Anger is an emotional state that can vary in intensity from mild irritation to intense rage. Anger can be helpful or harmful, depending on how we manage and express it in our lives. Triggers for anger can come from inside or external events. You might find yourself becoming angry when you think about your personal problems or remember a past traumatic event. Or, you might notice you’re becoming angry when an event happens, like getting stuck in a traffic jam or being interrupted by someone. If you find your anger is causing problems in your life, therapy can help with evidence-based strategies to help you manager your anger.
Facts about Anger
- Almost a third of people polled (32%) say they have a close friend or family member who has trouble controlling their anger.
- More than one in ten (12%) say that they have trouble controlling their own anger.
- More than one in four people (28%) say that they worry about how angry they sometimes feel.
- One in five of people (20%) say that they have ended a relationship or friendship with someone because of how they behaved when they were angry.
- 64% either strongly agree or agree that people in general are getting angrier.
- Fewer than one in seven (13%) of those people who say they have trouble controlling their anger have sought help for their anger problems.
- 58% of people wouldn’t know where to seek help if they needed help with an anger problem.
- 84% strongly agree or agree that people should be encouraged to seek help if they have problems with anger.
- Those who have sought help were most likely to do so from a health professional (such as a counsellor, therapist, GP or nurse), rather than from friends and family, social workers, employers or voluntary organisations.
Physical Signs of Anger
- Tense Muscles;
- Burning or tightness in the chest;
- Hot flushes;
- Frowning or scowling
- Clenching fists
- Speaking sternly
- Verbal or physical aggression
People with chronic or problematic anger often have difficulties in school or at work. Often these difficulties also show up at home or in their relationships with others. Anger often occurs along with things like behaviour problems, depression, bipolar disorder, ADD/ADHD, or anxiety.
Treatment for Anger Problems
Psychotherapy and counselling that is short-term and strategy-based can be very helpful for better anger management. Strategies include relaxation training, retraining unhelpful thinking patterns, improving our communication skills, using humour to “get perspective”, and learning new problem solving strategies. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a primary type of Psychotherapy that is helpful for managing anger. Other therapies that can be helpful include mindfulness meditation and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).