How to cope with anger

The goal of dealing with anger is to own the moment, so anger doesn't own you.

THE BASICS

  • How Can I Manage My Anger?
  • Find a therapist to heal from anger

Our world is in the midst of an emotional meltdown. People are restless, volatile, our tempers about to blow.

A recent Newsweek cover story, “Rage Goes Viral,” describes how from Tunisia to Egypt a wave of rage is rocking the Arab world to create revolutions. Rage is also prevalent in our everyday lives: There’s road rage, office rage, supermarket rage, and even surfer’s rage.

Why is rage so rampant? What is the solution?

In my new book, I explore the differences between good and bad anger. Anger can be a healthy reaction to injustice, such as cultures fighting to free themselves from repressive regimes. Anger rallies people. It creates energy and motivation to rebel against dysfunctional political or social systems. It also motivates groups to go on strike say, for higher, well-deserved wages or to defend human rights. On a personal level, anger can be good if it’s expressed in a focused, healthy way rather than using it to punish or harm others.

Your Body’s Reaction to Anger

As a psychiatrist, I know that anger is both intensely and primally physical. Let’s say a colleague double-crosses you in a business deal. You feel angry. Your amygdala stimulates adrenaline. You get an energy rush that rallies you to fight. Blood flows to your hands, making it easier to grasp a weapon. Your heart pumps faster. You breathe harder. Pupils dilate. You sweat.

In this hyperadrenalized state, aggression mounts. You may raise your voice, point accusingly, stare him down, grimace, flail your arms around, verbally intimidate, barge into his personal space. Taken to an extreme, you could literally be driven to knock him out or beat him up. In a pure survival-oriented sense, you want to dominate and retaliate to protect yourself and prevent further exploitation. Anger is one of the hardest impulses to control because of its evolutionary value in defending against danger.

What factors make us susceptible to anger? One is an accumulation of built-up stresses. That’s why your temper can flare more easily after a frustrating day. The second is letting anger and resentments smolder. When anger becomes chronic, cortisol, the stress hormone, contributes to its slow burn. Remaining in this condition makes you edgy, quick to snap.

Research has proven that anger feeds on itself. The effect is cumulative: Each angry episode builds on the hormonal momentum of the time before. For example, even the most devoted, loving mothers may be horrified to find themselves screaming at their kids if they haven’t learned to constructively diffuse a backlog of irritations. Therefore, the powerful lesson our biology teaches us is the necessity of breaking the hostility cycle early on, and that brooding on the past is hazardous to your well-being.

For optimal health, you must address your anger. But the point isn’t to keep blowing up when you’re upset. Rather, it’s to develop strategies to express anger that are body-friendly. Otherwise, you’ll be set up for illnesses such as migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, or chronic pain, which can be exacerbated by tension. Or you’ll keep jacking up your blood pressure and constricting your blood vessels, which compromises flow to the heart.

THE BASICS

  • How Can I Manage My Anger?
  • Find a therapist to heal from anger

A Johns Hopkins study reports that young men who habitually react to stress with anger are more likely than their calmer counterparts to have an early heart attack, even without a family history of heart disease. Further, other studies have shown that hostile couples who hurl insults and roll their eyes when arguing physically heal more slowly than less antagonistic partners who have a “we’re in this together” attitude.

Still, repressing anger isn’t the answer either. Research also reveals that those who keep silent during marital disputes have a greater chance of dying from heart disease or suffering stress-related ailments than those who speak their minds.

Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, international bestselling author and host of the The Verywell Mind Podcast.

Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified pediatric psychologist, parent coach, author, speaker, and owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC.

Tetra Images / Getty Images

Whether they throw their smartphone against the wall when they’re frustrated that an app won’t work, or they yell and swear when they don’t get their way, teens who can’t manage their anger are bound to have serious problems. While some lash out verbally, others may become physically aggressive. If they don’t learn how to manage their anger, they’ll have difficulty at school, in relationships, and in their careers.

Although anger is a normal, healthy emotion, it's important to know how to deal with it. Knowing how to cope with anger and how to express it in a socially appropriate manner are important skills for teens to learn. Here are eight concepts and strategies that can help teach teens anger management skills.

Anger Expectations

Every family has different expectations about how anger should be handled. Some families have very little tolerance for yelling while in other families, yelling is a normal means of communicating.

Create rules about what constitutes acceptable behavior and explain what behaviors will not be tolerated.   Don’t allow name-calling, physical violence, or threats in your home. Establish clear consequences for breaking the rules.

Anger vs. Aggression

Teach your teen the difference between angry feelings and aggressive behavior.   Angry feelings are completely acceptable. Aggressive behavior, however, is not OK. Make it clear that it's never OK to throw things, slam doors, or deliberately break objects.

Teens need to know that aggressive behavior—even if it is only verbal aggression—can have serious ramifications. Making threatening comments over social media, for example, could lead to legal consequences.   Discuss the potential academic, social, and legal consequences of aggressive and violent behavior.

Assertiveness Skills

Sometimes, aggressive behavior and anger issues stem from a lack of assertiveness. Teach teens how to stand up for themselves in an appropriate manner.

Talk about the importance of speaking up without violating anyone else's rights. Role-play specific issues with your teen, such as what to do if someone cuts in front of them in line or how to respond if they feel they are being taken advantage of by someone else.

Physical Signs of Anger

Teens often fail to recognize when their anger is on the rise. They allow themselves to grow so angry that they can't help but lash out. Ask your teen, "How does your body feel when you're getting angry?" Teach them to recognize physiological warning signs of anger, like a rapid heartbeat, clenched fists, or flushed face.

Encourage them to take action when they notice their anger is on the rise. That may mean taking a break, taking a few deep breaths, or counting to 10 in their mind.

Self-Directed Time-Outs

Similarly, teach teens to put themselves in time-out when they are struggling with anger. Give them a quick break to gather their thoughts in a private space, or encourage them to end a conversation with a friend if it is getting heated.

Create time-out guidelines.   For example, agree that if anyone in the house is getting too angry to continue a discussion, you’ll take a 15-minute break before continuing the conversation.

If your teen chooses to take a time-out, don’t follow them or insist on continuing the conversation while they are still upset.   Instead, agree to revisit the conversation after a brief cool-down period.

Acceptable Coping Skills

Teens need to know socially appropriate ways to deal with angry feelings.   Teens who lack coping skills are more likely to become verbally or physically aggressive.

Help your teen identify coping skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions, such as disappointment and frustration. While drawing may help one teen calm down, another teen may benefit from going for a walk. Work with your teen on identifying specific coping strategies that help diffuse anger.  

Problem-Solving Skills

Teens who lack problem-solving skills may resort to aggression to get their needs met. Teach your teen basic problem-solving skills.  

Whether they are struggling with a school project or trying to resolve an issue with a friend, encourage them to identify three potential solutions. Then, they can review the pros and cons of each before choosing the one they think will work best.

This can help your teen see that there are many ways to solve a problem without lashing out. Over time, they will grow more confident in their ability to successfully solve problems.

Role Modeling

You’ll teach your teen more about handling anger with your behavior than your words. If you yell, swear, and break things, don’t expect your teen to control their anger. Role model appropriate ways to deal with angry feelings.

Show your child how to talk about angry feelings and how to express those feelings appropriately. For example, say, “I’m really angry that you didn’t clean your room like I asked you to. I’m going to go take a break for a few minutes and then we’re going to talk about your consequence.”

First up, anger isn’t a ‘bad’ emotion. It can actually help you to be honest or to stand up for something you believe in. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with feeling angry. What matters is how you cope with and express your anger.

If you learn anger management skills, you’ll look less like this…

and more like this…

We’re not guaranteeing you won’t still be in a bad mood, but you’ll be less likely to act in a way you might regret.

Here are our tips for the best way to control your anger.

1. Recognise the warning signs

If you can recognise when you’re starting to feel angry, you’ll be in a good place to try some of our tips before you get really worked up or lash out. You can then try a few of the strategies below. Some warning signs are:

  • pounding heart
  • gritting your teeth
  • sweating
  • tight chest
  • shaking
  • anxiety
  • raising your voice
  • being snappy or defensive
  • temporarily losing your sense of humour
  • pacing
  • getting a ‘flash’ of a bad mood
  • being overly critical of someone
  • feeling argumentative.

2. Work out why you’re angry

There’s lots of reasons why you might be angry. It’s a normal or understandable response in some situations, such as when you or someone else is being treated unfairly. If you’re not sure why you’ve just snapped at someone, though, think back through your day and try to pinpoint what set you off.

Some other reasons why you might be feeling angry include:

  • you’re under a lot of pressure
  • you’re experiencing bodily or hormonal changes that cause mood swings
  • you’re frustrated with how your life is going.

If you work on first recognising and then dealing with your anger, it won’t have such a damaging effect on your relationships, body, mind and emotions.

3. Write it down

Sometimes, writing stuff down can help you work out why you’re feeling angry and how you might be able to deal with it. It’ll also help you to put things in perspective.

4. Count to 100

This one seems pretty basic, but it works. Thinking about something other than what’s making you upset for 100 seconds can help you avoid blowing a fuse. It gives you a chance to gather yourself and your thoughts before you do anything else.

5. Press pause

When you feel angry about something, it’s almost impossible to deal with the situation in a productive or helpful way. If you feel yourself losing your cool, just walk away from the situation for a while. You’ll deal with it better when everyone, yourself included, is feeling calmer.

6. Move your body

Exercise is an awesome way to let off steam. You could take a walk around the block, go for a run, or do something really high-energy like boxing.

7. Talk to someone

Talking to someone you trust about how you’re feeling can take a weight off your shoulders as well as your mind. That could be a trusted adult, friend or family member. You could even give the ReachOut forums a go, and talk with other young people who get how you’re feeling.

If your anger is getting out of control, consider seeing a mental health professional. Watch our video to find out why talking helps.

8. Take time to relax

If you know what helps you to relax, you’ll find it really useful whenever you’re feeling angry. Take some time out to do something you enjoy, whether that’s walking in the park, reading a book or listening to music. You could also try an app like Smiling Mind to help you relax.

How to cope with anger

Displaced anger is a reactionary defense mechanism and a maladaptive coping strategy. Usually, misplaced anger can look like directing anger at something or someone totally unrelated to the current stresses in your life. This anger reaction can be viewed as a projection since the recipient of the anger is usually not the one who caused or contributed to the anger or stress response.

If displaced anger is creating problems in your life and straining relationships and you’re ready to work with a therapist to make positive changes, click here. A therapist can help you develop healthier, more effective coping skills and getting started is easy and confidential.

What Is Displaced Anger?

Displacement is a defense mechanism used to self-soothe. Also referred to as misplaced anger, displaced anger is a type of anger that perpetuates negativity and starts a cycle of fights. Individuals who experience this tend to have poor impulse control and high aggression. Due to poor coping skills and an inability to regulate emotions, they channel pent up anger at individuals or situations that are unrelated to the source of the anger. 1

How Displaced Anger Affects Behavior

Those dealing with misplaced anger may be more prone to take their aggression out on children because they require a level of patience and understanding far greater than adults. Children who experience misplaced anger from their caregivers can struggle with lifelong impacts as a result.

Misplaced anger also has a ripple effect. For example, it could start with a man who directs his anger at his wife, who in turn directs her anger at her children, who in turn take it out on their peers. Once it is known and understood just how toxic this pattern can become, we can get one step closer to correcting this behavior before it becomes a bigger issue. 2

How Displaced Anger Affects Relationships

Anger can be normal and healthy, but misplaced anger kills intimacy and creates a wedge between partners. It eats away at the foundation of the relationship and makes one partner feel like an emotional punching bag. This could also occur as triggered displaced anger, which is when one person unintentionally says or does something that triggers the other person to project. Over time, these repeated behaviors lead to more conflict. 3

What Causes Displaced Anger?

The root cause of most displaced anger comes from adverse childhood events that disrupted healthy development and emotional regulation. This could include physical or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, bullying, divorce/separation of parents, or being involved in or witness to domestic violence. As a way to cope, children learn to minimize their own feelings to avoid dealing with them.

Over time, they learn to displace their anger and emotions either externally or internally. When this happens externally, we see misplaced anger from one person onto an undeserving other. When this happens internally, we see individuals blaming themselves for the situation and owning the dysfunction when they don’t need to. 4

5 Tips for Coping With Displaced Anger

While displaced anger can feel challenging in the moment, it is possible and realistic to handle these types of conflict from a kind and loving perspective, and manage your anger by learning how to process it appropriately.

Here are five tips for coping with displaced anger:

1. Disengage & Retract Yourself From the Situation

This may seem counterintuitive as we tend to want to lean into and resolve conflict, but disengaging can mitigate the heightened emotions of the person who is angry and force them to consider the source.

2. Phone a Friend

If you’re having a hard time disengaging and the situation allows, give yourself some space and seek support from a friend or family member. Talking out the issue with someone else helps give perspective and can help you approach the situation differently when you return.

3. Self-Soothe

To keep from internalizing projected anger, focus on your actions and emotions and comfort yourself. This could include meditation, deep breathing, and allowing yourself to feel angry, upset, hurt or any emotion.

4. Re-Enter the Situation After Some Time Apart

Before coming back to the conflict,ensure that the time and space you had was truly enough. When you are ready to discuss the situation, approach things from the perspective of how that situation made you feel instead of accusatory language like, “You did X, Y, Z.”

5. Talk to a Therapist

Sometimes, these types of conflicts can be hard to manage without learning the right types of tools for communication and coping mechanisms. Left as is, this can lead to individuals feeling anxious, depressed, and traumatized. Speaking with a therapist as a couple, individual, or family can help everyone feel better. 5

How to Get Help for Displaced Anger

If you feel like your displaced anger is causing issues with your relationships, work life, or ability to function, it might be time to find a therapist. Together, you will create a treatment plan and learn about other modalities of treatment to figure out what’s right for you. Depending on the type of issues you’re facing, marital or family therapy may also be recommended.

How to Find a Therapist

If you’re in a circle that can openly and safely discuss mental health resources, a great way to locate a therapist is by personal reference. Everyone is different so it shouldn’t be expected that one therapist would be the right one for everyone, but asking around is still effective.

Requesting a referral from your physician for anyone they recommend is also an option. This gives them an opportunity to collaborate with you and find you the right type of treatment. A holistic approach to any kind of therapy should also involve your physician or any specialists.

An online directory is another way to find and review providers based on your preferences and insurance. Researching clinician profiles online and selecting a few to contact for initial conversations is a good first step. Many therapists offer a free phone consultation, giving people an opportunity to see if the relationship is a good fit.

Copays and coverage of treatment will depend on if the provider you choose is in-network or out-of-network. It is not uncommon to have a copay even with an in-network provider; however, many providers are able to offer a sliding scale payment model should the copay be too costly.

Final Thoughts on Displaced Anger

What you’re struggling with may be unique to you, but you’re not alone. If you are dealing with displaced anger, talking to a therapist who specializes in this area of personal growth can make a big difference in how you feel. Together, you and your therapist will develop a plan to help you better regulate these difficult emotions.

How to cope with anger

On this page, we will provide you with a Coping with Anger Worksheet. It will help you to learn different strategies to cope up with your anger.

What is Coping with Anger Worksheet?

Anger is a normal human emotion that becomes problematic when it is expressed in unhealthy ways. Managing anger doesn’t mean you will not experience it or never feel it; it means you will learn ways to manage it and cope with it effectively. Coping with anger can be challenging, but if learned, then you can utilize anger as a healthy coping mechanism.

How Coping with Anger Worksheet will help?

To cope with anger, you are supposed to identify the triggers first, which makes you angry and lose your control. You should try to divert your anger towards some positive activities. E.g going out for a walk, deep breathing. The best way to calm down might be to change the channel in your brain and focus on something else altogether.

Instructions on how to use Coping with Anger Worksheet

To learn anger coping skills, it is very important to know about your triggers, what makes you angry, the severity of your anger, and the intensity at which you lose your temper. By walking away, diverting your thoughts towards something positive, you will effectively cope with your anger.

Conclusion

On this page, we provided you with a Coping with Anger Worksheet, which hopefully helped you learn different strategies to cope up with your anger.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

You can download this worksheet here.

Mental help Resources

The worksheets on this site should not be used in place of professional advice from a mental health professional.

You should always seek help from a mental health professional or medical professional. We are not providing any advice or recommendations here.

There are various resources where you can seek help.

You could use Online-Therapy if you feel you need counselling.

If you live in the UK then this list of resources from the NHS may help you find help.

If you live in the USA then you could contact Mental Health America who may be able to assist you further.

Sara Quitlag is an Applied Psychologist, with a deep interest in psychopathology and neuropsychology and how psychology impacts and permeates every aspect of our environment. She has worked in Clinical settings (as Special Ed. Counselor, CBT Therapist) and has contributed at local Universities as a Faculty member from time to time. She has a graduate degree in English Literature and feels very connected to how literature and psychology interact. She feels accountable and passionate about making a “QUALITY” contribution to the overall global reform and well-being. She actively seeks out opportunities where she can spread awareness and make a positive difference across the globe for the welfare of our global society.

As a school counselor, one of the most frequently asked category of questions I receive centers around, “How do I handle my child’s anger?” The question is almost always asked by parents in a voice burdened with shame and embarrassment—as if anger in childhood was a bad thing or that any ‘good’ parent would know how to keep their kids perpetually happy. Neither could be further from the reality of human nature and no adult need berate themselves for the fact that their children act like human beings.

To reassure caregivers that their questions about how to handle anger in children are valid and that they are not alone (by a long shot) in feeling weighed down by the challenge, here are my responses to a few of the most frequently asked questions about helping kids handle anger:

Is anger harmful for a child?

Anger is a basic, primal, spontaneous, but temporary neurophysiological feeling. It is usually triggered by some sort of frustration and often perceived as an unpleasant state. Anger is real and it is powerful—but it needn’t be feared, denied, or considered bad in and of itself. Bearing in mind that all living creatures experience frustration, it follows that the feeling of anger is completely normal and natural. It’s what we do with our anger that counts. When anger is dealt with in healthy, constructive ways, there’s nothing bad or harmful about itHowever, too often we find that young people express anger in destructive ways that are harmful to friendships, parent-child interactions, student-teacher relationships, and even to long-term health.

Do adult anger problems always start in childhood?

Problems expressing anger in healthy ways often trace their roots to childhood. Some young people learn from the adults in their lives that aggression—whether it be yelling, name-calling, shaming, or actual violence—is the go-to strategy for expressing anger. They may be taught that their momentary feelings are more important than the rights of others and that they are free to act out their feelings on others, no matter what the impact.

Then, there are other very different childhood experiences that are marked by impossible standards of perfection. In these homes, kids often get the message that “anger is bad” and that “good kids don’t let anyone know that they are angry.” Young people growing up in this kind of emotionally-restricted environment learn from an early age to hide or deny their natural feelings. Even though suppressing anger may appear far more civil than outright name-calling or aggression, kids who are forced to mask their anger can suffer a great deal as adults, as they turn their anger inward and experience depression, or engage in passive aggressive behaviors to hurt others in hidden ways.

What’s the difference between a healthy spell of anger and a problem?

Healthy anger is marked by assertive communication. In a healthy spell of anger, a young person can (and will!) honestly, directly and clearly tell someone else what happened that bothered them and make a specific request for that behavior to change or for amends to be made. In some situations, this kind of communication is not an option and so a young person may make a conscious decision to distance themselves from the anger source or to “let go” of their angry feelings. For example, in a school setting, students often don’t have the social power to be able to be 100% honest and assertive with a teacher they believe has treated them unfairly. Making a choice to pick their battles and let a minor injustice go is a mature, emotionally measured, and solution-focused way to make a bad situation bearable.

Problematic anger happens when an angry young person violates the rights of others through some sort of physical aggression, verbal outburst, or backhanded means of revenge. Problematic anger is all about getting back at someone else and hurting them, while constructive anger is about solving a problem.

THE BASICS

  • How Can I Manage My Anger?
  • Find a therapist to heal from anger

How can I help a child who has anger issues?

Any person at any age can learn that they have choices when it comes to how to express anger. The good news is that just as aggression is a learned behavioral choice for expressing anger, so is assertiveness. This knowledge is power. When young people realize that their choices are bringing them results that they don’t want—scoldings, time outs, loss of privileges, restrictions on free time—they are often eager to learn better choices and strategies for expressing their angry feelings.

Physical strategies such as engaging in sports, exercise, mindfulness, and yoga are proven effective in helping young people learn to calm their brains and gain greater control over their choices in healthy behaviors.

As a mental health professional and school counselor, I encourage all schools to incorporate emotion management skills as part of the regular curriculum. Since we know that emotional well-being is a prerequisite for academic success, it only makes sense that schools make so-called “soft” skills such as problem-solving, conflict resolution, and assertive communication a part of their regular skills curriculum. Prevention is our very best bet for helping young people solve their anger issues before they become lifelong patterns.

Anger Essential Reads

Is Aggression Imprinted In Human Nature?

Do Democrats Hate America?

And finally, timing is everything when it comes to helping a young person who expresses their anger in destructive ways. elling a person that they have “anger issues” during a fit of rage is pretty much guaranteed to worsen the problem. The child’s emotional brain is dominating their actions and they are not able to effectively access the logical, thinking part of their brain that allows them to make good choices. For a young person to truly understand that their way of expressing anger is a problem for them (and for those around them!), they have to be calm enough to be able to clearly comprehend the costs of their destructive anger expression. Helping a child learn how to thoroughly calm down from a bout of anger is one of the most valuable skills an adult can teach. Listening (read: not talking) while a young person puts their feelings into words after (and only after) they have calmed down is a lasting way to help kids learn to understand and manage their angry feelings.

Anger tends to be upsetting in any case, but you're probably well aware that it isn't always easy to know how to cope with anger. Here is a proven method for helping to lessen your anger before it can get worse and some tips for making it work.

The plan is to take a "time-out," which means briefly removing yourself from an anger situation that's getting worse and letting yourself cool down. The steps involved in planning for a time-out and taking it are described below.

How to Create Your Anger Time-Out Plan

Step 1. Make a plan for how to cope with anger before you find yourself in a heated situation. The idea is to decide ahead about what you’ll do to cool down the situation and yourself. Think about where you’ll be and who else will be there. Choose a quiet, relaxing place to go on-site in case you need a time-out. Come up with some things you can do to cool down during a time-out, such as deep breathing or mindfulness exercises.

Step 2. Plan what you'd like to say to explain taking a time-out. It's important to be very clear and open about your feelings and your needs.

Step 3. Once you're on-site, stay alert for "body cues" that warn a situation is getting too heated for you and your anger is increasing. Body cues may include a more rapid heart rate and a higher level of body tension. Pay attention to how your body feels. Remember, the earlier you catch your anger, the better you can manage it.

Step 4. If something is making you angry that doesn't involve another person, and you can feel your anger increasing, it's time for a time-out. Remove yourself from the situation as soon as you can.

If you feel yourself getting angry with another person or a group, tell them you need a time out. But don't just get up and leave. Instead, explain how you're feeling and why you need to excuse yourself for a few minutes.

Use "I" statements in your explanation. For example, don't say, "You make me so angry I just have to leave the room." Instead, say, "I am noticing that I am starting to get upset. So I am going to take a few minutes to calm down, and then I would like it if we could continue our conversation."

Step 5. While you’re explaining the actions you’re going to take, make an effort to manage your anger. Try some of these coping skills for managing stress.

Step 6. Once you’re in your time-out space, remember that you’re supposed to be cooling down. Don’t get caught up in doing things that sustain or increase your anger, such as going over the situation in your mind or thinking about who said what and how it made you feel. Practicing mindfulness can help keep you from getting caught up in negative thoughts and self-talk.

Step 7. After your anger has come down to a more manageable level, and before returning to the situation you left, think about what you'll do and say when you get there. Take a moment to practice your plan to make sure you can stick to it.

Step 8. When you're ready with your plan, return to the situation and put it into effect. If you were talking with another person or a group, express your appreciation of their understanding. Thank them for giving you the opportunity to calm down.

Tips for Making Your Time-Out Work

To give your time-out plan the best chance of working to control your anger, try these tips:

How to cope with anger

Addiction TherapyRecovery

Anger and addiction often go together, so learning to deal with anger is an important part of the recovery journey. At Gateway Foundation, we offer both individual and group therapies as well as a range of science-based recovery and treatment options to help you manage the full spectrum of emotions you may be experiencing.

Why Are Addicts So Angry?

Anger management and substance abuse can often be cyclical. Someone may not feel confident in expressing their anger or may not have the skills to express anger in a healthy way. In some cases, he or she may turn to substances to numb or help cope with feelings of anger. Unfortunately, this is not a healthy technique and can lead to even more anger, exacerbating reliance on alcohol or drugs.

In some cases, addiction is co-occurring with another condition. Someone who is addicted may be facing trauma, a difficult family situation or suppressed memories. They might also be dealing with depression or other mental health challenges that trigger anger — the substance abuse may be how they choose to cope. When this fails to help or when the patient enters recovery, the underlying anger is still there and may emerge during the treatment process.

Anger Management in Addiction Recovery

Learning strategies for coping with anger is an important part of the recovery process, especially if you are using alcohol or drugs to try to manage anger or if your addiction is linked to this emotion in some way. Your treatment may involve:

  • Addressing underlying trauma or mental health issues
  • Learning to use deep breathing and pauses to diffuse situations which may have angered you in the past
  • Developing healthy ways of handling anger, including coping strategies such as creative expression or physical exercise
  • Creating a plan for avoiding triggers
  • Honing communication strategies to avoid escalating situations
  • Practicing relaxation and de-stressing techniques
  • Using humor and distraction to diffuse anger
  • Finding places to ask for help when anger returns
  • Practicing kind self-talk and positive speech with others
  • Connecting with spirituality or nature to help encourage overall positive mindsets
  • Learning to use art, music, journaling or other methods to express anger with a healthy outlet

Recovery From Anger and Addiction

Gateway Foundation offers a number of treatment solutions so we can create the right recovery program for you. We provide support through outpatient solutions, movement therapy, withdrawal management, medical treatment, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, psychiatric care, support groups, psychological testing, art therapy, experiential therapy and other solutions. Our alumni services provide ongoing support to help ensure you always have someone to turn to on your recovery journey.

Our goal is to help you get your life back, both from substance abuse and your anger. Our caring staff and more than 50 years of positive outcomes in the Illinois area make us confident in our science-based treatment options. To learn more about our life-saving treatments, contact Gateway Foundation or call us at 877.381.6538 and get back to your best life.