Basic Information

Anger Management Basic Information

When anger is not properly managed, the consequences can become severe. Mismanaged anger can lead to a host of consequences, from relationship deterioration to incidents of domestic violence. For the individual with anger management issues, unresolved anger can lead to health risks (such as insomnia, hypertension and cardiac conditions), depression, reckless driving, isolation and difficulty concentrating. Until treatment for anger management is sought, unbridled anger can put both the angry individual – as well as those around them – at risk.

In fact, nearly two million domestic violence assaults occur each year, and in 2007 alone, nearly six million children were involved in child abuse cases – but even these numbers only represent reported acts of violence. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, unbridled anger in the workplace can even cause dire consequences – with on-the-job violence being ranked as the fourth cause of workplace fatalities.

Addiction has also been linked to anger management issues, with 40 percent of frequent cocaine users admitting to episodes of violence, according to a report by The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA).

Causes for Anger Issues

How do anger management issues develop? For some, anger management issues hearken back to childhood. Poor parental management of anger during the childhood years leads to modeling of negative patterns of expressing anger in adulthood. Incidents of childhood trauma – such as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; neglect; severe social bullying; or unresolved early grief – can also lead to pent-up rage that causes anger management issues when children reach adulthood.

Why Do People Seek Anger Management Treatment?

While there are many reasons that individuals may seek anger management treatment, the reality is that few come on their own volition. When anger management issues arise, they tend to affect important relationships and areas of one’s life – often, with some consequence that leads the person to seek help. One of the benefits of anger management treatment is the ability to improve these areas of living, strengthen or retain central relationships or use negative experiences with anger to springboard to more positive ways of relating to the world.

ptsdMany individuals are referred by the court system for mandated anger management classes after commission of a violent crime. Some individuals seek anger management treatment as part of their recovery from long-term drug or alcohol addiction. In some cases, spouses, parents, friends,or loved ones request – or at times require – that individuals face their issues with anger management and receive treatment for resolution in order for relationships to endure.

Some individuals have been asked to seek anger management treatment by their employers, as the result of an on-the-job physical or verbal outburst.

Resolution of Anger

Through targeted therapy, anger management issues can be resolved by retraining responses when anger sets in. Assertive, nonviolent communication can be learned, focusing on “I” statements and conflict resolution rather than merely venting angry emotions. Identification of triggers – the incidents and emotions that lead to extreme anger – and bodily cues that anger is present can help individuals proactively deal with rising anger before it’s too late.

Relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing and visualization, can also be helpful in reducing the pace to an angry outburst, allowing the individual time to control their responses.

Treatment Courses

Anger management treatment occurs in group settings where individuals can discuss their progress and experiences with anger, educational classes and workshops that teach anger management techniques and impart empathy, or in individualized talk therapy sessions that allow greater focus on individual issues that may contribute to angry outbursts. Depending on the severity and cause of the anger management issues at hand, successful treatment typically takes anywhere from one to three months, though some individuals reach resolution at as little as four weeks or as long as years.  In some cases, treatment of underlying depression, trauma, anxiety, control issues or substance abuse problems can also lead anger management issues to resolve in a positive manner.