Anger is an entirely normal emotion all humans feel at some point, but it could quickly turn into a problem if you don’t know how to manage it. Some signs of anger issues are linked to various mental health disorders. Other times, they are a consequence of your bad habits or the unwelcome side effect of the life burdens you have to deal with every day.
9 Causes of Anger Issues
Depression is characterized by a loss of the so-called joie de vivre, or rather, a loss of interest in things, people, and situations that once gave you a reason to get up every day. While a depressed person may often experience extreme sadness and an overall lack of any kind of motivation, anger is another symptom they may exhibit, particularly overtly expressed and suppressed anger.
2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder engulfs a person’s mind with obsessive thoughts, disturbing urges, and images they cannot seem to control. That alone could give way to anger and losing control. In fact, a 2011 study suggested that about 50% of people who suffer from OCD might be prone to anger attacks.
3. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Hyperactivity, lack of attention, and impulsivity are just some of the symptoms of ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder that often occurs in children but can be diagnosed in adults as well. People with ADHD have issues with self-regulation and emotional dysregulation. Consequently, they may also be prone to angry outbursts, irritability, and even frequent and intensely reactive mood changes.
4. Alcohol Abuse
Frequent alcohol abuse limits your ability to think rationally and, above all, clearly. Alcohol can cloud a person’s moral compass and thoughts, not to mention that it affects impulse control and makes controlling your emotions a lot harder than usual.
5. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
As a type of behavior disorder, ODD comes with many different behavioral symptoms, including short temper, annoyance, anger, and resentment. In adults, ODD can make a person feel as if they are always angry. They could also easily start arguments with others, fail to comply with laws, and be rather spiteful or vindictive.
6. Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)
Irrational reactions that are severely blown out of proportion often occur in people who suffer from IED. This disorder is mainly characterized by explosive rage outbursts, violence, or aggression.
7. Bipolar Disorder
As people with bipolar disorder are prone to extreme mood swings, they are plagued by various behavioral issues and emotional outbursts. Though most people associate this disorder with extreme euphoria or severe depression (manic vs. depressive episode), BD can also cause irritability, anger, and rage.
8. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a cluster-B personality disorder, the essential feature of which is a pattern of marked impulsivity and instability of affects, interpersonal relationships, and self image. The pattern is present by early adulthood and occurs across a variety of situations and contexts. Other Bpd symptoms usually include intense fears of abandonment and intense anger and irritability, the reason for which others have difficulty understanding.
9. Current Circumstances
Finally, anger issues can also stem from everyday life, or rather, someone’s inability to handle everything life throws at them. Grief is, in particular, problematic, as anger is one of its stages and can be directed at a person, event, or even objects.
Other than grief, you may feel your blood boil because you’re dealing with a lot of stress and problems in your personal relationships or at work. Financial stress can also beat a person down and open up Pandora’s box full of anger, irritability, sleep problems, mood swings, and fear.
14 Signs of Anger Issues
If someone has anger issues, it’s not uncommon for them to display a range of both physical and emotional symptoms. Some of the physical signs you may experience include:
1. Trembling or shaking
2. Rapid heart rate
3. Feeling hot and sweaty
4. Muscle tension
5. Feeling tightness in the chest
Emotionally, someone who’s boiling with anger may feel:
1. Anxious or nervous
5. Triggered or otherwise provoked
8. As if rage is engulfing them
An angry person’s behavior also changes rapidly, going so far as to urge them to act out violently or aggressively toward others. But it’s not always so obvious, as people can display passive, outward, and inward anger.
Those who express their anger outwardly tend to curse, shout, verbally or physically abuse others, or throw and break things around them. In contrast, people who tend to direct their anger at themselves (inward) resort to self-harm and various humiliation tactics, like negative self-talk and going against basic human needs (e.g., eating to survive).
The pettiest type of anger one can display is certainly passive anger. In that case, the angry person chooses snide comments, sarcasm, sulking, and giving silent treatment as their weapons.
How to Deal With Anger
Dealing with anger can be a challenge at times, and sometimes, all you can really do is ask for professional help. That said, there are a few management techniques you can try at home whenever you feel like rage or anger are starting to overwhelm you:
• Take a pause before reacting. If possible, walk away and count to 10 before letting anger get the best of you.
• Listen carefully. Instead of jumping to conclusions while arguing with someone, dissect what the other person is saying and try to rationalize your thoughts.
• Distract yourself. Do something that makes you happy or at least calms you down, such as taking a walk, dancing, or even listening to music. Divert your mind from intense, angry thoughts by focusing your attention on something else before you blow your fuse.
• Use relaxation techniques. You can also try breathing more deeply to calm both your thoughts and mind. Alternatively, try progressive muscle relaxation to gain more control over your body and its responses.
When to Ask for Help
Your anger issues may seem like they’re out of control, you may often regret the things you say or do, or you may have even become violent or aggressive — and have no idea how to resolve your problems.
In all of those cases, a professional would be able to help you learn new techniques or get the right kind of therapy to alleviate your anger. Some of the possible solutions include:
• Cognitive-behavioral therapy
• Anger management classes
• Medications in case you are diagnosed with a disorder, such as ADHD or depression.