Anger is a powerful emotion that can be defined as a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. It is a natural emotion that everyone feels from time to time, and it can be a justifiable response when expressed in a healthy way. However, poor anger management can lead to highly negative consequences to an individual and their loved ones, especially when addiction is involved.
Anger can be caused by a vast number of reasons, such as boundaries being crossed or underlying, unhealed trauma. Whatever the cause, learning healthy methods to cope with anger is key in reducing substance-use disorder (SUD) related problems that emerge or are worsened because of poor anger management.
Coping with an anger management issue is a complex and challenging struggle, especially when combined with a substance use disorder. Whether anger led to your addiction or addiction led to your anger, the two fuel each other in a dangerous cycle. You can’t address one and not the other, and it is difficult to learn how to overcome your anger while you are also trying to overcome an addiction.
Is It Always Bad to Get Angry?
Anger itself is not a bad emotion. It is essentially a sign that you’re not feeling good about something inside. You’re bothered. Perhaps someone crossed one of your boundaries, or some sort of injustice occurred. Maybe you’re frustrated about a task that’s taking you longer than expected. Or you could simply be having a bad day and feeling angry for no reason at all.
There are many instances where anger may arise, but that emotion doesn’t have to create an explosion of negative circumstances. It doesn’t have to keep wreaking havoc in your life.
While anger is a natural emotion that everyone experiences, it becomes an issue when it is not expressed appropriately. Have you ever seen a person go into a state of rage when something happens that they are not pleased with? It can be frightening to witness, and it can even cause serious harm. Inappropriate expressions of anger include sarcasm, violence, self-harm, and verbal abuse. It can also fuel addiction as the individual self-medicates with drugs or alcohol.
Mental Health and Anger
When you are experiencing positive emotions, you are more likely to make healthier or more constructive choices, whereas if you feel negative, you may be more inclined to engage in destructive behaviours and make poor choices. People who are in a state of mental wellness can cope with stress and make better decisions; mental illness or poor mental health can lead to problems with thinking, mood, and behaviour and addiction.
Poor mental health and addiction are mutually reinforcing: when you feel angry, you may feel more inclined to abuse substances like drugs and alcohol. Research has shown that an inability to control your responses to stressors can be a risk factor for addiction, depression, and emotional problems. In addition, long-term drug use can impair the ability to deal with intense feelings, resulting in destructive emotional expressions of this stress. Therefore, it is important to seek substance abuse treatment immediately to maximize your chances of recovery from both the addiction and the anger management problem.
Anger and Addiction
Anger is a human emotion that can occur in response to discomfort and is seen as indicative of aggressive behaviour. People with high levels of aggression often display more verbal and physical aggression toward other people and may have higher risks of mental illness. They also show a heightened incidence of substance use disorder. Where there is a dual diagnosis of addiction and dysfunctional anger, both of these should be addressed in the addiction treatment program
Although anger can be a healthy emotion, someone battling a substance use disorder may struggle to cope with it in healthy ways. At the same time, someone may abuse alcohol to soothe angry feelings, often with the opposite effect. Regardless of the order of anger or addiction, substances abused can further disrupt and deepen existing feelings of anger.
Individuals can quickly develop a dependent cycle of anger and substance abuse, or use substances to cope with anger without realizing it. This combination can worsen the condition of someone abusing drugs or alcohol and cause further damage to relationships. In response to anger, someone can develop temporary mental or emotional conditions like depression, anxiety, nervous breakdowns, and feelings of hopelessness.
It can be hard to find healthy methods of expressing anger. Individuals may intensify their aggression or be at risk of experimenting with other drugs for a “better” high.
Since there is such a strong connection between anger issues and addiction, it makes perfect sense that anger management would be a common part of addiction treatment. In comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery, those patients struggling with co-occurring disorders involving anger or PTSD can benefit from a range of different treatment options.
Individualized therapy is used frequently to get patients to open up about the depths of their anger and what kinds of triggers cause them to react. In simultaneous group therapy, patients discuss coping mechanisms and talk about some of the recent successes they have had dealing with anger in rehab.
Recovery and rehabilitation, in and of themselves, can sometimes cause latent anger issues to emerge. Along with the physical withdrawal symptoms, abstaining from drugs or alcohol can cause psychological and emotional issues, one of which is anger. By making anger management a part of rehabilitation, this can be addressed before it develops into a bigger problem.
It’s vital that those with anger issues see anger as a prime trigger for relapse. Triggers are emotions, situations or incidents that can cause a person to desire drug or alcohol use again after a period of abstinence. Through anger management, people will learn their triggers and how to address them in a healthy way that won’t lead to relapse.
For many individuals, anger management is a critical element of addiction treatment. Comprehensive rehab programs include everything from anger management classes to life coaching and skills training. Getting to the root of the problem is crucial, and learning healthier ways to cope is integral to a successful addiction treatment plan.
If you are experiencing both addiction and dysfunctional anger, your first step should be to contact an addiction treatment centre that can treat this complex dual diagnosis. At Addiction Rehab Toronto, we have a program that will address both problems. You will receive a wide variety of services specifically designed for you. No matter what your circumstances are, the ideal treatment program is within your reach. Call us today to get started on your road to recovery.