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    Mental Health, White River Manor

    How to recognize when someone you know has an anger problem

    Published on September 6, 2021

    Anger is a prevailing problem in the world today. A US study conducted in 2020 on anger revealed that over half of the respondents reported feeling angrier than they were a year ago.

    Anger issues

    Research conducted on anger revealed that twenty percent of Americans have diagnosable anger issues.

    All that said, it’s critical that those experiencing symptoms of anger or those who are worried about a loved one exhibiting signs of anger explore their emotions and behaviour.

    What are the symptoms of anger?

    Anger signs and symptoms

    Many people with feelings of anger often experience a diverse range of symptoms. But, typically, getting angry induces both physical and emotional responses within people.

    Physical signs

    The physical signs of anger include:

    • Feelings of tightness in the chest
    • Fatigue
    • Headaches
    • Increased blood pressure
    • Sinus pressure
    • Tingling sensations in the body

    Emotional signs

    Other symptoms of anger are psychological or emotional and can show up as:

    • Rage and angry or violent outbursts
    • Anxiety
    • Passive-aggressive behavior
    • Needing to isolate oneself
    • Irritability

    Are people wrong for feeling angry?

    When expressed constructively, anger can be a healthy emotion. People must know that feeling angry or any other negative emotion is not wrong in itself. The trick is controlling anger feelings and not acting on them.

    When we feel angry

    Healthy anger allows us to act on noble causes that feel important to us; it can also give us the energy to carry us through challenging times. Getting mad is not harmful; it’s how you channel those feelings and manage the anger that is the deciding factor.

    Control your anger

    How people express their anger can be the difference between having a calm, fulfilling life or one that gets fueled by chaos and misunderstanding; a lack of self-control fuels the latter, which can negatively impact a person’s mental and physical health.

    First step

    Once a person realizes that their anger is out of control, they can begin to manage their anger and develop new ways to think and act that decrease their anger symptoms and thus improves their relationships and overall quality of life.

    Anger is not an isolated problem.

    People must realize that anger is not an isolated condition. Instead, anger is often a symptom of deeper psychological issues, such as:


    There are plenty of articles out there with quizzes that reveal whether or not people have an anger problem. These can be particularly helpful for people wanting to understand their emotional and physical symptoms a bit better.

    Although, it is always much more beneficial for people to consult with a therapist or licensed anger management specialist to help deal with their anger.

    How to manage anger problems

    Anger problems do not have to be a way of life. There are various ways for people to manage their anger so that it no longer has such a tight grip over them.

    Let go

    Dealing with your anger so that it no longer controls your behaviour and emotions can be incredibly empowering. For those who feel helpless and powerless because of their anger, help is always available.

    Anger management

    Anger management

    Some helpful tips to help people learn to manage their anger include:

    #1. Communicating anger appropriately: 

    Anger is a normal part of being human. 

    However, many people often communicate their anger ineffectively or inappropriately, resulting in name-calling and threatening language or behaviour. 

    One of the keys is to express your anger by saying something like ”I am feeling angry, and now is not the right time for me to deal with this.”

    #2. Taking some ‘time-out’: 

    By temporarily removing yourself from whatever is causing you to get angry, you give yourself time to take a step back and assess the situation from a calmer vantage point. 

    Essentially, by taking some time away from an anger-inducing situation, you will be more capable of managing it constructively once you have had the time to calm down.

    #3. Understanding your anger triggers: 

    Self-exploration can be helpful for those with anger issues. Knowing your triggers and the type of anger and situations that exacerbate these feelings can be a handy tool in controlling anger.

    #4. Cognitive restructuring: 

    It may sound difficult; however, cognitive restructuring helps people with anger issues to re-frame their thoughts. 

    For example, if someone cuts in front of you in the queue, instead of believing that they did it on purpose, you can replace the thought with a more positive one, such as perhaps the person didn’t see you standing there.

    Breaking apart any negative thoughts and challenging them with positive ones can be invaluable for those with anger issues.

    #5. Make an anger-management plan: 

    Having an anger- management plan allows you to note the situations that may trigger your temper; it may even be helpful to write down how you managed your anger. 

    By doing this, you can reflect on how you handled yourself and build on this in the future.


    Many therapeutic techniques are available for those who want to deal with their bad temper or anger issues. 

    These include:

    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    • Improvement in communication skills
    • Talk therapy and counseling
    • Anger management programs
    • Psychotherapy

    Reaching out to friends and family.

    As well as taking part in counselling or anger management programs to combat their anger, people also benefit from drawing on the support and understanding from friends and family members.

    When people feel comfortable expressing their feelings and what causes them to get angry, they are in a much better position to let go of the blame, stress and anxiety that goes along with it.

    Anger and addiction

    Research has shown the principal role that anger plays in drug and alcohol addiction.

    Anger is a complex emotion, one that is usually (unconsciously) driven by emotional pain.

    For people struggling with addiction, pain is the primary emotion that most people are looking to escape from; this usually gets achieved by numbing any negative feelings and emotions associated with challenging life experiences.

    Understanding an anger disorder

    Essentially, unresolved trauma is often at the heart of both anger and addiction.

    As people engage deeply in the recovery process and the roots of addiction begin to surface, many find themselves prone to sudden outbursts of anger and rage that appear seemingly inexplicable.

    Addiction specialists can help addicts uncover the root cause of the addiction and help them identify their anger and recognize its presence in the recovery process.

    therapy white river manor

    Contact us

    If you believe that you or a loved one may be suffering from anger issues, then perhaps it’s time to reach out to a professional who can further advise you on what to do. Support and help are always available. 

    Contact one of our specialists today for more information.

    About Giles Fourie

    Giles Fourie is the director and co-founder of White River Manor. He is dedicated to providing the best care for clients seeking recovery from substance abuse, anxiety, depression, or co-occurring disorders.