Anger

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Anger is a natural feeling that affects us all. But for some people, anger can get out of control and cause problems with relationships, work and even the law.

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What is anger?


Anger is an important emotion, says Celia Richardson of the Mental Health Foundation. “It’s the one that tells us we need to take action to put something right,” she says. “Anger is a problem-solving emotion. It gives us strength and energy, and motivates us to act.”


Things that can make us feel angry include:

  • A threat to us or people close to us.
  • A blow to our self-esteem or social standing in a group.
  • Being interrupted when we’re pursuing a goal.
  • Being treated unfairly and feeling unable to change this.
  • Being verbally or physically assaulted.
  • Someone going against a principle we feel is important.
Intense and unresolved anger is linked to health conditions such as high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and heart disease



Physical signs of anger


Everyone has a physical response to anger. Our body releases the hormone adrenalin, making our heart beat faster and making us breathe quicker and sweat more. This allows us to focus on the threat and react quickly, but it can also mean we don’t think straight, and maybe react in ways we might regret later on.


“One in five people have ended a relationship because of the way the other person dealt with anger,” says Celia. “Reports show that anger problems are as common as depression and anxiety but people don’t often see it as a problem, or don’t realize there are ways to tackle it.”


Individual reactions to being angry


How people react to feeling angry depends on many things including the situation, their family history, cultural background, gender and general stress levels.

People can express anger verbally, by shouting: sometimes this can be aggressive, involving swearing, threats or name-calling. Some people react violently and lash out physically, hitting other people, pushing them or breaking things.

Other people might react to anger by hiding it or turning it inwards against themselves. They can be very angry on the inside but feel unable to let it out.

It’s important to deal with anger in a healthy way that doesn’t harm you or anyone else. Intense and unresolved anger is linked to health conditions such as high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and heart disease. It can also affect your relationships and work, and get you into trouble with the law.

Dealing with anger in a healthy way includes:

  • recognizing when you get angry,
  • taking time to cool down, and
  • reducing your general stress levels in life.

You can also look at what makes you angry, and how you deal with those feelings. For specific tips, see Controlling your anger, or the Mental Health Foundation’s Cool Down booklet, which also includes advice on where you can go if you want professional help.


Learning to control your anger


Anger management courses involve group discussions and counseling. If you feel you need help controlling your anger, see your GP.

If uncontrolled anger leads to domestic violence (violence or threatening behavior within the home), there are places that offer help and support. Talk with your GP, or contact domestic violence organizations such as Refuge or Women’s Aid.

Medpedia-logo.gif The basis of this article is contributed from Medpedia.com These articles are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License It may have since been edited beyond all recognition. But we thank Medpedia for allowing its use.
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