How To Deal With Anger Anxiety And Depression
Understand the connection between anger and depression. Anger and depression are separate moods, but the two are often linked together so tightly that it can be difficult to distinguish one from the other. Irritability is often considered a symptom of clinical depression, but the connection goes deeper than that.
Though anger isnt listed by the DSM-5 as one of the diagnostic criteria for adults, irritability is a key diagnostic factor for children and adolescents. In an interview with NPR about anger and depression, Dr. Maurizio Fava, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School, questioned whether the DSM-5 is getting it right.
Treatment for depression that is combined with anger is similar to treatments that exist for depression alone. In short, medication and therapy are both empirically validated treatments for depression that may also, at the same time, help to alleviate feelings of anger, hostility, and irritability.
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This can become a cycle of anger and anxiety. Controlling Anger From Anxiety. When anxiety results in anger, it can be very frustrating. Its not necessarily something that can simply be controlled and reduced right away. It often takes a great deal of time and effort, as well as a commitment to ensure that youre able to control this symptom.
Anger With Depression Feels Like A Disappointing Setback
I’m disappointed that I’m experiencing this setback in coping with my depression because I know myself well. I know what Im good at, how to care for myself when I am low, and my natural responses to various situations. This constant anger is baffling, as I’ve gone from a calm, strong coping mindset to a hotheaded indifference. I’m disappointed in myself for not being able to figure out this rage and for feeling so submissive to a single emotion.
Find A Physical Outlet For Your Anger
Anger is a high-energy emotion that can be stored in the body, so learning how to use your body to release the anger can help you regulate your emotions. Exercise and being physically active all help to release stress hormones and balance the chemistry in your brain, helping you feel calmer and more relaxed.
Some physical outlets that can help with repressed anger include:
- Cardiovascular workouts like running, biking or jogging
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Using Awareness Of Anger To Understand Panic
- What does anger look like to you?
- Did you grow up being able to experience and express it?
- Are you able to express it now? How, when, with whom?
- Whats the relationship between when you feel angry , and your struggles with anxiety?
They aren’t easy questions to ask, or answer.
There’s a great deal we don’t know about how an anxious mind processes anger but I do know not dealing with it, denying it, increases the chances it’ll wreak havoc with your life, maybe even stop you finding ways to treat anxiety.
Knowing How Anger And Depression Interact Can Be Essential For Your Well
Devin reported a variety of complaints about his significant other regarding finances, in-laws, and parenting. Raphael described anger with his coworkers and supervisor, mostly with regard to his belief that they were inept. By contrast, Greg recounted pervasive angerwith friends, loved ones, and with strangers. He cited the many ways in which they led him to become agitated.
These men were participants in one of my anger management classes. After hearing their concerns, I shared the perspective that anger is most often a reaction to and distraction from inner sufferingfeelings such as sadness, powerlessness, shame, anxiety, inadequacy, and isolation. It was when I detailed the connection between anger and depression that the entire group became silent. Whereas previously they were physically animated, they suddenly became still, even physically turned inward with their eyes averting direct contact with others.
Almost all participants indicated that the anger-depression connection seemed to resonate with them. They realized, and fully experienced, that their anger was both an outgrowth of, and meaningful distraction, from the intense pain of underlying depression. This is often the case for many individuals who seek my help for anger.
Anger as an Outgrowth of Self-Compassion
Symptoms of Depression
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Poor concentration or indecisiveness
- Recurring thoughts of death
Depression as Anger Directed Inward
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Experiences Of Depression: Irritability And Anger
This article is part of a series that explores the ways specific clusters of depression symptoms manifest to create different experiences of depression. The previous article in this series discussed the hopeless experience.
The irritable or angry experience of depression is often not recognized as depression, either by the person who experiences it or by those around then. For the person experiencing this kind of depression, the people around them may seem disappointing, irritating, or intolerable, and the depressed person may feel as emotionally uncomfortable as someone with severe poison oak feels physically. They may feel very frustrated that they cant get the people who seem to be causing their suffering to change. People around the angry or irritable depressed person may see them as mean, angry, or a bully. It may not even occur to onlookers that this person could be depressed.
Get Help Finding Treatment
Here are tools to find a healthcare provider familiar with treatment options:
- Psychologist Locatorexternal icon, a service of the American Psychological Association Practice Organization.
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finderexternal icon, a research tool by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry .
- Find a Cognitive Behavioral Therapistexternal icon, a search tool by the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.
- If you need help finding treatment facilities, visit MentalHealth.govexternal icon.
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How Can Anger Affect Me
When we get angry, it can be hard to think things through especially if that anger seems overwhelming or uncontrollable. And if we feel angry a lot of the time in other words, if we get into constant patterns of thinking angry thoughts about ourselves or others its hard to take a step back and communicate in a healthy and productive way.
We may tense up and clench our teeth. Our hearts might pump faster, our stomachs might churn, and we may clench our fists. These are useful early warning signs that we are getting wound up.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to recognise just how much anger you are feeling, and how it is affecting you. This might be because you have lots of things going on in your life.
After getting angry about something you might start to feel guilty about it, and this can make you feel worse.
The same young person wearing a grey jumper holds three signs. The signs read:
Here are things I do when I feel myself getting angry1. I talk about how I am feeling2. I try and recognise I’m angry and listen to others
The same young person has long brown hair and wears a yellow jumper, they hold three signs which read:Here are things I do when I feel myself getting angry1. Putting on my favourite music really helps2. Doing an action that helps me feel something different, like walking my dog
Seeking Help For Anger And Anxiety
Anxiety and anger can be a toxic combination. Seeking treatment for the anxiety disorder can help an individual uncover the reasons for their anger. Being mindful about anger outbursts by keeping a journal and taking time to reflect on why this anger occurred can often help individuals realize their anxiety triggers, and then seek therapy to find healthy ways to cope with them. If you or a loved one are in search of treatment for anxiety, please contact Discovery Mood & Anxiety Programs or fill out our mental health evaluation.
Kristen Fuller, M.D., is a clinical content writer and enjoys writing about evidence-based topics in the cutting-edge world of mental health and addiction medicine. She is a family medicine physician and author, who also teaches and contributes to medicine board education. Her passion lies within educating the public on preventable diseases including mental health disorders and the stigma associated with them. She is also an outdoor activist and spends most of her free time empowering other women to get outside into the backcountry.
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Treatment For Repressed Anger
Awareness is the first step in the process of making any positive change. Once you identify that you struggle with repressed anger, reaching out for professional support from a counselor can help you unpack this complex emotion, learn healthier ways to cope, and become more confident in your ability to express anger in ways that arent destructive.
Track Anger In Your Body
Becoming more aware of your anger can help you identify some of the early anger cues you might have missed in the past. A growing body of evidence suggests that we store emotions in our bodies, which is often where people notice early signs of anger.5 In stressful situations, tune in to your body and pay attention to what sensations, tension and changes you notice.
Some of the more common ways that anger shows up in the body include:
- Chest tightness
- Increased blood pressure
- Muscle tension
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Are You Too Angry
There are psychological tests that measure the intensity of angry feelings, how prone to anger you are, and how well you handle it. But chances are good that if you do have a problem with anger, you already know it. If you find yourself acting in ways that seem out of control and frightening, you might need help finding better ways to deal with this emotion.
Is It Good To Let It All Hang Out
Psychologists now say that this is a dangerous myth. Some people use this theory as a license to hurt others. Research has found that “letting it rip” with anger actually escalates anger and aggression and does nothing to help you resolve the situation.
It’s best to find out what it is that triggers your anger, and then to develop strategies to keep those triggers from tipping you over the edge.
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Unhelpful Ways To Deal With Anger
Many people express their anger in inappropriate and harmful ways, including:
- anger explosions some people have very little control over their anger and tend to explode in rages. Raging anger may lead to physical abuse or violence. A person who doesnt control their temper can isolate themselves from family and friends. Some people who fly into rages have low self-esteem, and use their anger as a way to manipulate others and feel powerful. For more information, see What is violence against women? on the White Ribbon Australia website
- anger repression some people consider that anger is an inappropriate or bad emotion and choose to suppress it. However, bottled anger often turns into depression and anxiety. Some people vent their bottled anger at innocent parties, such as children or pets.
How Can I Help Someone With Depression
Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects millions of people, from young to old and from all walks of life. It gets in the way of everyday life, causing tremendous pain, hurting not just those suffering from it but also impacting everyone around them.
If someone you love is depressed, you may be experiencing any number of difficult emotions, including helplessness, frustration, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. These feelings are all normal. Its not easy dealing with a friend or family members depression. And if you neglect your own health, it can become overwhelming.
That said, your companionship and support can be crucial to your loved ones recovery. You can help them to cope with depression symptoms, overcome negative thoughts, and regain their energy, optimism, and enjoyment of life. Start by learning all you can about depression and how to best talk about it with your friend or family member. But as you reach out, dont forget to look after your own emotional healthyoull need it to provide the full support your loved one needs.
Understanding depression in a friend or family member
Depression is a serious condition. Dont underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a persons energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one cant just snap out of it by sheer force of will.
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Signs Of Repressed Anger
Repressed anger can manifest in many ways, causing subtle changes to the way people feel, think, and behave. Some people dont notice these changes until their anger reaches extreme levels or until they lash out at someone. Many people who repress anger describe missing early anger cues like noticing their heart rate increase, their blood pressure go up, or noticing they are tense, restless, or on-edge.
People who repress anger often become defensive when they are accused of being angry, and dont want to admit when they are frustrated, even when it is very clear to other people. This defensiveness makes it harder for them to accept and recognize their anger, making them more likely to minimize, ignore or deny it.
Other signs of repressed anger include:1,2
Turning Anger On Ourselves Contributes To The Severity Of Depression
Sigmund Freud used to refer to depression as anger turned inward. While many people may regard this as an overly simplistic approach to the most common mental health disorder in the world, there is no doubt that anger plays a significant role in depression. As one study from 2016 found, when it comes to emotional disorders in general, the presence of anger has negative consequences, including greater symptom severity and worse treatment response. Researchers concluded that based on this evidence, anger appears to be an important and understudied emotion in the development, maintenance, and treatment of emotional disorders. When it comes specifically to depression, science seems to be further supporting Freuds theory, showing more and more how anger contributes to symptoms. A UK study from 2013 suggested that going inward and turning our anger on ourselves contributes to the severity of depression.
People who suffer from depression often have intense critical inner voices that perpetuate feelings of unworthiness and shame. When they listen to this inner critic, they not only feel more depressed, but they also find it much more difficult to stand up to their depression. This includes acting against their critical inner voices, taking positive actions that could help them feel better about themselves and being more social.
The Benefits Of Residential Anger Treatments
Residential anger treatments help patients learn to gain control over their anger and frustrations. Your therapist can help you to recognize dangerous situations and to become more conscious of the warning signs of impending rage. Additionally, intense residential treatments can help you learn to avoid anger suppression, which can lead to hypertension, depression, heart troubles and anxiety.
Most importantly, you can develop these strategies while removing yourself from the triggers and risks of the outside world.
When To Get Professional Support
If you experience persistent anger along with other symptoms of depression, a good next step involves reaching out to a therapist.
Depression often wont improve without support from a trained mental health professional. Therapy can have a lot of benefit for anger, too though its certainly possible to learn to control anger on your own.
Its always a good idea to get support for any mental health symptoms that:
- get in the way of handling daily tasks and responsibilities
- affect personal and professional relationships
- lead to a decline in quality of life
- affect sleep or physical health
Therapy offers a safe space to:
Your therapist will begin treatment by asking you questions about things, like:
- physical and emotional symptoms, including when they began and how often you notice them
- your daily life, including any recent changes youve experienced
- your relationships with others
- changes in your behavior
- thoughts of hurting yourself or others
Answering these questions openly and honestly can help them get a clearer picture of what youre dealing with, which makes it easier for them to provide the most effective treatment.
Your therapist should always offer compassion, respect, and judgment-free support. Remember, a therapists role is to help, not pass judgment on your feelings or behavior.
The best approach to treatment for you can depend on your symptoms and how they affect your life.
Your therapist might recommend:
Other helpful strategies to try:
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Teaching Children How To Express Anger
Expressing anger appropriately is a learned behaviour. Suggestions on helping your child to deal with strong feelings include:
- Lead by example.
- Let them know that anger is natural and should be expressed appropriately.
- Treat your childs feelings with respect.
- Teach practical problem-solving skills.
Mindfulness Training For Reducing Anger Anxiety And Depression In Fibromyalgia Patients
- 1Department of Social Psychology and Methodology of the Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of Psychology, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastián, Spain
- 2Department of Psychology, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Health, University of Almería, Almería, Spain
Fibromyalgia is a disabling syndrome. Results obtained with different therapies are very limited to date. The goal of this study was to verify whether the application of a mindfulness-based training program was effective in modifying anger, anxiety, and depression levels in a group of women diagnosed with fibromyalgia. This study is an experimental trial that employed a waiting list control group. Measures were taken at three different times: pretest, posttest, and follow-up. The statistical analyses revealed a significant reduction of anger levels, internal expression of anger, state anxiety, and depression in the experimental group as compared to the control group, as well as a significant increase in internal control of anger. It can be concluded that the mindfulness-based treatment was effective after 7 weeks. These results were maintained 3 months after the end of the intervention.
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