10 Signs You Have Major Anger Issues (And What To Do About It)

Because who wants their life ruled by anger?

Last updated on Mar 15, 2023

man with anger issues Monkey Business Images via Canva

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 spiritual life coach 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, and resentments”


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

What are anger issues?

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, men and women, can have issues with controlling anger (though the anger issues may manifest differently in men and women).

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


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Signs You May Have Anger Issues

The obvious signs and symptoms include irritability and frustration, but below are other signs of anger issues many may not have thought about.

1. You have an 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. You feel guilty.

A person can 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 may then turn into an inward hatred, leading to more anger issues. A vicious cycle.

3. You have muscle tension.

When you are angry, your muscles automatically tense up because of the adrenaline that rushes through your body. For people with anger problems, muscle tension occurs often.

4. You have 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. You feel overwhelmed.

A feeling of overwhelm might occur with anger issues because of all the emotions boiling up inside that cannot be controlled. This makes it harder to cope when life throws unexpected things at you, causing outbreaks of anger.

6. You always feel angry.

If you just always feel like you could explode with rage at the drop of a hat, you may have anger issues. It's not normal to always feel mad about something. It causes you to resent things, making you a very miserable camper.

7. You break things around you.

Filled with rage and uncontrollable emotions, you may often break things in your surrounding environment. Obviously, breaking things out of anger is not the best way to quell those feelings; in fact, it's a huge red flag to others to steer clear.

8. Small things set you off.

If the tiniest of things turns you into a ball of rage, there are major underlying issues. Being easily irritated is exhausting, which just makes things worse. You shouldn't be erupting just because you stubbed your toe or someone didn't pick up the phone.


9. You blame others.

Those with anger issues will often not take responsibility for their mistakes. They shift the blame onto others and are angry about the whole situation, refusing to budge and see their part in feeling this way.

10. Your past haunts you.

If you constantly regret or resent things you've done in the past, you could have anger issues. If you are in a constant state of resentment towards yourself, you might easily be angered without being provoked. This causes tricky and tension-filled encounters.

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 include stress, family, or financial issues, but the true cause is usually an underlying mental health condition. Though anger isn’t a mental health disorder, it most certainly could 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 may make depression even worse.

2. Obsessive Compulsive 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 experience rage, irritability, and long periods of anger.


5. Grief

Anger is literally one of the main stages of grief. Grief comes from many different things in life, not just the passing of a loved one. It comes from a divorce, a breakup, or even losing a job. This type of anger can be directed at anyone or anything close to the event.

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What To Do If You Think You Have Anger Issues

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

1. Reduce the salt in your diet.

Salt has been linked to increased feelings of depression, so it goes without saying that removing salt from your diet may aid in reducing signs of anger issues.


“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 and remove it from your diet,” Murthy says.

“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 that add a lot of flavor to your food without the salt which increases anger and rage," she 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.

“When you feel anger creep up, stand up and sway your body, and go for that drink of plain water,” Murthy 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 for 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 does and what doesn’t work. They also help tailor your recovery path to you individually with an anger test and other tools.


5. Think before you speak.

People with anger issues are usually quick to react to the situation. Therefore, when you start to feel like you are getting angry, take a beat and think about how you are feeling and why before you say anything.

Then, once you feel calm enough, try to express your feelings in an effective and constructive way, sticking to "I" statements.

6. Use humor.

Laughter is the best medicine. Why not use humor to deal with your anger? Insert a joke into a tense situation to make it lighter, but be careful not to use sarcasm, as this could be misconstrued to be mean.

7. Exercise.

Being physical has been shown to improve your mental and emotional state. Exercising releases endorphins and relieves stress, which could have been the cause of your anger issues to begin with. Next time you feel anger begin to build, go for a run or take a trip to the gym.


Do anger issues ever go away?

The answer is yes!

“No child is born angry. This is something they picked up and mastered over time either through nature or nurture," Murthy says.

"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 back on it and work towards a better way of life.

RELATED: How I Finally Stopped Letting Anger Ruin My Life

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.