Many people in addition treatment struggle with co-occurring mental health disorders. Some may develop an addiction after self-medicating their symptoms, while others may develop these conditions as a result of substance abuse. Regardless of the order in which these disorders manifest, successful sobriety is largely contingent on holistic treatment that addresses all aspects of physical, mental, and emotional health.
Anger is a natural response to specific events or situations. In some cases, it can be healthy and helpful. But other times, reacting with anger can quickly make a situation dangerous. In some cases, people may develop disorders that cause them to experience intense anger, even for no reason at all. While mild episodes of anger are usually no cause for concern, those who have out-of-control anger episodes may be struggling with a mental health disorder such as bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, or oppositional defiant disorder. Anger episodes associated with these disorders tend to be difficult to manage, even if a person does not want to respond in that way at all.
Drugs Cause, Not Help With, Anger
People who have a hard time managing their anger often think that drugs or alcohol will help. Many substances provide temporary relief from intense emotional feelings by creating sedating, relaxing effects. Alcohol and marijuana tend to be the most popularly abused substances by those who struggle with anger issues because of their ability to produce feelings of ease and sedation. Over time, users begin to develop tolerances that require them to use higher quantities in order to produce the same effects. This often leads to dependency and addiction.
In some cases, people who use drugs or alcohol may exacerbate feelings of anger or frustration, making them harder to control. Substance abuse can rewire the brain and may lead to the development of mental health disorders.
There are numerous reasons a person may struggle with managing their anger. These may include:
- Feeling angry or in denial about traumatic experiences: An inability to cope with trauma can negatively impact a person’s ability to manage their emotions. Rather than facing these feelings, they may choose to ignore them and build resentment. Over time, this can cause them to inadvertently harbor anger.
- Family history: For some, an inability to manage feelings of anger starts at an early age. Those who grew up in households where family members may have expressed anger inappropriately may learn those behaviors themselves.
- Internalized anger: Some people are angry with themselves and direct it outwards at others. An inability to cope with their own feelings may cause them to blame others for how they feel.
- Addiction preventing coping: Addiction can prevent a person from dealing with their emotions in a healthy way.
Anger and outburst may be a sign that someone is using or abusing drugs. If angry outbursts are coupled withother erratic or odd behavior, someone you care about may be using or abuseing drugs.
Ways Manage Anger Effectively in Addiction Recovery
In addiction treatment, it is important to address mental health disorders that contribute to continued substance abuse. Anger management can be a vital component of recovery and can help people work through negative emotions while developing healthy coping mechanisms. Some methods of managing anger may include:
- Taking deep breaths and evaluate the situation: Taking a moment to collect your feelings, separate yourself from the situation, and consider another person’s point of view can make a big difference in how you react.
- Learning new ways to communicate: There are productive ways to communicate anger that do not escalate situations. Fostering communication skills can help you express yourself more effectively and improve relationships with others.
- Developing new methods of coping with anger: There are other outlets you can use to release anger. Becoming involved in sports, working out, writing, or any number of activities can help you express yourself in a healthy, productive way.
- Avoiding toxic situations: Specific environments, people, and situations can trigger emotional responses. If you are aware of these triggers, avoiding them can help you minimize the risk of relapse.
Addiction counselors can often provide a variety of services to help you work through difficult feelings and situations. Throughout the course of recovery, developing emotional intelligence and life skills to support sobriety is imperative to success. If you tend to express anger in an unhealthy way, addiction counselors can help you learn new methods of self-expression and anger management to improve your outlook and quality of life.