Anger is an emotion that tells us someone or something has interfered with our goals, gone against us or wronged us in some way. Anger can make us feel like defending ourselves, attacking or getting revenge. Kids and adults of all ages experience anger from time to time. How we experience and express our anger can be influenced by gender, culture, religious beliefs and other ways in which we vary from one another.
Anger can lead to positive change if we express it in a useful and constructive way. For example, people who feel angry about social injustice often achieve positive results by speaking out to bring about changes to the system.
When your anger gets the better of you it can lead to problems in family life, relationships, work and health. Poorly managed anger is associated with aggression towards other people, road rage, child and spousal abuse, and other violent crimes. People with poorly managed anger are more likely to get ill and are less able to fight off illness or disease. Anger problems have also been associated with higher levels of perceived pain and problems associated with heart disease.
Anger management is about:
- Not being a slave to your emotions
- Learning how not to get angry very often or for very long
What causes anger?
There are four main types of situations that tend to provoke anger: frustrations, irritations, abuse and unfairness. Some situations fall into more than one category.
- Frustrations: Anger is a common reaction when we are trying to achieve something important and something gets in the way of success.
- Irritations: Daily hassles are annoying and can trigger anger.
- Abuse: Anger is a normal and expected reaction to verbal, physical or sexual abuse.
- Unfairness: Being treated unfairly can also trigger anger.
How do I know if my anger is a problem?
Anger becomes a problem if it is:
- Too frequent: Sometimes anger is appropriate and useful in pushing us to solve problems. However, if you are coping with lots of anger on a daily basis, it may be reducing the quality of your life, your relationships and your health.
- Too intense: Very intense anger is rarely a good thing. Anger triggers an adrenalin response and all kinds of physiological reactions (e.g., heart pumps faster, breathing increases, etc.).
- Lasts too long: When angry feelings last for a long time, they are hard on your mood and on your body. When you stay angry, the littlest thing can really set you off.
- Leads to aggression: We are more likely to become aggressive when our anger is very intense. Lashing out at others either verbally or physically is an ineffective way to deal with conflict.
- Disrupts work or relationships: Intense and frequent anger can lead to problems in your relationships with co-workers, family members and friends.
If you feel that your anger is really out of control, if it is having an impact on your relationships and on important parts of your life, you might consider counseling to learn how to handle it better
At Potomac Psychiatry our psychiatrists and therapists specialize in anger management therapy. Call 301.327.1835 to contact us, discuss your needs and schedule an appointment. Our experienced professionals look forward to meeting you.