Anger Management: When to Seek Help?
Feeling angry is completely normal and is generally nothing to be worried about. We all feel a bit moody sometimes or a bit sad on some days. Similarly, you may fume when someone cuts you off in traffic. Or your blood pressure may skyrocket when you come home to find out that the trash has still no been taken out. You can also be infuriated by your teenager refusing to cooperate. Is that a sign of you having anger management issues?
Not necessarily. See here, anger is a completely normal and healthy emotion. It is a natural reaction to what you may perceive as injustices being done to you, to your close ones or to others around you.
Even though it is a normal emotion, it is important to find a healthy and positive way of dealing with anger. And by no means should this lead to you bottling up your feelings. Nor do you want your anger to lead to angry outbursts either – Letting your anger dictate your behavior will not only affect your health but will also take a toll on those around you. When your anger causes harm to you and others around you, that’s when you know you really have a problem. Left untreated, anger issues can become dangerous as they can even lead to criminal convictions and loss of a job.
However, anger issues are not limited to adults only. In fact, according to a study conducted by the Harvard Medical School, more than 7% of teenagers exhibit anger issues that can lead to lifetime diagnoses of the intermittent explosive disorder. Which is why is it’s so important to understand anger symptoms, causes and effects. It is the best way to find out if you have anger management issues.
Let’s Start by Busting a Myth: There Is More than Just One Type of Anger Management Issue
While you may have anger management problems, it does not mean that you’ll present the exact same symptom as someone experiencing the same issue as you. While experts do not unanimously agree on the types of anger that exists, the following are generally widely accepted:
- Passive anger
Passive anger is hard to diagnose and is difficult to identify because it doesn’t always manifest itself or doesn’t come across as anger.
- Chronic anger
Anger is qualified as chronic when it is prolonged. This form of anger can impact the immune system and often leads to other mental disorders.
- Volatile anger
Anger is qualified as volatile when it comes out spontaneously. The person will have sometimes have bouts of excessive or violent anger.
- Overwhelmed anger
Individuals experience this type of anger when they feel overwhelmed by life demands and when they feel that they cannot cope with such demands.
- Self-inflicted anger
This is pretty straightforward: self-inflicted anger is directed toward oneself. It is believed to be caused by feelings of guilt.
- Judgmental anger
Judgemental anger is the opposite of self-inflicted anger. It is directed toward others and is believed to come from feelings of resentment.
But bear in mind that even if you lose your cool from time to time, it doesn’t mean you have a problem. This is why it is important to get diagnosed by a mental health professional. It’s not just because individuals who have trouble managing anger present different types of anger disorders, but also because they need to analyze behavior trends, emotional and physical symptoms to know for sure that you do present signs of anger disorder.
What Are the Signs of an Anger Management Problem?
If you think you have anger management difficulties or believe that someone around you does, start by looking out for the patterns of behavior. These patterns of behavior generally include:
- Increased instances of anger and violence after the consumption of alcohol.
- Difficulty to compromise on issues that should be easily resolved.
- Unable to arrive at mutual agreements without getting angry.
- Expressing emotions in a calm and healthy way becomes difficult.
- Choosing to ignore people and refuse to speak to them
- Choosing to isolate oneself.
- Expressing anger by screaming and swearing constantly.
- Being physically violent and threatening.
- Substance abuse or addiction.
- Inability to handle constructive criticism as it is taken as undermining one’s authority and/or capability.
- Constant cycles of confrontational behavior.
- Overgeneralizing when arguing.
- Displaying obsessive behavior by insisting things ‘should’ be a certain way or by jumping to conclusions about others’ behavior.
- Constantly blaming others for negative situations and never taking responsibility.
When Do I Need to Go to a Professional?
Emotional symptoms, such as the inability to organize and manage your thoughts, and physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart palpitations, are all tell-tale signs that you need to get your anger under control.
Not a big fan of face-to-face sessions? Fret not. There are companies out there that offer anger management courses online. Do not be afraid to contact them.