Misunderstandings About Anger
by Joseph Akronowitz
Often time people don’t know that psychological conditions can increase the expression of anger. Sometimes when one’s responses seem out of proportion to the situation in underlying problem, mental health issues may be a factor.
Depression can to lead significant reductions in a person’s ability to cope. This may lead to increase anger and irritability. Thereby, compounding one’s frustration and lashing out. Bipolar Disorder is characterized by periods of expansive energy followed by periods of depression that vary in intensity and length depending on the kind of disorder. In the past, Bipolar disorder has been referred to as Manic Depressive illness. When a person is in the up phase of a Bipolar disorder, they become more reactive and often say things before thinking of the consequences of their behavior. However, in a down phase, the person may not have the energy to deal with problems and becomes more irritable.
Anxiety disorders often include irritability or outbursts of anger and will strike out due to lack of patience resulting to getting easily frustrated. This is often the case with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Post Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) clients often report being exaggerated in their hypervigilance as well as being easily startled with irritability and anger.
Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) behaviors often results in defensive anger when an outsider tries to intervene in their rituals particularly when they are seen as “stupid” and say “Why don’t you just stop?”.
Anger Management Classes are helpful, but do not change the underlying driving force of person’s problems especially in the presence of one of these diagnoses. Many times a client can have anywhere from a mild to a severe case of depression and/or anxiety and not aware of it because it has been going on for so long that it just feels normal. It is not unusual for these disorders to run in families so the behavior may seem normal as well. It can have horrible consequences, which can be helped through medication and/or counseling. Often medication can show improvements within a matter of days to weeks.