5 Signs You Might Have Anger Issues & What To Do About It

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group of people with anger issues
Self

Have you ever thought, “Do I have anger issues?” Yes?

Well, you wouldn’t be alone. Nearly 1 in 10 Americans deal with varying levels of anger issues.

Anger is a natural emotion everyone feels and experiences. Clinical Hypnotherapist and Ayurvedic Counselor Keya Murthy says, “Anger is a common surface-level emotion, more in some and less in others. It is not a mental disorder. It is part of human life. Anger shows up in the forms of frustrations, disappointments, resentments, etc.”

But things get serious when you have trouble controlling your anger.

A study conducted in 2010 actually proved that anger issues can lead to significant health risks like coronary heart disease.

There are 3 types of anger issues: outward, inward, and passive-aggressive. Each has its own properties that can be subtle, expressive, or directed at yourself. And everyone deals with anger issues regardless of sex, meaning both boys and girls can have issues with controlling anger (though the anger issues may manifest differently in men and women).

Anger can makes us say and do things we normally wouldn’t do, so learning your triggers and figuring out how to manage them can help significantly.

RELATED: Why Am I So Angry All The Time? 6 Ways To Deal With Your Anger Issues When They're Out Of Control

Signs You May Have Anger Issues 

The obvious signs and symptoms include irritability, anger, and frustration. Below are some other signs many may not have thought about.

1. Increased blood pressure and heart rate.

This is the result of the fight or flight response when anger occurs. This response elevates your heart rate and increases your blood pressure from adrenaline.

2. Guilt.

A person can also experience guilt when dealing with anger issues. They may feel guilty for how they reacted or whenever they have an explosive episode.

It’s important to note that people with anger issues don’t want to hurt others and when they do they feel guilty. This can then turn into an inward hatred leading to more anger issues. A vicious cycle.

3. Muscle tension.

When you are angry your muscle automatically tense up because of the adrenaline that rushes through your body. For people with an anger problem, muscle tension can occur often.

4. Anxiety.

Anxiety is a symptom of anger issues because people who live with them are constantly on edge. This is because they are trying to control their anger with no success. 

5. Feeling overwhelmed.

A feeling of overwhelmedness can occur with anger issues because they have all of these emotions boiling up inside of them that they cannot control. This makes it harder to cope when life throws unexpected things at you causing outbreaks of anger.

RELATED: 6 Ways To Deal With People Who Have Serious Anger Issues (Without Losing Your Cool)

Common Causes of Anger Issues 

Common causes of anger can be from stress, family, or financial issues, but when it comes to anger issues the cause is usually from an underlying mental health condition.

Though anger isn’t a mental health disorder, it most certainly can be a symptom of one.

1. Depression

Depression is one mental condition that can have anger as a symptom. Most people see depression as sadness, which is true but that sadness can transform into expressive or repressed anger. This can make depression even worse.

2. Obsessive Compulsion Disorder (ODC)

OCD is an anxiety disorder. Anger can be the result of frustration to prevent having obsessive thoughts or not being able to carry out a repetitive ritual.

According to a 2011 study, more than half of the people living with OCD are affected by anger issues. 

3. Alcohol Abuse

Drinking and abusing alcohol can increase aggression. It makes your head clouded and encourages you to make irrational decisions. Alcoholism can also affect your impulse control allowing your anger to be expressed with no control or filter.

4. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar is a mental disorder that affects a person’s shift in mood. Many people can experience rage, irritability, and long periods of anger.

5. Grief

Anger is literally one of the main stages of grief. Grief can come from many different things in life, not just the passing of a loved one. It can come from divorce, a break-up, or even losing a job.

This type of anger can be directed to anyone or anything close to the event.

What to Do if You Think You Have Anger Issues 

Controlling anger can be hard, but with some changes, it can become more manageable.

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1. Reduce the salt in your diet.

Murthy says, “If you have anger issues, reduce salty food from your diet. You need sweetness in your life. You do not need to eat a lot of sugar to reduce anger, you just need to notice how you reach out for salty food like chips, cheese, pizza, bacon, pepperoni, etc., and remove it from your diet.”

“If you eat only home-cooked meals, don’t salt your food, just add a lot of greens to your diet, and some lemon juice which adds natural salts to your diet. There are salt-free seasonings like Mrs. Dash etc which add a lot of flavor to your food without the salt which increases anger and rage," Murthy suggests

2. Count to ten.

Murthy encourages those with anger issues to use the counting method.

“When you have an angry response percolating within you start counting your breath in your mind. Count from one to ten and before you reach seven you might find you are not as angry as you thought would be," she explains. "Finish counting to ten. If needed, after you reach ten, count backward from ten to one mindfully and this usually dissolves all anger.”

3. Move around and drink water.

Murthy advises people to drink water to prevent angry thoughts from arising in them. “When you feel anger creep up, stand up and sway your body, and go for that drink of plain water,” she suggests. “Physical shifting of your position gets another part of your brain to wake up thereby diffusing your anger."

4. Attend anger management courses.

Getting help from a professional is always a great idea. There are options of in-office or online therapy.

Professionals have experience with people who have the same or similar issues that you are trying to cope with and they understand what and what doesn’t work. They can also help tailor your recovery path to you individually with an anger test and other tools. 

Do anger issues ever go away? 

The answer is yes!

Murthy says, “No child is born angry. This is something they picked up and mastered over time either through nature or nurture. Nothing is forever. If a person learned to use anger to go through life, they can unlearn to be angry and replace it with another positive emotion to achieve similar success without hurting themselves or others.”

Anger issues only go away when that person chooses to turn their backs on it and work towards a better way of life.

RELATED: Life-Changing Anger Management Techniques To Use When You Feel Like You're About To Explode

Deauna Nunes is an assistant editor who covers pop culture, love and relationships, lifestyle, and news & entertainment for YourTango who's been published by Emerson College's literary magazine Generic. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.