This Page was last reviewed and changed on January 10th, 2023
Anger Management and Addiction
Addiction can wreak havoc on our emotions; reliance on a substance or a specific behaviour can be so consuming that we may experience extreme mood swings ranging from anxiety, irritability, sadness, fear and anger. It’s natural to feel anger, and it’s good to acknowledge and release it from time to time, so long as it’s done healthily. However, expressing anger can be dangerous and unhealthy if people have poor anger management. Unfortunately, addiction aggravates our emotions and impairs our clarity of thinking, thus creating the perfect storm for enraged feelings to spiral.
Understanding the relationship between anger and addiction is vital for us to break free from addiction and exert better anger management. Here, we outline what unhealthy anger is, how it correlates to addiction and the best way to combat both.
What is unhealthy anger?
Unhealthy anger can make a person feel as though they are losing control. For example, we may experience “red mist”, whereby we feel like we could say or do anything highly out of character, which could severely damage meaningful relationships. Moreover, unhealthy anger is when a person has thoughts or intentions of wanting to hurt themselves or others, whether physically, mentally or emotionally. It usually stems from the concept of making other people feel their pain.
Signs of poor anger management and addiction
If you are concerned that someone you love is struggling with poor anger management alongside a substance abuse or behavioural addiction, read through the following statements to see if they are struggling with a co-occurring disorder.
- They may demonstrate threatening behaviour to those around them, such as shouting, swearing or insulting, which may worsen when a person consumes alcohol or drugs.
- They can become aggressive if someone tries to remove their source of addiction, e.g., if alcohol or drugs have been hidden from them.
- They often blame others for adverse outcomes and may even blame others for their dependence on behaviours or substances.
- Their behaviour becomes threatening if they consume alcohol or drugs.
- People around them feel like they are “walking on eggshells” when they use substances.
- They struggle to let go of past rage and are preoccupied with something negative that happened in the past and are only satisfied when they have access to their drug of choice.
- Hostile body language and tendencies such as door slamming, throwing objects or driving recklessly if they are unable to access their ‘fix’.
- They exhibit physical aggression if they can’t access drugs or alcohol, including hitting, kicking, or pushing to release anger
- They may become increasingly hostile and insulting if they cannot access their ‘fix’.
The connection between addiction and anger
Sometimes those with addiction and poor anger management may seem to ‘overreact’ to adverse scenarios. This is usually because the root cause of anger stems from unprocessed feelings from their past, and present situations may suddenly trigger rage. Therefore, a person with anger issues and addiction can be easily triggered; consider walking across a landmine – their anger is already embedded deep in the ground below, so a person needs to be very careful where they step in case they cause an explosion. Thus, they may be subconsciously harbouring unhealed trauma for something that may have happened long ago. This could be many things, varying from:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Rejection of any kind
Ultimately, unprocessed trauma can cause someone to feel like they are treading on tentative ground. At any moment, something could bring about extreme rages from within, such as an insensitive remark or a minor inconvenience to their day. Sadly, it is likely that many people are in denial about their past pain and may attempt to suppress it by abusing substances or engaging in unhealthy behaviours to escape uncomfortable emotions.
Moreover, addiction can fuel deep-rooted anger further as they may feel they are losing the war with addiction. Sadly, the power of addiction can be so overwhelming that those fighting it can feel intense frustration at their inability to quit on their own. Angry outbursts may bring about intense feelings of guilt as often, when a person calms down, it can be alarming for the person with anger problems to realise they temporarily lost themselves to their temper. They may turn to substance abuse or behavioural addiction to’ block out’ feelings of shame.
How Primrose Lodge can help
It’s tough to quit addictive tendencies on your own, so we believe rehabilitation is the safest and surest way to overcome addiction. We firmly believe that all addictions come with mental health problems, which is why we specialise addressing co-occurring disorders within our treatment programme. Provided that your temper is not a danger to you or those around you, we are happy to treat you for addiction and offer you further support for anger management. You’ll be welcomed into our private home, where your daily needs will be cared for. In addition, a medically supervised detox will be provided for those with substance addiction.
Acknowledging the root cause of anger and addiction can be challenging, but to heal, we must address the underlying causes of anger to overcome addiction for good. So, we will offer a variety of treatments designed to help you overcome unhealthy dependency and gain a better grasp on anger management. Such therapies include, but not limited to:
Get the help you need today
Experiencing the trauma of addiction alongside intense feelings of anger can feel debilitating and relying on an addiction to keep anger at bay can weigh heavy on your mind, body, and soul. We are committed to helping you break free of addiction and explore healthier ways of expressing anger so you can improve relationships, manage your personal and professional life, and lead a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle. So, call or chat with us today, and a member of our friendly support team will help you get on the road to recovery.