man screaming at woman

Anger Management Therapy & Treatment

Anger Management Treatment at Promises

Anger is one of the underlying sources of substance use disorders and other destructive behaviors we treat at Promises. Addressing both problems in treatment can help prevent relapse. Many of our treatment centers offer anger management therapy.

One of the goals of anger management treatment is to prevent people from reaching 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 clients remain calm when they feel a surge of anger
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy to change the way people think about and react to anger
  • Communication skills to help clients express their anger in a productive way
  • Problem-solving techniques to help people feel empowered rather than frustrated

Anger and substance abuse are intertwined in many ways. For many people, staying away from drugs and alcohol is the first step in helping prevent outbursts of uncontrollable rage. While there is no single treatment that works for everyone with anger management issues, treatment may include psychotherapy and medication. Clients with anger problems participate in individual and small group therapy sessions. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps them identify situations or behaviors that may trigger a hostile, aggressive response. Clients also learn how to manage their anger and control inappropriate responses using techniques such as relaxation therapy, cognitive behavioral practices and mindfulness.

What Are Anger Disorders?

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

Anger disorders can be exacerbated or caused by neurological impairment and substance abuse. Both inhibit a person’s ability to resist angry, aggressive or violent impulses.

The most commonly used psychiatric diagnoses for angry, violent and aggressive behavior are:

  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Conduct Disorder (in children and adolescents)
  • Psychotic Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Antisocial, Borderline, Paranoid or Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Adjustment Disorder with Disturbance of Conduct
  • Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

One of the most common anger disorders, intermittent explosive disorder (IED) involves repeated incidents of explosive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry outbursts that are grossly out of proportion to the situation. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that more than 16 million Americans may suffer from IED.

People with IED may attack others, causing bodily harm and property damage or harm themselves during an outburst. Later, they may express feelings of regret, remorse and embarrassment.

Do You Need Anger Management Treatment?

Anger can have a negative impact on how others see you and gets in the way of your personal and professional life. This is the kind of anger that warrants anger management therapy. A mental health professional can help you learn to successfully manage your anger by giving you the tools to express your emotions 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 some of the following:

  • Disproportionate anger – Reacting to certain circumstances with more anger than most other 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 other people give feedback that you have difficulty managing your anger
  • For those with IED, explosive reactions that usually last less than 30 minutes and occur in clusters or are separated by weeks and months. In between IED episodes, you may be irritable, impulsive, aggressive or angry.
  • Holding in feelings of anger
  • Punching walls or other objects to feel a sense of release
  • Experiencing physical symptoms such as teeth grinding, an increased heart rate, clenched fists or sweaty palms
  • Having a hard time calming down
  • Regretting your actions instantly after a blowup

Who’s at Risk?

There are a number of factors that increase the risk of developing anger problems that may require anger management treatment, including:

  • History of substance abuse – Drug and alcohol abuse increases the risk of IED
  • History of physical abuse – Those who were physically abused as children or experienced multiple traumatic events are at increased risk for IED
  • Age – IED most commonly begins during the teens and 20s
  • Gender – Men are more likely to experience IED than women

Aggressive behaviors may be displayed in people with other forms of mental illness, such as anxiety, personality disorders or mood disorders, along with some medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or traumatic brain injury.

Looking for Anger Management Treatment?

If you or someone you love is struggling with out-of-control anger, call us to speak with someone who understands what you are going through. When you are conscious of what lies beneath your anger and have the tools to express yourself in constructive ways, you will not only feel better, you will be more likely to get your needs met. Call our compassionate recovery experts today for a free, confidential consultation: 844-876-5568

To learn more about Anger Management Therapy & Treatment, call 844-876-5568

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