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What are the signs and symptoms of anger management problems?

Feelings of anger or violence can be related to many different underlying difficulties including depression, anxiety, addictions and other mental health problems. Some individuals can have underlying difficulties that may result in extreme low self-esteem, as well as trust issues, that are expressed through anger. A history of neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse is collectively referred to as trauma. Trauma can contribute towards difficulties in managing anger. There may be a range of related difficulties and/or life experiences that can lead to someone developing anger management difficulties.

While it’s important that anger doesn’t get bottled up, maintaining control over your anger is important as the consequences can be severe and can potentially lead to contact with the criminal justice system via the police. Being able to remain calm offers an opportunity for the negative impacts of anger to be reduced and not affect your relationships. crucial to maintaining calm, and ensures that outward expressions of anger don’t negatively impact your relationships. 

Anger is an entirely natural emotion, and it is usual to feel angry when you have experienced injustice. However, whether this injustice results in angry outbursts, comes down to how you deal with it. Anger becomes dangerous when it causes harm to you or others. Anger management difficulties can lead to the loss of relationships, opportunities such as jobs and education etc., and may also lead to loss of liberty i.e. criminal convictions.

Look out for the following patterns of behaviour

If you are concerned that you or someone that you know may have anger management difficulties, you should consider the following patterns of behaviour:

  • Becoming angry or violent during or after consuming alcohol
  • Struggling to compromise or arrive at mutual agreements without becoming verbally or physically angry
  • Problems with expressing emotions in a calm and healthy way
  • Having 'all or nothing' responses that result in you trying to control others' behaviour in order to avoid anger
  • Inward aggression that can lead to isolation or self-harm
  • Outward aggression including shouting, swearing, or being physically violent and threatening
  • Substance abuse or addiction
  • Unable to accept feedback and assuming it is a critical reflection
  • Automatically blaming others for negative situations
  • Wanting to control the outcome of situations without compromise

Any combination of the above behaviours, which may be affecting relationships or safety, can be indicators of anger management difficulties.

Treatment for anger management

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 supporting people with anger issues for many years. We know that personal situations are different, which is why we ensure that everyone has a unique therapy plan tailored to their needs. For further information on how Priory can help you to control your anger and set up a bespoke anger management treatment plan specific to your needs, call us today on 0800 840 3219 or enquire online.

This page was clinically reviewed by Willis Atherley-Bourne (BA, MA), Integrative Psychotherapist at Priory Hospital Hayes Grove, in August 2022.

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