Signs to look out for if you have concerns about anger management

Feelings of anger or violent acting out can be related to many different underlying difficulties including depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. Many individuals can have underlying difficulties with severe low self-esteem, as well as problems with mistrust and past abuse issues. There may be many interlocking features that have led an individual to develop anger problems.

While it’s important that anger, amongst other emotions, doesn’t get bottled up, the control of anger is crucial to maintaining calm and also to take care of relationships. The emotion of anger is neither good nor bad. It’s perfectly normal to feel angry when you’ve been mistreated or wronged. The problem of this emotion is how you deal with it; first and foremost, anger becomes dangerous when it causes harm to you or others.

Look out for patterns in behaviour with the friend or relative that you are concerned about:

  • Are they especially violent when they have consumed alcohol? 
  • Do they struggle to compromise?
  • Do they have a problem with expressing their emotions?  

A person who struggles to control their anger can often misunderstand constructive criticism as a challenge to their authority, and this can then trigger confrontational behaviour.  Over generalising, for example stating: “You’re never there for me” is quite a common behaviour for those who struggle with controlling their anger. Obsessing about how things ‘should’ be and predicting or jumping to conclusions about others behaviour is also something that should be taken into consideration. Blaming others is also very common.

Do I have an anger problem?

  • Punching objects such as walls to feel a sense of release
  • Reacting quickly and violently to small problems - so reacting violently to a minor issue such as a spilt drink or somebody bumping into you
  • Accusing friends and relatives of disrespecting you or of going behind your back when this isn’t the case.
  • Finding it difficult to calm the feeling of anger
  • Breaking objects  during an argument such as a glass or window
  • Consistently  having the same arguments with friends, relatives or colleagues as the same problems trigger the anger
  • Feeling frustrated with your actions during an argument or regretting them instantly after the event

What are the emotional symptoms of anger management problems?

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Frustration
  • Lack of sleep
  • Social isolation

7 tips for dealing with anger management problems:

  1. The first step to recovery is to understand and accept that you have a problem. From this you can begin to look at your behaviour and what triggers certain reactions.
  2. Be honest with yourself and others around you. Try to surround yourself with positive people and remove negative influences.
  3. Count to 5 or 10 when faced with a situation that makes you angry.
  4. Work with family or a relative to identify possible solutions to your anger. Don’t focus on what made you mad, look at how you can resolve it rationally.
  5. Get plenty of exercise. Going for a brisk walk or run can reduce stress, so if you begin to feel angry, take some time to get outside and go for a walk.
  6. Practice relaxation techniques, such as mediation, yoga or deep breathing to relieve stress. This will help you to think clearly about your actions and reactions.
  7. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. If it becomes too much to bear, seek professional help. They can work with you to create coping strategies and to develop communication skills.


With anger management, each case requires careful evaluation and assessment. Underlying mental health difficulties need to be identified and treated, whilst interpersonal difficulties may need to be addressed and alcohol or substance use will need to be tackled.

Priory has been helping to treat people with anger issues for over 25 years. We know that everyone's situation is different, which is why we ensure that everyone has a unique treatment plan tailored to their needs. For further information on the treatment options available, then please click here.

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding anger management, please call 0845 277 4679. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here