What Can Happen If An Anger Problem Isnt Treated
If you dont deal with your anger problem, it could one day escalate to a point where you do something extreme and regrettable. Violence is one possible outcome. You could get so angry that you end up hurting yourself or someone you care about without intending to do so.
If you suspect you have an anger problem, its important to seek professional help. Talk to your physician for a referral to a mental healthcare provider who will be able to help.
There are several helpful ways to control your anger at home.
What May Depression And Anger Outbursts Look Like
A person with depression may experience anger in a number of different ways. It can present itself in the following ways:
- Sensitive to criticism
- Verbally and physically violent to others or themselves
A person with depression may turn their anger in on themselves, rather than displaying visible outbursts. This can result in a person carrying out self-sabotaging or self-harmful behaviours.
They may also experience other symptoms of depression, including intense sadness, guilt, an inability to concentrate and indecisiveness.
When You Feel Angry And Dont Know Why
Sometimes its clear why we feel angry, but a lot of the time, we react angrily to something and later think, Why did I get so mad? Maybe you feel angry all the time or feel angry for no reason. Or maybe youre noticing an undercurrent of anger and resentment in your day-to-day life or that you seem to get mad way too easily. Im going to go out on a limb and say this: if youre noticing that youre feeling anger, resentment and frustration on a daily basis, theres something you need to fix. Today Im going to teach you the five real reasons youre feeling angry so you can make some real changes.
First things first, anger is a healthy emotion! Anger can be motivating and a reasonable response to a threat to your physical well-being. However, anger should dissipate once the threat is gone. If you feel angry again days or years after an event, youre feeling resentful. Re at the beginning of a word means again, so youre literally re-sensing or re-feeling something .
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Anger can be a lot like alcohol: too much of it can become addictive and ruin your life.- Dr. Robert Enright
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As A Teen I Was Angry A Lot But The Anger Also Followed A Specific Pattern
My life was full of distractions and social cues before I seriously considered that I had depression.
Culturally, for East Asians especially, depression was a myth or a temporary symptom of a bodily issue like stomachaches. And as a teenager, every thought that took up space in my brain, driving my body into an indefinite state of heaviness and sensitivity, was supposed to be just an effect of being an egocentric teenager.
Lashing out and breaking paint brushes? Just the fury of an artist not getting their vision right. Punching walls and breaking CDs? Just a teenage writer unable to figure out her angst.
Itâs the stereotypical feeling that translates well into a rage room, but the moment all energy is spentâ¦ Iâm hit with a vacuum of emptiness and despair.
My mom called this on and off behavior â artist temperâ , and at the time, it made sense. The creativity narrative is âall artists are mad,â and so I embraced that myth.
Van Gogh was crazy, my art history teacher would say, without delving into Van Goghâs serious history of mental illness and medication.
It was also the early 2000s, when mental illness was very much taboo and my only source of information was Xanga or LiveJournal. According to blogs and young adult novels, depression was always having the âbluesâ or an underlying sadness and emptiness. It could be crippling and painful, but never in relation to âenergeticâ feelings, like joy or anger.
What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Intermittent Explosive Disorder
Risk factors for intermittent explosive disorder include:
- Being a young person AMAB.
- Being unemployed.
- Having lower levels of education.
- Experiencing physical or sexual violence, especially as a child.
- Having biological family members with intermittent explosive disorder.
If youre concerned about your childs risk of developing intermittent explosive disorder, talk to your healthcare provider.
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How To Change Negative Thought Patterns
No matter what the cause of your persistent negative thinking, you can learn to challenge your negative thought patterns by refuting the cognitive distortions as they arise. This involves identifying negative thoughts as they enter your brain and offering another perspective to shut them down. Frances McIntosh from Intentional Coaching LLC advocates literally talking to your negative thoughts to counteract them:
Let your internal voice say, Im recognizing a negative thought its a story Im telling myself, and its not true.
If you are able to find a quiet spot, it can be useful to meditate on these words with your eyes closed for a few minutes to let them sink in. Although repeating these words may feel silly, know that you are working hard to challenge the automatic thoughts you’ve spent a long time going over.
Seeking Help And Support For Anger And Depression
If you are struggling with depression and anger, it is incredibly important that you speak to a health or mental health professional. They will be able to provide you with access to an assessment, diagnosis, and treatment such as medication and therapy so that you can deal with the problems that you are currently facing.
Many people choose to start out by speaking to their GP. If you are nervous about going to talk to them, do a little preparation beforehand. Write down a list of your concerns, examples of how anger and depression have been impacting your life, information on the intensity of your anger symptoms and any other symptoms of depression that you experience, as well as details of if and when these symptoms peak and trough throughout the day or week.
They will be able to provide you with support themselves, or refer you to a specialist treatment service, such as Priory, so that they can provide you with the help you need.
If you would prefer, you can also come directly to Priory. One of our experienced psychiatrists will be able to provide you with an assessment, a diagnosis and recommend world-class treatment for depression at any one of our nationwide hospitals or wellbeing centres.
Blog reviewed by Daniel Fryer , MSc, Dip. in Animal Assisted Therapy, Dip. in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Dip. in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy), CBT therapist at Priory Hospital Bristol
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Depression Treatment: How To Help Yourself
In addition to the help and support you get from your therapist and/or doctor, there are a few things you can do on your own that will help you feel better:
- Stay physically active. Exercise helps boost your mood, and research has shown that it may also help ease depression.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep helps us heal from many health problems, including depression. Getting the right amount of sleep, but not too much, helps you have more energy. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Make your bedroom a comfortable place for sleeping and sex only — banish TV and use curtains to keep out bright outdoor light.
- Stay connected. Spending time with supportive friends or family will make you feel better — even if you don’t feel like it will. It may help to choose low-key ways to connect. Go to a light-hearted movie, meet for a coffee and some people-watching, or take a walk in a nearby park. The contact you get from others, along with depression treatment, can help bring you out of the dark and back into the light.
Risk Factors That Can Make You More Vulnerable
Depression most often results from a combination of factors, rather than one single cause. For example, if you went through a divorce, were diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or lost your job, the stress could prompt you to start drinking more, which in turn could cause you to withdraw from family and friends. Those factors combined could then trigger depression.
The following are examples of risk factors that can make you more susceptible:
Loneliness and isolation. Theres a strong relationship between loneliness and depression. Not only can lack of social support heighten your risk, but having depression can cause you to withdraw from others, exacerbating feelings of isolation. Having close friends or family to talk to can help you maintain perspective on your issues and avoid having to deal with problems alone.
. While a network of strong and supportive relationships can be crucial to good mental health, troubled, unhappy, or abusive relationships can have the opposite effect and increase your risk for depression.
Recent stressful life experiences. Major life changes, such as a bereavement, divorce, unemployment, or financial problems can often bring overwhelming levels of stress and increase your risk of developing depression.
Chronic illness or pain. Unmanaged pain or being diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, can trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
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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 Difference Between Anger And Aggression
Some people see anger and aggression as the same thing. In fact, anger is an emotion that we feel while aggression is how some of us behave when we feel angry.
Not everyone who feels angry is aggressive, and not everyone who acts aggressively is angry. Sometimes people behave aggressively because they feel afraid or threatened.
Read more about anxiety, fear and controlling your anger.
Alcohol and some illegal drugs can make people act more aggressively.
If uncontrolled anger leads to domestic violence, or threatening behaviour within your home, talk to your GP or contact a domestic violence organisation such as Refuge,Scottish Women’s Aid, Abused Men in Scotland, The LGBT Domestic Abuse Project or Survivor Scotland.
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Who Does It Affect
Mood disorders are among the most common mental illnesses. In fact, about one in seven Canadian will experience a mood disorder at some point in their life. Theyre more likely to affect the following groups of people:
Women: Women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, dysthymic disorder and SAD. But bipolar disorder seems to affect men and women equally
Young people: While mood disorders can affect you at any time in your life, many people start to experience symptoms in their teens and twenties. About 3.5% of children and 3% to 7% of teens are diagnosed with depression. Many people are diagnosed with bipolar disorder between the ages of 15 and 19.
Family members: Having a close relative who has a mood disorder increases your risk of having one
People who experience substance use problems: Some substances can cause a mood disorder, trigger an episode of mania or depression or make a mood disorder worse,
People living with other health and mental health problems: People with long-term health problems like cancer, AIDS, heart disease or Alzheimers disease are more likely to experience depression. People living with an anxiety disorder or eating disorder are also more likely to experience depression
You Feel Angry Because Youre Afraid
Im always quoting author Celeste Ng who said, Anger is the bodyguard of fear. When youre feeling anger or resentment, ask yourself these two questions:
- What else am I feeling right now? Whats below this anger?
- What am I really afraid of?
Were afraid of all kinds of things but they generally boil down to our fear of abandonment and rejection, which are age-old hard-wired fears that we need to identify so we can stop reacting to them. Were ultimately afraid that our partners are going to leave us and that well be alone.
When youre angry at something, youre really saying you fear it or your reaction to it. If you hate your ex, youre saying you fear them or your reaction to them.
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How To Cope With Anger As A Depression Symptom
I know that it’s important and helpful to identify triggers of any negative feelings because they are cause for change. My problem, though, is that I dont know whats triggering my anger, and it feels uncontrollable. I need to work harder to understand why I’m angry so that I can better manage my anger. Anger management takes many forms and there are plenty of suggestions regarding how to keep your temper under control. Methods include just about everything from exercising to throwing eggs into your bathtub. I know that I will not always be angry. The hopelessness and despair I feel regarding my anger is reasonable, but I will be able to sort it out and move forward with coping with my depression. And though it feels silly to be angry about being angry, I imagine that if I get angry enough, change will burst into being right in front of me. It’s a comforting image at the very least.
Why Depressed People Become So Angry
Research shows that anger is related to depression because of serotonergic dysfunction. This dysfunction means that the neurochemicals in the brain and imbalanced. Without balance, it causes irritability, depression, and anger.
Sometimes this anger is turned inward, making the person have a negative inner voice. It makes it hard for the person to move past shame, and it causes low self-worth. When anger turns inward, it makes a person even more depressed, worsening all other symptoms.
Other times, the anger turns outward and projects onto others. It causes the depressed person to lash out at those around them for minor things. The person usually feels guilty after the fact but cant control their reactions at the moment.
When a depressed person cant deal with stress in the workplace, it could lead to issues with coworkers and managers. It also affects personal relationships as many people dont know how to handle it.
While its hard to pinpoint why some people experience anger and others dont, experts have narrowed down some ideas. Some of the causes of rage during depression include:
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What Are The Diagnostic Criteria For An Anger Problem
Anger itself doesnt constitute a mental disorder, so theres no set diagnosis for anger problems in the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .
However, it lists more than 32 mental disorders such as borderline personality disorder and intermittent explosive disorder that include anger as a symptom. Its possible that your anger problem is caused by an underlying mental disorder.
Irritability As A Symptom Of Depression
Danielle Roeske, PsyD, based in Litchfield, Connecticut, explains that people commonly associate depression with a flat affect. But this stereotypical symptom doesnt always show up in everyone. Some people may have depression that looks different from others. Irritability and agitation, for instance, can go hand in hand with depression, too, says Roeske.
With mood disorders, adds Roeske, theres an impairment in your ability to regulate emotions. Often, we think of depression as a mental health condition that involves feeling too little. In some cases, though, you can feel too much.
Still, its important to keep in mind that irritability doesnt necessarily mean you have depression.
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What Can I Do About It
Mood disorders are very treatable. With the right treatment, about 80% of people no longer feel any symptoms at all. Some common treatments, used on their own or in combination, are:
Counselling: The most common forms of counselling for people living with a mood disorder are cognitive-behavioural therapy and interpersonal therapy:
Cognitive-behavioural therapy or CBT is the most common therapy treatment for mood disorders. CBT helps you understand the relationship between your mood, thoughts and behaviours. It also teaches skills like problem-solving that may help prevent symptoms from coming back in the future.
When youre depressed, your relationships with others often suffer. Interpersonal therapy can teach you skills to improve how you interact with other people.
Medication: Depression is usually treated with a group of medications called antidepressants and bipolar disorder is usually treated with a group of medication called mood stabilizers. You may also be prescribed other medications for psychosis or anxiety.
Electroconvulsive therapy: Electroconvulsive therapy or ECT may help people who experience severe depression or bipolar disorder, particularly when treatments like counselling and medication havent helped. Treatment is done in the hospital, and it involves passing an electrical current through the brain for a few seconds while youre under general anaesthesia. Modern ECT is very safe, fast-acting and effective.