Lots of behavioral and psychological problems can be traced back to anger issues. Many of these are essentially about a person’s reaction to unhealthy, stressful or harmful environments and they ways that they process their surroundings.
Anger issues are different than stress issues, or anxiety and depression. They stem from an unhealthy response that triggers aggressive feelings. While anger is a natural emotion, anger issues happen when these feelings get out of control. When this happens, people tend to either bottle up the anger or let it out. The former issue, suppressed anger, can have significant effects on both the body and the mind. The second can cause all sorts of behavioral problems and tough situations in a person’s day-to-day life.
Symptoms of Anger Issues
Psychological professionals have identified different kinds of symptoms that may indicate someone is having issues related to anger. Some of these are mainly psychological, like the emergence of chronic anxiety or depression. Others are physical. This PsychGuide page cites the following:
- heart palpitations
- tight feeling in the chest
- high blood pressure
- sinus pressure
These and other physical symptoms can indicate that anger is taking a toll on the body.
Taking an Anger Quiz
An anger quiz is essentially a list of different types of indicators put into the form of a short test. These tests will ask individuals about how they react to certain situations, for example, criticism from someone else, elements of spouse of relationships, etc.
While these kinds of tests aren’t a hard science, some of the responses can help pinpoint whether a person has significant anger issues or not. Check out an anger quiz at All About You.
Other Kinds of Indicators
There are also a number of emotional indicators of repressed anger. Some of these, like sarcasm, are part of someone’s personality when they manifest themselves over time. Those wondering if they suffer from repressed anger issues can evaluate themselves in terms of their interpersonal relationships and how they treat others or how they respond to other people’s behavior.
In general, unhealthy anger problems will be a part of the greater context — that’s why physicians in a family practice doctor’s office often ask their patients about their feelings, for example, about how often a person feels helpless or depressed, unable to control the situation, or anxious about their life in general. These questions are asked because of how much these psychological indicators are tied to our physical health and well-being.
Anger Issues in Children
In children, anger issues are often more evident, because the typical child doesn’t really have the psychological makeup to repress the anger. If however, many children do experience anger issues in the form of tantrums, overly emotional behavior, and the inability to control themselves in different environments.
Medical professionals have created a series of labels to describe anger issues in children. For example, with ‘oppositional defiant disorder,’ there’s a child’s inability to follow instructions and maintain healthy relationships with a guardian or caregiver.
In some ways, pediatric anger issues can be evident because of the way the child acts. However, there are also aspects of this that are much harder to diagnose. When does excessive anger become an issue? Careful therapy and psychological evaluation will provide the answers.
Anger Issues in Adults
Often, evaluation of anger issues in an adult involves looking at helping an unhealthy and notional reaction to a person’s situation.
Professionals describe healthy anger as something that’s in proportion to the situation at hand, and that leads to a solution. For example, the type of community anger that arises in protection of the weakest members of society — poor people, children, women etc. is founded on this type of healthy anger.
Professionals use the term ‘anger control’ to talk about why anger becomes a problem. They also talk about ‘dysfunctional anger’ where excessive responses can work against someone’s best interests and can even cause harm to others. The issue of control is central because anger, like other emotions, is largely a state of mind. Someone’s ability to direct and center their emotions is the difference between whether they begin on a road to better mental and physical health, or spiral down into a vicious circle of self-destruction.
Again, there are different kinds of anger control problems. Those that have to do with aggressive behavior problems for the community — many of these are epidemics in the male population, problems that spill over into the realm of public safety with impacts on domestic violence, traffic safety, and other community issues.
A passive anger problem is largely internal. It’s something that someone has to work within themselves to promote their own better health. While it can have an impact on others around them, it doesn’t typically involve public safety or law enforcement. By contrast, anger problems that manifest in aggressive behavior often do trigger law enforcement involvement, which escalate situations beyond the control of any one individual.
Working Through Anger Issues
In trying to deal with anger control issues, there are various solutions that medical professionals will often recommend.
While there are medications available to help with these kinds of psychological issues, many doctors will first suggest a range of lifestyle and psychological solutions before attempting to medicate.
In general, those seeking medical advice for anger issues will be prompted to find different kinds of relaxation and calming down activities. They may be directed towards self-help literature or toward activities like meditation that help calm the body and mind.
In general, doctors are trying to orient individuals towards changing their lifestyles in ways that will lower their anger responses and make them less of a chronic problem. There is the day to day component of this, the way that our activities affect our outlook, and there’s also that long internal process of creating a better point of view and attitude.
In some cases, doctors will help individuals to medicate for emotional problems that may include anger issues. This may involve the use of drugs intended to treat anxiety and depression and corollary issues. In particular, this type of treatment may be reserved for the wide category of individuals suffering from forms of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, commonly a part of a combat veteran’s psychological assessment, but not limited to the battlefield.
PTSD and similar diagnosis will acknowledge real, deep trauma that can manifest in anger issues and related problems, and that may require either counseling and therapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Work on PTSD is a part of how medical professionals are realizing that most anger problems are tied to “dramatic impact” of something that may or may not be repressed or hidden, but causes real problems for an individual over time.
Dealing with Anger
The first step to dealing with anger issues is to be aware of what’s healthy and what’s unhealthy, and to look for solutions to alleviate both the outside pressures and the internal trauma that causes anger control problems. Some of these triggers are in day-to-day situations, and others comes from childhood trauma or issues from the past. To really deal with anger you have to delve into your own psychology and start to evaluate what’s inside your mind, to try to practice a kind of mental organization to create a better frame of mind and a vantage point for working toward a brighter future.
Changing interpersonal relationships also helps with anger. In addition to personal therapy, professionals may suggest marital therapy or other interpersonal therapy to help solve anger issues that extend beyond just one person.
In reality, anger control issues are a common part of our lives. It’s important to do periodic self-assessments, even before anger management problems become evident, to make sure that negative emotions are not having an unhealthy impact on how we feel and act each day.