What Is Anger?
Anger is a basic, human emotion tied to survival and honed through evolution. In general, it is tied to our fight-flight-freeze response and prepares us to fight when a circumstance arises. Though anger can be a healthy response to certain situations [it’s entirely normal to feel anger if someone cuts you off on the highway or if you were passed over for a promotion], it becomes unhealthy without the proper management skills . For example, violence of any kind, especially when due to outrage, is unhealthy. Likewise, frequent and/or intense anger may be a sign for an underlying mental condition. It is important to understand what causes rage and to note when it’s causing issues or may be due to a mental condition.
What Causes Anger?
Many different things can lead to the development of anger; these are often referred to as triggers. Triggers differ from person to person, though many common environmental causes do exist. For example, many people may find themselves growing angry when stressed. Stress can be due to things such as work overloads, family and relationship issues, or financial troubles.
In addition to environmental causes, many people suffer from anger due to underlying mental conditions. For example, it is a common symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder [OCD], attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], and bipolar disorder. It is also a byproduct of alcohol and other related substance abuse, as well as grief.
Types of Anger
Many different types of anger exist, based upon the cause and reasoning behind it. Though there are certainly many more, we’ve included some of the most common types below.
Righteous anger is often referred to as simply being mad. It is irritation caused by a situation that rightfully warrants the feeling. For example, if you feel angry due to seeing someone be the victim to racism or homophobia, your emotion is considered righteous. It is rooted in morals and is caused by the obstruction of said morals.
As the name suggests, defensive anger is ire felt as a defense mechanism. It typically arises when someone is criticized or insulted. For example, if someone were to tell you that a painting you had done was only sub-par, you might get defensively angry.
Habitual anger is often associated with temperament. It is felt frequently or consistently, embodied in various emotions such as frustration, resentment, or irritability. The cause of habitual anger may be unknown or may vary.
Nobody likes to be humiliated or to feel shame. For some people, feeling shame may invoke feelings of outrage. This type of storm occasionally goes hand-in-hand with defensive anger, as it can be seen as a defense mechanism to protect against shame.
Impulse or Mood-Altering
Impulse and mood-altering anger are two different types of annoyance that go hand-in-hand with one another. While impulsive anger refers to a sudden rage, without reason, mood-altering anger is associated with mood swings – the sudden changing of one emotion into another. Both are associated with intermittent explosive disorder, a mental disorder involving disproportionate responses of outrage, which can lead to violent words and actions.
Paranoid anger is most commonly associated with paranoid personality disorder. With this mental disorder, a person is suspicious of others and what others might do. This, in turn, can spark a very disproportionate vexation.
Hidden, Buried, or Sneaky
In today’s society, we’re often told to suppress our rages. We hide it and don’t act on it, as most cases of acting on anger typically ends with some type of scolding or repercussions. As a result, the irritation we’re forced to bury manifests itself into various other ways – many of which we typically don’t pick up on unless we’re thinking about it.
Signs and Symptoms of Anger
Symptoms of anger often arrive in physical and emotional types. Physical symptoms often take the shape of increased blood pressure and heart rate, tingling sensations, and muscle tension. Emotional symptoms typically involve feelings or irritability, frustration, anxiety, rage, stress, and guilt. These, of course, are not the only symptoms. However, they are some of the most common and easily identifiable.
Coping Strategies for different kinds of rage
Many steps can be taken to cope with our emotions in a healthy manner, rather than turning to violence or hurtful words. To cope with your anger, first identify what it is that triggers the emotion. If you’re able to avoid certain situations that invoke exasperation, avoid them. Additionally, if someone does something that makes you angry, calmly explain to them why and work together to find a solution. If you are in a situation that progressively makes you angry, step away from it; take a moment to breath and recollect yourself, before joining back in. Additionally, exercise may be a great way to help let go of the rage, as it promotes the production of endorphins and directs your negative energy towards something positive.
In some circumstances, you may need to turn to therapy to help develop better coping mechanisms for your anger. Therapy approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT] help to restructure thinking, solve problems by finding new ways to cope, and develop communication skills, among other things.
How Can Makin Wellness Help?
At Makin Wellness, our providers are trained in cognitive behavioral therapy and the treatment of anger management. Our counseling and programs are court approved and beneficial to those both court ordered and not. We offer both individual sessions as well as group sessions. If you’re struggling to properly cope with daily irritations or have been court ordered to undergo anger management classes, call us today at (412) 532–1249 or email us at [email protected] to schedule an appointment with one of our providers.