Getting angry is embedded in your brain, and most of the time your anger is a bad habit because it doesn’t end or solve a problem productively.
Do You Have Anger Problems?
No one wants to be told they’re an angry person, and although you may escalate into anger very quickly, that does not make you an angry person. The same capabilities for anger can exist in many people, however, it’s the way that you handle your anger that matters. Expressing your anger doesn’t have to be explosive. Expressing your anger in a healthy and productive way is the goal, this way your emotions can be expressed without escalating the situation and making it worse.
If you would like to know if regulating anger is something you should look into, please refer to the following warning signs of unregulated anger:
While these warning signs seem very common, people who have trouble regulating their anger may find themselves in more conflictive situations because of their anger. Also, if other people avoid conflict with you because of your explosive anger, that is a huge sign of an issue. In drug rehabilitation, we encourage guests to feel all of their emotions, including feeling angry. In our addiction treatment programs, guests will learn how to express their anger in a healthy way.
Explosive, Impulsive Reactions
“Emotions cause impulsive reactions” and stronger emotions can intensify these impulses (Collins). Many times, an intense emotion will trigger a stress response, known as fight-or-flight. While in fight-or-flight response, your brain will evaluate threats and respond explosively unless the rational part of your brain can overcome the emotional center. You can use tools to train your brain to respond to anger differently, and help your anger actually become constructive. All of our habits are respondent to neural connections in the brain, so if you begin reacting to anger constructively, you will strengthen new neural pathways— therefore, making this constructive response stronger and much easier to do.
How Can You Be Angry, Productively
Part of healthy anger is slowing down your brains processing in the moment, breathing through the situation and evaluating the facts of the situation. Evaluating will active the rational portion of your brain to take over, therefore allowing you not to fall into a fight-or-flight stress response. Psychologist Bernard Golden, PhD. highlights four major ways to engage your rational mind:
1. Breathe Deeply
Focus inwardly, and away from the object of your anger. Taking deep breaths will calm you down, lower your heart rate, and allow you to stay in the present moment as you avoid entering an intense emotional state coupled with impulse.
2. Pay Attention To Physical Symptoms
When we’re angry, often times we will clench our jaw or fists, or tense our bodies. Take a moment to do a body scan and notice any tension or clenching, then consciously relax those parts of your body. Doing a body scan is a great habit to get into, especially practicing it before you get angry— so that it’s easier to do in a moment of anger.
3. Be Compassionate
During a fit of anger, switch the gears in your mind and try to find compassion for the person or thing that’s made you angry. Have compassion, and try to listen to the other person’s perspective before you draw any conclusions that may escalate your anger even further. Having compassion and respect, despite the circumstances, will empower you.
An extremely beneficial technique to regulating emotions is a dialectical behavioral therapy tool called “check the facts”. Checking the facts requires you to reflect on the factual basis of whichever situation you are in. You can check the facts by laying out in your mind the facts of the situation by asking yourself a series of questions, like what happened, what your perspective is, what the other person’s perspective is, and does your emotional response fit the situation?
In an event that makes you angry, it is so important to consider alternate perspectives or points of view for the situation. Interpretation is different for everyone, so be sure to state your perceptions clearly and honestly when communicating in anger. Hearing another person’s perspective can give you clarity on the situation also, and help widen your interpretation. Distressing events don’t have to result in an explosively angry response, all you have to do is practice communicating effectively and regulating your emotions in the moment; like all things, practice makes perfect.
Anger in Recovery
Often times, anger precipitates drug use. Despite this, anger can be an emotion that alcoholics and addicts abuse substances to temper. Also, alcohol and drug addiction can produce symptoms of anger. During the recovery process, many alcoholics and addicts will leave a state of emotional numbness and begin to start feeling their emotions again. During this process, emotions can feel intense and escalated as they have previously have been shut off for the duration of guests’ alcohol or drug use.
The after effect and emotional impact of substance abuse ranges for each guest, but mostly it takes a bit of time for the brain’s chemistry and functioning to return to an equilibrium, depending on various factors like the type of addiction and period of use. In drug rehab, many guests experience a range of intense emotions surrounding their alcohol or substance use disorders and the impact it’s had on their lives. As guests remove alcohol or substances from their bodies, they will experience their emotions coming back— which can be intense, this usually happens within the detoxification period at one of our detox rehab facilities.
All emotions can be expressed in a healthy way. At Royal Life Centers, we encourage guests to express their emotions, as feeling your emotions is part of addiction recovery and part of life. At Royal Life Centers, we will teach you skills and tools to regulate your emotions and evoke a response that is helpful instead of hurtful. The point of getting angry in a healthy way is not to avoid being angry, it is deciding to choose a productive avenue that allows your anger to be expressed in a way that is constructive and appropriate.
Our Addiction Treatment
At Royal Life Centers, we provide comprehensive addiction treatment. Our treatment options all offer behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy, which help guests learn skills and tools that will help them rebuild happy, healthy, and successful lives in sobriety. Royal Life Centers has a variety of rehab programs, including: medical detox, a residential inpatient program, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP), an outpatient program (OP), sober living and graduate housing. Guests will collaborate with their case managers and primary therapist to develop an individualized treatment plan, tailored specifically to meet his or her needs and goals. Our substance abuse treatment all starts with medical detox, which is a residential treatment program or inpatient. Our drug rehab centers are located across the western United States, in Washington state and Arizona. Royal Life Centers also has services for family members, to support them through out the rehabilitation process.
Collins, Sonya. “Good and Mad: The Healthy Way to Be Angry.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/balance/features/good-mad-healthy-way-be-angry#1.
“Dealing With Anger Issues While In Recovery.” DrugRehab.org, Freedom Healthcare of America, www.drugrehab.org/anger-in-recovery/.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, please reach out to our addiction specialists at (877)-RECOVERY or (877)-732-6837. Our team is available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.