonely, isolated, blame others for their problems, and lack the skills to manage their anger.”2 With the help of a mental healthcare professional, you’ll figure out how and why you feel as you do now and how and why you feel as you do right before an outburst. Once you’ve learned about what’s under the surface of your anger, you can learn how to step back and calm down before you say and do the things you regret.
Anger management doesn’t ask you to not feel. Instead it teaches you how to do so in a healthy, productive way.
It teaches you how to connect with others and form healthy friendships and familial bonds. It takes the loneliness out of anger. It gives you the skills to express anger, sadness and depression in a positive way. Trained counselors are able to provide you with actionable steps you can take before you do or say something that you will regret. You learn how to manage the signs and symptoms of anger.
Finding Help for Anger Management
Anger can be managed. You can find treatment, and you can find treatment for any mental health or addiction issues connected to anger. If the signs and symptoms of anger are defining your life experience, get help.
Reach out to Skywood at 269-280-4673 to learn more about programs that can help you or a loved one identify and treat anger. You can live a peaceful, balanced life. We can help.
1 “Nearly 80 Percent of Drivers Express Significant Anger, Aggression or Road Rage.” ScienceDaily. 14 Jul. 2016.
2 Hayes, Laura. “Anger Isn’t a Mental Illness. Can We Treat It Anyway?” Slate. 6 Apr. 2018.