Anger Management and Addiction

Most people struggle with anger. Whether it’s anger that explodes or anger that you stuff. It doesn’t matter. Just about everybody can relate to feeling angry. If you’re in recovery, you’ve noticed a relationship between anger management and addiction. If you’re struggling with anger control, you may likely also struggle with a substance use disorder (SUD).

You may be wondering where the anger begins and the addiction begins. Perhaps you’ve heard of certain drugs that cause anger. Or, you may have begun taking drugs to try and relieve anger. Some antidepressants, though they do not target anger directly, may help you stay calm. You might opt to try Xanax for anger. But some research indicates a correlative relationship between benzos and anger.

In this article, you will learn:

● What is the relationship between anger management and addiction?
● Are there drugs that cause anger?
● What are practical ways to manage anger?

What Is The Relationship Between Anger Management And Addiction?

Uncontrolled anger has a link to the formation of substance use disorders. Consider the role of alcohol in domestic violence. For a person with poor impulse control, alcohol will only make their situation worse. A domestic abuser may experience any number of negative emotions. Drinking may help ease some of those emotions. But alcohol also lowers inhibition, thus keeping the domestic violence cycle turning.

What Is Anger?

Merriam-Webster defines anger as, “a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.” You might feel it when someone breaks a commitment. Or misses an appointment. You’re likely to anger when someone betrays you. When someone lies to, or about, you. Or maybe when someone discloses something you told them in confidence.

Symptoms Of Anger

Knowing the emotional and physical symptoms of anger can be very helpful. Pay attention to these symptoms, they’ll come in handy later.

Internal Symptoms

We feel anger internally before we display it externally. It might feel like a clinching or burning sensation in your gut. You might feel it a little higher in your chest. Your thoughts will also offer cues to your anger. You’ll think things like, “How dare they…” or “They won’t get away with this…”

When you’re angry, your mind might bring vows to mind. These are absolute statements. Agreements with yourself that you may not even be aware of. They involve phrases that begin with “always” and “never.” This process happens in fractions of a second. But if you’re mindful, you’ll learn to recognize it.

External Symptoms

Once you’ve stepped into your anger, look for changes in your body. Notice bodily sensations like:

● Sweating, typically on your head, face, and torso
● Narrowed eyebrows
● Lowering or raising your voice
● Racing pulse, or tension in your temples
● Stiffness or rigidness in your hips, back, and neck
● Shaking hands or jaw

Verbal Symptoms

Anger will show up in your speech as well. The tone of your voice may either hush to a whisper or elevate to a yell. You may blame, insult, or even threaten people around you. You might even use curse words or other provocative language. Anger can stimulate salivation, so you will likely foam or froth at the mouth when you speak.

Anger And Addiction

By itself, anger may not cause addiction. But it certainly contributes to it. In his essay On Anger, the Stoic philosopher Seneca said that anger was essentially madness. “You have only to behold the expressions of those possessed by anger to know that they are insane,” Seneca wrote.

Is it any wonder that a person would want relief from this kind of insanity? Some drugs, like antidepressants and benzos, may temporarily offer relief from anger. For a little while, they make us feel a little bit better. Or, at least less bad.

Just feeling angry isn’t wrong. On an emotional level, feeling angry is no different than feeling anything else. But because of its toxicity, we must change the way we think about anger. In recovery, we don’t simply become sober as an end. Sobriety is a means. In this case, a means to understand our anger, process it, and express it in ways that are proactive and helpful. This is how we come to understand the relationship between anger management and addiction.

Are There Drugs That Cause Anger?

Methamphetamines show possible links to violent acts like suicide. Women who consume methamphetamine seem to be at least as violent as their male counterparts. Some case studies indicate that steroid users report feelings of irritability and anger.

An inability to control anger may be a precursor for alcoholism, but this doesn’t mean that alcohol causes a person to become angry. Likewise, cocaine can make symptoms of pre-existing mental illnesses more prevalent. Some of those symptoms include violent acts, whether against self or others.

Evidence appears to suggest a very strong connection between anger and addiction. But no specific drug makes a person angry. Rather, drugs seem to amplify how the person feels already. Addiction makes a bad anger problem into a terrible anger problem.

What Are Practical Ways To Manage Anger?

Now, you know what anger is. You know how to recognize how it feels. And how your body expresses it. You also know how anger alters your speech. You know how addiction and anger relate. With those things in mind, here are 3 practical steps you can implement that will help you better express your anger.

Become Mindful Of Anger

To practice mindfulness means to become aware. To pay attention. To see something in your mind with focus and effort. Meditation can help strengthen this awareness. And awareness works just like a muscle. If you train it, it gets stronger. The more you train your awareness, the better you will be at detecting your anger. The earlier you detect your anger, the quicker you can act to express it healthily.

Label Your Anger

Once you become aware of your anger, call it for what it is. Name it. Even if no one is around, say out loud, “I am angry.” But if others are around, saying this aloud is helpful. Speaking your anger provides clarity for you, and for those around you.

Identify The Reason(s) For Your Anger

Once you’ve said that you’re angry, it’s time to say why. To bring abstract feeling into concrete reality. This will help further clarify why you feel what you feel. Say, “I am angry because of ________.” Don’t judge your reason. But don’t defend it or excuse it either. Just say it. Once you’ve done that, you can then examine your reason(s) for being angry.

Getting Help For Anger Management And Addiction

If you have more questions about getting help for anger management and addiction, call Recovery In Tune now at 1 (844) 7-IN-TUNE.


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