Have you ever wondered if you might have a problem with anger?
People of all ages experience anger and it is important to understand anger as a legitimate and even a healthy response to certain experiences and situations. It is normal to feel angry when you have been insulted, treated poorly, or otherwise wronged. Problems occur when a person has feelings of anger that are excessive in frequency, intensity or duration. One might also notice that their anger is disproportionate to the situations that trigger it.
It’s useful to think of anger on a continuum from passive to active. People experiencing passive anger may not even realize they are angry, as it may be displayed as sarcasm, apathy, lack of cooperation, or other indirect forms of aggression. Passive anger can be a factor in other conditions including anxiety, depression, and drug or alcohol addictions. On the active end of the continuum, expressions of anger are typically more visible and direct, and can include bullying and vandalism as well as physical and psychological abuse.
Triggers of anger may include financial strains, family and marital issues, and a host of other stressors that are an ordinary part of our day-to-day lives. While stress causes many people to lose their cool once in a while, it is important to look at the trends in your emotions and behaviors, and to the reactions of the people around you.
Anger can be a problem for adults of all ages, teens, adolescents, and children. Problems may be self-identified or brought to your attention by family members, colleagues at work, parents, school guidance counselors, and teachers—as well friends and acquaintances who have observed outbursts or other angry behaviors.
Behavioral aggression, verbal outbursts, or any of the signs and symptoms of repressed anger such as chronic headaches, chronic stomachaches, or high blood pressure, may indicate a need for help. Anger causes physical stress on the body that is detrimental to the immune system and health over time. For this reason alone, it is important to treat and resolve.
If anger is creating dysfunction in your life or your relationships, it is important to seek help.
The effective treatment of excessive anger involves two main processes. First, it is important to understand the origins of your anger. There may be hidden causes or feelings you haven’t yet identified or explored. And second, it is important to develop coping strategies and the means to manage the feelings of anger when they arise. These may involve identifying triggers, learning to step away, or strategies for de-escalating the intensity of your feelings.
In a safe and empathic context it is possible to express your feelings as well as explore ways to manage those feelings better. If anger is a problem for you or someone you love, please give us a call. We welcome the opportunity to help you put your problems with anger behind you!