What is Anger Management?

JourneyPure Staff

August 15, 2019

We are emotional beings, whether we like it or not. No matter who we are, where we come from, or what our bank account looks like, we are going to experience a wide variety of emotions as we continue on in our lives.

Anger is one of those emotions, and experiencing it can be healthy for us, especially when it helps us to release pent up feelings and find solutions to what was causing the anger. However, anger is only healthy when it is controlled well and does not cause significant negative impacts for ourselves or those around us. Many people struggle to control their anger, including those living with a substance use disorder.

Approximately 9 percent of Americans 18 and older have a history of impulsive angry behavior. On its own, an anger disorder can completely alter the course of one’s life, whether it occurs alongside a substance use disorder or not.

Signs of an Anger Issue

While anger is a normal emotion, real issues can develop if it cannot be controlled. You might lose important relationships, burn bridges both personally and professionally, get in trouble with the law, and physically harm yourself or others. If an anger problem persists, it will likely just get worse.

For some, it can be easy to spot an anger problem as it is happening. Others have difficulty in differentiating between regular anger and problematic anger.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common signs of an anger issues include:

  • Persistent negative thinking and focusing on negative experiences
  • Regularly feeling irritated, impatient, and hostile
  • Frequent arguments with others
  • Physical violence and/or threats of physical violence
  • Uncontrollable behavior when angry
  • Constantly feeling the need to hold in one’s anger

Many people suffer from anger problems, and a large portion of those individuals do not see that their behaviors are unhealthy, mostly because they are used to acting in a certain way or have seen it modeled for them in years past.

However, uncontrollable anger is an issue that can be helped.

What is Anger Management?

If you are having issues with your anger, you can get help by attending anger management classes. While you might struggle with the idea of finding help, doing so can help show you how to control your anger as well as guide you toward getting to the bottom of why you have such issues.

Usually conducted in a group setting, anger management classes utilize a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach. CBT is a type of psychotherapy commonly used across all treatment settings to help people identify their negative behaviors, challenge them, and replace them with healthier, more effective behaviors. CBT has proven to be so beneficial that even after a handle of sessions, a person can positively alter his or her behaviors to support a lifestyle free from problematic anger.

When in anger management classes, you are going to focus on some goals, including:

  • By working in the group, you can start uncovering what situations trigger your anger so that you can avoid those situations/learn how to manage them when they are occurring.
  • You will develop skills that can aid in better self-care that can help prevent your anger from becoming uncontrollable. For example, you may begin working on developing a daily schedule for yourself that includes plenty of sleep and a healthy diet to support your overall emotional wellbeing.
  • Learning when you are not thinking clearly or lacking logic in your thought processes can allow you to stop anger from forming. In these sessions, you will find out more about yourself so that you can recognize when you are not thinking straight and course correct.
  • No matter how many anger management sessions you attend, you are never going to be able to fully stop yourself from ever being angry again. Therefore, time will be spent on establishing de-escalation skills that will help you keep your cool.

Additional things you can learn through anger management can include: properly expressing your emotions, improving your communication, and developing effective problem-solving skills, all of which can provide the support needed to manage your anger in a controlled manner.

Anger and Substance Use Disorders

Countless individuals with anger issues struggle with substance use disorders and vice-versa. Some substances cause people to be angry simply because of how they interact with the brain and the body.

One example of this would be someone who is addicted to methamphetamine. Because meth takes a person from being extremely high to extremely low within a short period of time, he or she is prone to acting out with anger as his or her mind and body tries to find a middle ground between the two extremes.

Other people have anger issues to begin with, but attempt to manage them through the abuse of certain substances. For instance, it is common for someone who has an anger problem to turn to alcohol to cope with the emotion, as alcohol is a depressant and can help bring about calm and relaxation.

Regardless of how or why an anger issue is occurring, it is imperative to receive the appropriate treatment needed to regain control of your emotions. Continuing to allow your anger to rule your world will only worsen the things in your life and in the lives of those who you love.

Get the Help You Deserve Today

If you or a loved one are in Tennessee and struggling with addiction, JourneyPure’s Knoxville intensive outpatient clinic can help. Call us today. We can help you stop your anger or other mental health issues from taking over your life so that you can live happily and peacefully.