Anger can take any number of guises, from mild irritation to outright fury and rage. As a form of emotion, most everyone experiences feelings of anger at various points throughout their lives.
Anger can become a destructive force in a person’s life unless it’s managed constructively. With stress being a near normal part of daily life in today’s world, the ability to manage stress effectively can make a big difference in terms of one’s overall quality of life.
Different people may require anger management help for different reasons –
- Someone with unresolved emotional hurts can carry feelings of anger for years after the inciting incident.
- People involved in abusive relationships may also harbor feelings of anger.
- A stressful job or work environment can breed anger amongst dissatisfied or unfulfilled employees.
- Anger is also an unexpected aftereffect for people who abuse drugs or struggle with addiction.
When left unattended, feelings of anger start to affect other areas of a person’s life in harmful ways. Anger management treatment helps those with anger problems identify and work through underlying causes while developing strategies for managing and directing this volatile emotion.
Like any other intense emotion, anger places a considerable strain on the body as a whole. With each bout of anger, the body’s central nervous system goes into overdrive, releasing hormones and speeding up chemical activities throughout.
According to North Carolina State University, expressing intense feelings of anger or expressing anger on a frequent basis can have harmful effects on the body. Over time, a person can develop any number of health problems, some of which include –
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Weakened immune system
Once anger becomes a part of a person’s behavioral make-up, the chemical activities brought on by anger can take on a more permanent nature. In effect, chemical imbalances start to form in the brain and central nervous system, creating conditions where anxiety and depression disorders can take root.
Expressions of anger can take various forms –
While these expressions may indicate underlying feelings of anger exist, anger’s components lie within a person’s overall attitude towards a situation or circumstance, just like with any other expressed emotion.
At the center of anger sits an attitude of hostility, fueled by negative thinking patterns and judgments. When left to grow and fester, this attitude becomes more ingrained to the point where behavior displays take on a more violent overtone. This means, someone who harbors frustrations and resentments for months or years at a time may start to act on these feelings in more violent and/or aggressive ways.
Ultimately, anger is a learned behavior as well as a coping skill. Anger management treatment helps a person learn to develop alternative ways of expressing anger by addressing the underlying attitudes that fuel the emotion. Over time, a person starts to replace unhealthy behaviors with constructive coping skills while developing a healthier mindset and attitude.
Anger Management Treatment Interventions
Who Needs Anger Management Treatment?
- Anyone who experiences anger on a consistent basis
- People who experience intense feelings of anger or rage
- Anyone who expresses anger in inappropriate ways (verbal abuse, violence)
- When the negative consequences that result anger start to cause problems in a person’s life
An unbridled anger streak can comes with any number of negative consequences, some of which include –
- Being arrested or placed in jail
- Getting injured
- Injuring someone else
- Being attacked out of retaliation
- Broken relationships
- Getting fired from a job
Someone who experiences any one of the above symptoms on a regular basis likely needs anger management training.
Anger Management Strategies
Anger management strategies offer methods for identifying and redirecting angry impulses on a day-to-day basis. One of the first steps to getting a handle on anger entails developing an awareness of the cues and triggers that set it in motion. It’s also important to develop an awareness of the negative consequences that result from anger displays.
From there, specific strategies can be employed to manage feelings of anger before they escalate to the point where negative consequences ensue. Anger management techniques can be used to redirect intense emotions on the spot. They can also take the form of preventive measures that work to eliminate anger at its source.
Both immediate and preventative strategies for managing anger may include –
- Immediate techniques
- Deep breathing
- Redirecting one’s thinking patterns
- Taking a timeout
- Preventative measures
- Addressing underlying belief systems that promote angry feelings
- Starting an exercise regimen
Psychosocial Treatment Interventions
Psychosocial treatment interventions work to help a person identify the underlying issues that drive anger and understand the role it’s played in his or her life. Much of the time spent in an anger management program involves engaging in exercises and discussions designed to develop “anger awareness” and healthy coping behaviors.
According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, psychosocial treatment interventions may take the form of –
- Individual psychotherapy
- Group therapy
- Group counseling
Group work makes up a big part of the treatment process, as interactions had within a group setting can offer up prime opportunities for developing healthy ways of coping and behaving in difficult situations.
More oftentimes than not, anger problems and poor communication skills go hand-in-hand. Keeping emotional conflicts bottled up inside creates the conditions where anger can develop.
While psychotherapy can go a long way towards addressing the underlying issues behind anger, having someone to talk with about difficult or confusing emotions can go a long way towards helping to diffuse angry feelings. A mentor or sponsor can be of great benefit in terms helping a person stick to his or her anger management plan.
In cases where drug or alcohol abuse are a factor, any progress made with anger management will be minimal at best as these substances only aggravate the chemical imbalances that set anger in motion. For long-term purposes, joining an anger management support group can help keep a person engaged in his or her recovery.