Addiction and Anger Management: How Are They Even Connected?
“Fire in the heart sends smoke into the head.” -German Proverb
When people are angry, they tend to lose their ability to think clearly. They may end up doing something that they shouldn’t have. I have seen close friendships and relationships break due to anger. Children miss out on the joys of being a part of a happy family due to anger issue in either of the parents or both. All in all, anger is a demon that can ruin the world around you. Some people resort to substance abuse or addiction to suppress anger. Addiction leads to an endlessly, destructive cycle. Once you get inside the cycle, it is quite difficult to step out of it.
Understand one thing that anger is a natural emotion just like happiness, sorrow and envy. You need to learn how to control this feeling in a positive way before it starts controlling you. Relying on addiction to curb anger is not the right thing to do. You may not realize it, but anger and addiction are intricately connected with each other. Read on to know how.
Addiction and Anger: What’s The Connection?
I have dealt with several people struggling to cope up with anger issues. After assessing my patients thoroughly, I have come to the conclusion that addiction and anger are related to each other in two different ways.
- When addiction is the reason for anger
Extensive alcohol or drug abuse often makes a person angry, even in normal situations. The drugs can put an adverse impact on your brain and trigger irritation and annoyance all of a sudden. You may not even realize that you are doing something wrong. In such situations, the family is the most affected. No matter how hard your family or close friends try, they may not be able to handle your anger issues. You are most likely to turn a deaf ear to suggestions that involve avoiding substance abuse.
- When anger is the reason for the addiction
Martha, a graphic designer expert in the UK, was one of my clients at my clinic. She had terrible anger management issues because she was not able to vent it out. I was the first person she talked to about the incidents that made her angry to the extent that she had to do drugs. She decided to come to me when the situation was almost out of her hands. There are tons of people of different ages who would rather take a puff of cigarette instead of letting the anger out.
These are the two scenarios which build a relationship between anger and addiction. You should not push down your anger or store it within yourself and let that feeling sabotage your mental peace. Suppressing anger is like pushing an inflated balloon under the water: an unfruitful attempt. You need to understand what makes you angry to take the right step to curb the issue.
What makes us angry?
‘I open my eyes in the morning and I am angry for some unknown reason.‘ This is what one of my clients answered when I asked her about the reasons for her anger. Most of us get angry because we are hurting inside. Personal life may be a mess. Professional life may also be no less than haywire. There is no way to escape this situation. Therefore, we get angry.
Anger leads to dysfunctional and self-destructive behavior symptoms. Now there are two completely different types of anger.
Anger turned inward
This is when you turn the anger against yourselves. Numbness, emotional deadening and apathy are some of the most common symptoms. When anger is turned inward, your emotional system shuts down and it feels like nothing can hurt you more.
Anger turned outward
In this case, you let out the anger on someone else. You may hurt your family and loved ones during this process. You may rely on drugs and alcohol when you are angry to make sure you don’t let the anger out on people you love.
It is important for every individual to be angry when the right time comes. But, it is equally important to know how to control the anger and vent it out in the right manner. Identify the pain within your body and mind that might be leading to anger. Try to heal the pain from within and see the world around you from a different perspective.
Top 5 Positive Anger Management Tips To Work On Your Anger Issues
Almost 7.8% of people in the United States have reported having uncontrolled and intense anger. The reasons can be anything from a poorly structured office environment to troubled relationships. As I mentioned before, addiction is not the answer to your anger issues irrespective of your situation. Therefore, I have crafted some of the most effective positive anger management tips for you.
- Think and then speak
Never ever speak when you are angry. You may end up saying something that would hurt the people around you and ruin relationships. Take a few moments to gather your thoughts, calm down and then speak.
- Let the anger out when you are calm
Anger does not let your mind think or process the incidents clearly. Calm yourself down and then you can express your anger in an assertive way. You can convey your feelings clearly and come to effective solutions easily.
- Take a break
Short breaks are absolutely necessary even when you are ‘adulting.’ Long stretches of work often cause stress which may lead to anger issues. Watch a funny short film or just stay quiet for a short period of time.
- Get quick exercises
Physical activities can reduce your stress and help you calm down in the moments of anger. Got into a brawl with your office colleagues over an assignment? Go out for a walk and let the anger repress. You can also practice tons of other physical activities to calm down the anger.
- Use humor
Do you often get irritated and angry when someone cuts you off at the traffic? Instead of stepping out of the car to punch him/her, try to smile at the person. I know it is easier said than done. But, you got to try the technique at least once.
It’s okay if you get angry. But, it’s not okay when you hurt yourself or others due to anger. The above-mentioned anger management tips will help you control your anger to some extent. I would suggest you get help from professionals in case you have severe anger issues. And say no to addiction since it does no good.
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