Anger isn’t always a bad thing. It’s an emotion that everybody experiences now and then. However, when it gets out of control or turns destructive, it can lead to problems in relationships and with co-workers, as well as the overall quality of life.
People who experience anger issues often feel they’re not in control of themselves. Anger counseling can help give them that control back. At Thriveworks Conway, AR anger counseling the professionally-licensed and credentialed therapists and counselors work with people to teach them how to deal with their anger and express it in healthy ways.
What is Anger?
Anger is an emotion that can vary between mild irritation to intense rage. When people react in a way that is more intense and aggressive than what is necessary in the situation, they may physically hurt others or themselves. Some people take their frustrations out on inanimate objects, punching doors or kicking walls. There are times when people aggressively argue and call other people disrespectful names, give contemptuous looks and make menacing gestures. At times, people may keep the anger bottled up inside of themselves, constantly think about the situation that made them angry or plan to retaliate.
These individuals may benefit from anger management therapy at Thriveworks in Conway, AR.
What Causes Anger?
Anger is not a problem in itself. It is a normal emotion that can come from feelings of frustration, hurt, annoyance and disappointment. The trouble is when a person’s anger becomes uncontrollable and he gets carried away, which leads to the loss of reason and rationality. The result can be erratic behavior, violence, abuse, addictions and even trouble with the law.
Anger can be caused by internal and external issues. In some cases, anger is directed at a specific person or event, and in other instances it’s caused by worrying about personal issues. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger anger.
Anger Can be Harmful to Your Health
Anger can be good for people when it is addressed quickly and expressed in a healthy way. But, when people turn it inward, hold it in for a long time or explode in a rage, it can be dangerous for the health. The following are some of the harmful effects of uncontrollable anger.
- Angry rages are most physically damaging to the heart. According to Chris Aiken, MD, an instructor in clinical psychiatry at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, repressed anger–where you express it indirectly or go to great lengths to control it, is associated with heart disease. One study found that people who had a tendency toward anger as a personality trait were at two times the risk of coronary disease than less angry people.
- A study published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology in 2014 found that people had three times the risk of a stroke from a blood clot to the brain or bleeding within the brain during the two hours after rage. In addition, individuals with an aneurysm in one of the arteries in the brain had as much as six times higher risk of rupturing the aneurysm after the uncontrollable anger.
- People who are angry much of the time may also feel sick more. A Harvard University study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25389190) uncovered that healthy people who remembered an angry episode from their past caused a six-hour plummet in levels of immunoglobulin A—the cells’ front line of defense against infections.
- People who have uncontrollable anger may find that their anxiety gets worse. In a 2012 study discussed in the article “The Role of Anger in Generalized Anxiety Disorder” (in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy 41(3):261-71), researchers found that anger can make the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)–a condition where excessive and uncontrollable worry disrupts a person’s daily life–worse.
- Anger that is uncontrolled is connected to depression. When people have anger but never take action—and, instead, continue to let it simmer—they can become depressed.
- In “Angry Breathing: A Prospective Study of Hostility and Lung Function in the Normative Aging Study” (published online in BMJ Journals in 2006), Harvard University scientists studied nearly 700 men for a little more than eight years using a “hostility scale” to measure anger levels. These levels were compared to changes in the men’s lung functioning. The results showed that men who scored the highest on hostility ratings had much worse lung capacity, increasing their chances of respiratory problems. A theory for this was that the rise in stress hormones that are related to feelings of anger caused inflammation in the airways.
- A University of Michigan study (http://www.livescience.com/4814-spouses-fight-live-longer.html) conducted for about 17 years uncovered that couples who held their anger in had shorter life spans than the couples who discussed the situations that made them mad.
Determining Appropriate Anger Levels
If everybody experiences anger, how can a counselor tell you if your anger is normal or extreme?
Counselors use tests that measure the intensity of your feelings, how you handle feelings and how prone to anger you are. The reality is that if you think you have an anger problem, it is likely that you do. If you’ve ever felt out of control and frightened by your own anger, it may benefit you to find help to better deal with it. Anger counselors can work with you to find ways to handle your anger. Each person’s treatment plan is based on their individual needs. An anger counselor will work with you to:
- Recognize triggers.
- Learn how to better respond to triggers without becoming aggressive.
- Teach specific skills to better manage triggers.
- Identify times when thoughts don’t lead to logical conclusions.
- Change your way of thinking and reacting in specific triggering situations.
- Teach you to relax, stay calm and be peaceful even when you feel surges of anger.
- Teach when and how to be assertive. Being more expressive about needs can help you to feel more in control of situations.
- Teach problem-solving techniques to help you to feel empowered, which, in turn, lowers the risk of anger triggers.
The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in Conway, AR have professional licenses and are certified. They work with people who have uncontrollable anger to help them recognize the triggers that make them angry and the ways to appropriately respond to the anger that is interfering with their lives. The Thriveworks therapists can determine the best anger management treatment plan for individuals in order for them to lead healthier lives–mentally and physically.
The path to a more fulfilling life without uncontrollable anger begins at Thriveworks. Call us today at (501) 404-9737.