Anger Management Treatment at Promises

man with loose tie screams at woman while needing anger management classesAnger is natural and healthy, but can become destructive without effective coping skills. Uncontrollable anger is often at the root of the issues we treat at Promises. These issues include substance abuse and mental health disorders.

If you’re struggling with anger and addiction or mental health issues, we can help. Our mental health professionals address the issues underlying these challenges. Promises offers comprehensive care and personalized treatment plans.

What Is Inpatient Anger Management Treatment Like?

One goal of anger management treatment is to prevent the explosion phase. Some of the strategies used in anger management therapy include:

  • Learning about anger triggers and how to respond without being aggressive
  • Relaxation techniques to help you remain calm when you feel a surge of anger
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy to help change the way you think about and react to anger (this has proven effective in treating anger disorders)
  • Communication skills to help you express anger in a productive way
  • Problem-solving techniques to help you feel empowered rather than frustrated

Anger and substance abuse intersect in many ways. Staying away from drugs and alcohol may be the first step in learning to control your anger. There is no single approach that works for everyone with anger management issues. Treatment may include psychotherapy and medication.

People with a history of anger take part in individual and group therapy. We use proven approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness. These types of therapy help you identify situations or behaviors that may trigger an aggressive response. You’ll also develop healthier ways of responding. While you’re receiving mental health and substance abuse treatment, you’ll learn how to control your anger.

What Are Anger Disorders?

Anger disorders are aggressive, violent or self-destructive behaviors. They are both symptoms of and driven by repressed anger. Experts believe that an anger management disorder results from long-term mismanagement of anger. Over time, normal anger can grow into bitterness, resentment and destructive rage.

Anger disorders can result from neurological impairment and substance abuse. Both of these conditions change the way the brain functions. As a result, they can inhibit a person’s ability to resist angry impulses.

The most common diagnoses for people with anger issues are:

  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder (in children and adolescents)
  • Psychotic disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct
  • Intermittent explosive disorder (IED)

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

This is one of the most common anger disorders. It involves repeated incidents of explosive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry outbursts. These responses are way out of proportion to the situation. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that more than 16 million Americans suffer from IED.

People with IED may:

  • Attack others
  • Cause bodily harm and/or property damage
  • Harm themselves during an outburst
  • Express feelings of regret and embarrassment later

Do You Need Anger Management Treatment?

Unmanageable anger can have a negative impact on how others see you. It can also get in the way of your personal and professional relationships. This is the kind of anger that warrants anger management therapy. A mental health professional can help you learn to control your anger. We’ll give you the tools to express your feelings in healthier ways.

People with anger problems may experience a variety of symptoms. You may want to consult an anger management therapist if you experience:

  • Disproportionate anger – Reacting with more anger than most people would in similar situations
  • Intense memory-related anger – Getting angry about past events or people from the past
  • Anger without cause – Feeling angry without a particular reason
  • Guarded interactions with others – Being cautious and guarded when interacting with others
  • Others notice and comment – Several people give feedback that you have difficulty controlling your anger
  • Explosive reactions – Explosive reactions that usually last less than 30 minutes. They occur in clusters or are separated by weeks and months. Between IED episodes, you may be irritable, impulsive, aggressive or angry.
  • Repressed anger – Holding in feelings of anger
  • Physical outbursts – Punching walls or other objects to feel a sense of release
  • Physical symptoms – Experiencing physical symptoms such as teeth grinding, increased heart rate, clenched fists or sweaty palms
  • Poor self-soothing skills – Having a hard time calming down
  • Regret/shame – Regretting your actions after a blowup

Who’s at Risk?

Factors that increase the risk of developing anger issues include:

  • History of substance abuse – Drug and alcohol abuse increases the risk of IED
  • History of physical abuse – You may be at increased risk for IED if you were abused as a child or experienced multiple traumatic events
  • Age – IED most commonly begins during the teens and 20s
  • Gender – Men are more likely to experience IED than women

Anger disorders sometimes go along with forms of mental illness. Examples include anxiety, personality disorders or mood disorders. They can also occur alongside medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or traumatic brain injury.

Anger’s Link to Substance Abuse

Anger can feed substance abuse and vice versa. Some people try to control their anger by abusing alcohol or other drugs. Consuming too many drugs or alcohol can have a sedating effect on some people. Others become more aggressive and angry.

Alcohol and drug abuse are especially prevalent among people with intermittent explosive disorder. Researchers from Harvard Medical School examined data from the National Comorbidity Survey. They found that over 60% of people with IED had sought mental health or substance abuse treatment.

Some mental health professionals view anger as a type of addiction. Research shows the same parts of the brain are activated by substance abuse and compulsive aggressive behavior. People may get “addicted” to the buildup and release of angry feelings. Like drugs and alcohol, anger becomes a coping mechanism.

Anger and Mental Health Disorders

Anger has been linked to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Research finds a correlation among anger, irritability and major depression. Some mental health professionals believe depression results from suppressing emotions. People may suppress emotions like sadness, fear, shame, and anger. This can cause depression symptoms.

Trauma and anger can also go hand in hand. People who’ve experienced trauma may have underlying anger tied to these situations. Angry feelings can get triggered in everyday life. Sometimes they surface in circumstances that don’t warrant the intensity of anger. Much research has explored PTSD in military combat veterans. These studies have identified issues with controlling anger.

Researchers analyzed data from a large national sample of more than 34,000 U.S. adults. They found strong associations between out-of-control anger and the following mental health issues:

  • Substance abuse
  • Schizotypal personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Psychotic disorder

Find Relief in an Anger and Substance Abuse Treatment Program

If you or someone you love is struggling with out-of-control anger, substance abuse or mental health issues, call us. Speak with someone who understands what you’re going through. Find out what’s driving your anger. Develop new coping skills and the tools to express your anger in healthy ways. You’ll not only feel better, you’ll be able to get your needs met. Call Promises today for a free, confidential consultation: 1.713.528.3709.

Posted on July 21, 2017 and modified on April 27, 2019