Anger Issues: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Learn more about your anger issues and the anger issues of your loved ones and how to work around them

Anger Issues Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

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 how 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 bottle up the anger or let it out. The former issue, suppressed anger, can significantly affect both the body and the mind. The second can cause behavioral problems and tough situations in a person’s day-to-day life.

Symptoms of Anger Issues

How to Control Anger

Psychological professionals have identified different kinds of symptoms that may indicate someone is having issues related to anger. Some of these are mainly psychological, such as the emergence of chronic anxiety or depression. Others are physical. This PsychGuide page cites the following:

These and other physical symptoms can indicate that anger takes 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 how they react to certain situations, such as criticism from someone else, elements of the spouse of relationships, etc.

While these kinds of tests aren’t hard science, some of the responses can help pinpoint whether a person has significant anger issues or not.

Other Kinds of Indicators

There are also several emotional indicators of repressed anger. Some of these, like sarcasm, is 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 respond to other people’s behavior.

Also Read: Anger Issues & How to Control Anger

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 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 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,’ a child cannot follow instructions and maintain healthy relationships with a guardian or caregiver.

In some ways, pediatric anger issues can be evident because of how 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, leading to a solution. For example, the type of community anger that arises in protecting 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 explain 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 the 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 on to promote their own better health. While it can impact others around them, it doesn’t typically involve public safety or law enforcement. By contrast, anger problems manifest in aggressive behavior often do trigger law enforcement involvement, which escalates situations beyond the control of any one individual.

Working Through Anger Issues

In dealing with anger control issues, there are various solutions that medical professionals will often recommend.

While medications are 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. Who may direct them towards self-help literature or activities like meditation that help calm the body and mind?

In general, doctors are trying to orient individuals towards changing their lifestyles to lower their anger responses and make them less of a chronic problem. There is the day-to-day component of this, how 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 medicate for emotional problems, including anger issues. This may involve 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 diagnoses 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. Working on PTSD is a part of how medical professionals realize that most anger problems are tied to the “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 unhealthy and 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 come from childhood trauma or issues from the past. To deal with anger, you have to delve into your 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 ensure that negative emotions are not unhealthy and impact how we feel and act each day.