Signs You Need Help With Anger Management

Anger is a powerful, normal human emotion that occurs when we experience disrespect, injustice, trauma or unfair treatment. Whether it's caused by internal or external events, we've all felt anger in our lives. The emotional experience of anger can be beneficial as it is often motivating, prompting us to take action toward a goal. Anger also plays a vital role in the “fight" aspect of our primal “fight or flight” response, helping us detect threats and alert us to potential dangers.

However, if you struggle to keep your anger under control at times or engage in destructive, negative behaviors when angry, you may be dealing with anger management issues. In this case, anger can quickly become harmful and affect various areas of your life. This guide will help you learn whether you or a loved one are experiencing anger management challenges.

Anger vs. Anger Management

It's important to make the distinction between anger and anger management. Anger is an essential emotion, which is healthy to release at appropriate times. Anger can help elevate our vigilance and identify when our boundaries are being violated. Consider how anger can be used as a mechanism for facilitating change.

For example, suppose your boss offers you a promotion, but then decides to promote your colleague instead. This would create strong feelings of unfairness and injustice. The anger you feel at being mistreated can motivate you to confront your boss and be assertive about the promotion you deserve.

How you channel this anger is what determines whether it is healthy or not. Unhealthy displays of anger can include resentment, violence, passive aggressiveness, rage and verbal abuse. Experiencing frequent anger that feels uncontrollable, unreasonable or overwhelming may indicate the need for anger management help.

Common Signs of Anger Management Issues

Periodic feelings of anger are normal and healthy when appropriate. However, if you find yourself experiencing anger very easily, frequently or intensely, you may need to learn how to better handle this emotion. Common symptoms of anger management difficulties include:

  • Feeling angry more often than not.
  • Getting angry at minor or petty things.
  • Having trouble resisting the urge to express your anger.
  • Being unable to accept feedback or constructive criticism.
  • Regretting what you've said or done when angry.
  • Experiencing long periods of anger with an inability to let things go.
  • Constantly blaming others for problems at home or work.
  • Accusing others of disrespecting you.
  • Feeling like your anger is out of control.
  • Struggling to compromise without getting angry.
  • Hurting others verbally or physically when angry.
  • Getting violent toward objects or property, such as breaking plates or punching walls.
  • Reacting quickly to small inconveniences.
  • Finding it difficult to calm down once you're angry.
  • Experiencing frequent road rage.
  • Feeling more angry, violent or aggressive when drinking alcohol or using substances.
  • Experiencing physical symptoms, such as sweating, heart palpitations or anxiety.
  • Taking your anger out on yourself by self-harming or isolating.
  • Consistently having the same arguments with loved ones or colleagues.
  • Reacting with sarcasm or passive aggression.

What Causes Anger Management Issues?

Uncontrollable anger can have many triggers, including financial and relationship stress. You may be more susceptible to anger management difficulties if you:

  • Have experienced trauma and/or abuse.
  • Have been publicly humiliated or undermined in public.
  • Are dealing with bereavement and grief.
  • Often jump to conclusions.
  • Assume the thoughts and feelings of others.
  • Have a stressful job or have little work-life balance.
  • Have been treated unfairly.
  • Have been threatened.
  • Have a rigid worldview and struggle to take on new ideas.
  • Let fleeting annoyances and irritations build up.
  • Take little time to reflect on the positive aspects of your life.
  • Have trouble taking responsibility for your own actions.
  • Have a pre-existing mental health condition.

While this is not an exhaustive list of causes of unhealthy anger, it can be helpful to reflect on recent experiences to determine if these triggers relate to you. Certain mental health conditions can lead to emotional dysregulation and exacerbate emotions like anger, so it's important to get to the root cause of your feelings.

For instance, someone with anxiety who is constantly in fight or flight mode may act irritable or react quickly in situations as a defense mechanism. Someone with depression, alternatively, may have constant negative thoughts that cause them to feel angry at others and the world around them. An individual with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may feel frustrated and lash out when their desires are unmet.

Some mental health conditions are more directly linked to anger, including oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and intermittent explosive disorder (IED). Both conditions fall under the category of impulsive control disorders (ICD), which highlight difficulties in self-governing consciousness, suppressing urges and self-regulation. ODD and IED are externalized disorders, which often result in individuals expressing hostility and resentment toward others in the form of verbal, physical or emotional abuse.

Strategies and Tips for Managing Uncontrollable Anger

The most effective way to practice anger management skills is to address the underlying causes and experiences that have led to these intense emotions. However, here are some ideas you can try when you notice yourself getting inappropriately angry:

  • Find a solution: Powerful emotions like anger can quickly get out of control if you focus only on the problem. Try to direct your energy toward resolving what's causing your anger. Remind yourself that anger won't make the problem go away on its own without a solution.
  • Laugh about it: It's often easier said than done, but sometimes, humor can help you calm down when feeling intense anger. Next time you're in a tense situation, try lowering the stress by cracking a joke or looking at the issue from a humourous perspective.
  • Communicate your needs: Holding onto a grudge can increase and sustain your feelings of anger, but it may also indicate unmet needs. It's important to slow down and think through your responses. What is underneath the anger? What do you need or wish to say to the other person?
  • Find time to relax: Being angry all the time can be utterly exhausting and draining on your mind and body. Be sure to take time to relax and reflect on a situation that's upsetting to you. It may help to try deep breathing, visualize calming images or leave the room for some quiet time.
  • Reach out for help: If you feel helpless or ashamed about your anger, or if it's starting to impact your relationships, it might be time to consider seeking professional help. Fortunately, there are mental health professionals who specialize in anger management and can help you develop techniques to improve your quality of life.

Why Trust Us for Anger Management Treatment?

At Diamond House, we know it's not always easy to ask for help. Whether you're experiencing anxiety, depression or difficulties managing your anger, we want you to feel comfortable and supported. It's our goal to help each of our clients feel at peace with our flexible and secure program. Under the guidance of our experienced, dedicated medical professionals, you'll receive medical care and comprehensive psychological support in a judgment-free environment.

We know there is no one-size-fits-all solution to mental health challenges. We'll work with you to address the root causes of your anger and help you heal your relationships so you can live your life to the fullest.

Start Your Path to Mental Wellness With Diamond House

Managing your anger is essential to achieving overall well-being, but it can be challenging to do on your own. If you or someone you love struggles with outbursts of uncontrollable anger, it may be time to seek anger management treatment. Diamond House offers intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs to meet your unique care needs.

Our medical and mental health team provides a variety of anger management treatment programs and services, including group therapy, art therapy and psychiatric prescriptions. At Diamond House, we will support you every step of the way on your healing journey. If you're ready to find freedom from impulsive anger and aggression, we encourage you to reach out to us. Our compassionate therapists are ready to provide quality mental health care in the northern California area.