- Anxiety and anger are common states of mind, but they can quickly escalate if we don’t know how to regulate our emotions.
- Despite seeming unrelated, anger and anxiety can be closely tied together—as anger is often a sign of an underlying issue with regulating anxious thoughts that have become overwhelming.
- Some common anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder, can both cause anger as a symptom of intense anxiety.
- Because high levels of anger and anxiety can cause aggressive behavior, both verbally and physically, it’s of the utmost importance that we all take great care to regulate these difficult emotional states.
- Commonly effective coping skills include taking a cold shower, lowering the temperature of a room, taking a walk, meditating, calling a loved one, and more.
Anxiety and anger are common emotional states that many of us experience—sometimes daily. But when we’re unable to manage the intensity of these emotions, they might transform into chronic issues.
This means that it’s important to think through the causes of anxiety and anger, as well as how to prevent them in the future, through anxiety and anger management. Despite being normal emotions, anxiety and anger can create interpersonal issues, unnecessary stress, and may even lead to the development of a mental health condition if left unchecked.
Is Anger a Symptom of Anxiety?
Anger can absolutely be a symptom of anxiety. This is due to the inherent dysregulation the anxiety sufferer feels, which can limit prefrontal cortex functioning. This area of the brain seems to control our ability to describe our emotions and how we feel to others.
This can lead to a building up of emotions which is then easily expressed as anger, due to the prefrontal cortex becoming overwhelmed. Often, anger is seen as a secondary emotion that masks what someone is truly feeling, and without the right coping skills, they may release these volatile emotions unhealthily.
What Type of Issues Cause Anxiety and Anger?
There doesn’t have to be a specific trigger of anxiety and anger. Often anxiety and anger are fueled by dysregulation, or not knowing how to process intense emotions.
If you find that you are unable or are unsuccessful in regulating your anxiety, anger is a common output. It’s a way for all that pent-up tension to come out.
Generalized anxiety and panic disorder are typically the most common types of anxiety disorders that many clinicians see manifested as anger.
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Can Anxiety and Anger Cause Aggression?
While it is more common for depression to cause anger and aggression, anxiety can absolutely serve as a significant trigger of anger and aggression. The causal mechanism behind this is similar to what is written above.
Anger can be manifest as a result of:
- Dysregulated emotions
- Feelings of panic
- Feelings of being trapped
- And many other unique circumstances or emotions
These are all due to the increase in impulsivity that often accompanies anger. The chances of saying or doing something that you’ll regret are much higher when you’re in a heightened emotional state. That’s why finding the right ways to cope with anxiety and anger are essential to someone’s long-term mental health and well-being.
Can Anxiety Medicine Help with Anger?
Sometimes anxiety medication can help someone work through both anxiety and anger. Anxiety medicine helps with anger expression by overall lowering the reactivity of your body; it reduces the amount of anxiety felt and experienced.
This lack of stress on the central nervous system can reduce the frequency and intensity of anger expression. So in short, yes, it does help, but primarily through indirect methods. It often works best with therapeutic interventions to offer further insight and support.
How Do I Deal with Anxiety and Anger?
One of the best ways to start dealing with anxiety and anger is to:
- Start tracking and identifying patterns. Look for specific stressors and triggers that you notice increase anxiety and increase propensity to express anger.
- Implement mindfulness and distress tolerance. Though it might feel unnatural and uncomfortable at first, learning to recognize the warning signs of anger before it fully develops is key to controlling your response to stressors.
Distress tolerance, especially when it comes to reducing anxiety and anger, can include, but is not limited to:
- Taking a cold shower
- Dipping your face in a bowl of cold water
- Using a fan to keep the room you’re in cool
- Deep breathing
- Taking a walk
- Using yoga or mindfulness
- Calling a friend, family member, or loved one
Anything that can help you cool off is often an effective way to treat anxiety and anger. Perhaps the most effective long-term solution is to work with a mental health professional who can help you understand and better manage what you’re experiencing.