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Anger Management and Substance Abuse

May 23, 2022 | Substance Abuse Treatment

Anger is arguably the most intense emotion to ever drive a person to commit certain acts, some of which they end up regretting later. This is why anger management is something many are looking up today. Anger management allows people to start getting a grip on how they react to certain situations, rather than allow their emotions to dictate what they do instead.

By definition, anger management is a “psychotherapeutic process for controlling anger and its destructive manifestations.” This is important to note because, unlike other emotions that affect a person’s everyday life, anger is an emotion that actually pushes a person into action. Apart from the often destructive action that results from anger, there are also some debilitating physiological effects that come with it.

What Causes People to Exhibit Anger Issues?

Depending upon the person, there could be a number of reasons or “triggers” that often bring about instances of anger. Different people also have different thresholds or levels of tolerance before anger sets in. In many cases, however, there are quite a few common triggers as to why people exhibit anger issues.

Feelings of Being Threatened or Attacked

When faced with a situation where one feels they are being threatened or attacked, the fight or flight instinct is often triggered. If the “fight” instinct is triggered, then the person starts to feel building anger, which prepares them to engage in a fight.

In some instances, however, the intent of those triggering the fight instinct is misinterpreted. There are many cases where there really was no intent to make the other person angry, and it just boiled down to unfortunate timing and circumstance.

Feelings of Powerlessness or Frustration

Very few people could tolerate instances wherein they are left with no options. Regardless of the situation, a person would never willingly just allow themselves to be put in a potentially dangerous or compromising position. If placed in such a circumstance, the response is almost always irritation or even outright anger.

Many are also quite unable to deal with a perceived failure, making them feel completely frustrated. This frustration could eventually lead to outright anger after some time, as the perceived failure is made worse by growing feelings of inadequacy and inferiority.

Feelings of Exclusion or Unfair Treatment

Even for those who always say that they are quite fine being alone, inclusion is always a welcome feeling for people. The need for social interaction and validation is a normal feeling for people, being social creatures. Being excluded, and in a very overt way, is sure to raise the ire of anyone, and some have been known to react quite quickly and violently in such instances.

Others who do belong to a social circle, on the other hand, would necessarily want to receive equal treatment as everyone else in the group. If they feel that they are not receiving just and equal treatment, they may feel just as bad as not being included in the group at all, and trigger an angry response.

Feelings of Disrespect and Being Abused

Most people will definitely not take acts of disrespect directed against them. In many cases, people would also not tolerate disrespect directed against family members, loved ones, or even close friends. Disrespectful acts are sure to trigger an angry response quite quickly in people.

While there are other people who display greater tolerance and patience towards circumstances that would make others fly into a rage, there are always limits as to how much a person could take. Once this limit has been reached, even the most tolerant or patient person is sure to lash out in anger.

Irrational Feelings or Irrational Thoughts Brought on by Substances

Substances that alter a person’s way of feeling or thinking, such as alcohol or drugs, could also create a scenario where a person behaves irrationally against others, often in the form of a fit of anger. The substance they took could have mood-altering properties, or even cause them to think and behave illogically, prompting them to act out in anger, even when there is no cause to do so. Therefore results in needing anger management and substance abuse treatment. 

It is not uncommon to find people who are generally cordial to be completely different once they have taken alcohol or drugs. Many describe it as the person being a completely different being once they have a drink or a “fix” of whatever substance they have an addiction to. This is why it’s so crucial that the individual engages in anger management in addiction recovery. 

In other instances, people who do have a substance addiction issue develop a sense of paranoia, as they think others would judge them harshly if their secret addiction were to be made public. This paranoia often manifests as an attitude of being aloof, irritable, and quite quick to anger. Anger management is able to help with these instances. 

What are the Signs that Someone Has Anger Management Issues?

Understanding and recognizing the signs that someone might have anger management issues could be quite the lifesaver at times. This is particularly true if the individual starts displaying violent behavior. Or if they happen to have a history of illness that could be made worse by fits of anger.

A person could have anger issues if they manifest the following observable behavior:

  • Displays chronic irritability, even at the smallest thing
  • Exhibits bouts of anger that escalate quickly
  • Appears to be intentionally hurtful with their ways and words
  • Easily gets frustrated, and lashes out once they do
  • Refuses to be pacified or settle conflicts amicably
  • Does not recognize friend from foe once angry

Why Do Anger Issues and Substance Addiction Often Co-occur?

One of the worst instances of having difficulty with managing anger is if the person also happens to have a substance abuse problem. This could make the problem exponentially worse, and the needed treatment quite a bit more complex. The two issues normally have treatments of their own separately, but to have both issues at once is significantly more difficult.

Trying to trace which issue led to the development of the other is also quite difficult, as it is often a “chicken-or-the-egg” scenario. There are those who already had anger management issues and then turned to alcohol or drugs for release, only to find that the problem got worse. There are also those who already had a substance abuse issue and then developed anger management issues due to the consequences of the bad habit.

Whichever came first, abusing any kind of substance is sure to lead to aberrant behavior, such as anger management issues, because of the neurological and physiological effects it brings. Therefore, anger management and substance abuse is a tricky duo to have. Here at Casco Bay, we’re able to assist with anger management in addiction recovery. 

counseling and therapy

Is Anger Management a Key Component in Substance Abuse Recovery?

Kicking any kind of addictive behavior is never easy. Most people claim that the difficulty of it all is simply not worth the pain and suffering that comes with it. This is why managing one’s emotions is a vital part of the process. The physical and emotional difficulties involved in substance abuse recovery require that the person have the strength of will and mental focus to want to complete it.

If one were to simply give in to anger during the process, the success ratio of trying to kick the habit is sure to be dramatically reduced. The person needs a good amount of patience and determination to get through it all, and anger is sure to erode all of the good efforts put into it.

It goes without saying that frustration, desperation, and a sense of hopelessness all come with trying to kick an addiction. All of these emotions also tend to result in anger, which is why anger management in recovery is an essential element of getting better. 

Truth be told, getting angry is perhaps the easiest thing to do while trying to kick an addiction, and not just because of how difficult the process is. Many come to realize early on that they have no one else to blame for the predicament that they are in, other than themselves. Thankfully, self-recrimination is one of the things addressed early on in both anger management and addiction recovery.

Are There Effective Ways to Handle Anger Before it Escalates?

Even though many would argue that anger, being one of the strongest emotions, is near-impossible to manage. There are effective ways to handle anger before it escalates. However, people who will readily tell of how they were able to do so, and are all the better for it. Great strides in medical and psychiatric methods have given a better insight into the nature of anger. Studies into the nature of anger have yielded some very helpful information on how to begin to control it.

Seek Professional Help

It is always a good idea to consult with people who make a living out of studying and treating issues like anger management and addiction. These professionals are better equipped and trained to recognize, assess, and determine what the best course would be to treat the problem. Their work is backed by scientific and real data, removing any guesswork in the process, and allowing them to create a logical and effective way to deal with it.

Recognize the Triggers and Early Signs of Anger

Different people often have different triggers. There are those who cannot stand annoying noises such as dogs barking or children crying. Others cannot tolerate being corrected or having someone disagree with their opinion. There are also those who have deep-seated trauma coming from a bad experience early in life, and to go through it or something similar to it would trigger their anger.

Understanding is the first step to avoidance. If it is seen coming in early on, there is a chance that fully giving in to anger could be avoided. Therefore, avoiding attending anger management  in addiction recovery. 

Try Meditation or Methods that Improve Focus

There are many who admit that chaos and confusion could trigger an angry response in them. This is why some could not tolerate noise, harsh visual stimuli like bright lights, or unfamiliar odors like those found in exotic food. The difficulty in this, however, is that many of these factors are unavoidable in everyday life.

This is why meditation or any other process that allows a person to focus beyond the irritant is a good way to avoid anger. There are even meditative techniques that a person could do wherever they might be. Since instances of anger do not really pick a place to happen.

Far from just being new age nonsense, meditative techniques have shown to significantly ease off the heart rate, regulate blood pressure levels, and manage better breathing, all of which change when one is angry.

Find Trusted Support

There are groups of people who converse with each other and share their experiences in the hope that it could help others like them. These are support groups and they are often handled and guided by professionals who have been trained to help with their specific kind of issue. These groups are popular with those with substance abuse problems, behavioral issues, and social difficulties.

Reach Out to the Professionals at Casco Bay now, We Can Truly Help

Anger is incredibly difficult to deal with, we here at Casco Bay understand that. We know that because we have helped people deal with it, time and again, and we have also helped them to a successful outcome. Our anger management in addiction recovery program works.

Let us help you, whether your problem is dependency on a substance, anger, anxiety, or even depression. We have helped many others, let us do the same for you. Reach out to our experts now, and let your healing begin.

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