Everyone experiences anger from time to time. It’s a normal emotion. But intense or prolonged anger can jeopardize employment, relationships, education, and even freedom. Those who struggle to control their anger are increasingly finding their way to behavioral health professionals for assistance.
We see it in our schools, workplaces, families, and out in public – the person who yells, hits, or throws things – and sometimes sparked by something as small as a missed parking space. In a culture where time is short, anger can surface quickly and with intensity. And anger can erupt into physical violence. The Centers for Disease Control’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, found that one in ten 9th to 12th graders had been physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings revealed that nearly 19 percent of youth receiving mental health services have trouble controlling anger.
And in 2009, the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey reported more than a half million nonfatal violent crimes took place at work. Prisons and jails are even worse, where 38-50 percent of inmates experience persistent anger and irritability. When the problem results in an arrest or other disciplinary action, there often is a referral or requirement to engage in some therapy or treatment to help manage the intense emotion and prevent additional similar experiences.
Typically, when someone gets angry, there are responses that are physiological (becoming flushed, burst of energy and arousal, etc.), cognitive (thoughts that occur in response to an event), emotional (feeling afraid, discounted, disrespected, impatient, etc.), and behavioral (sarcasm, swearing, crying, yelling, throwing, etc.). Problem anger occurs when someone experiences anger as a chronic irritability or a full-on rage – as an emotion experienced too intensely or too often. The consequences of long-term anger issues can lead to arrest, injury (self or others), adverse effects on important relationships, job loss, or treatment program ejection. Some groups have a higher risk of experiencing problems with anger, including individuals with substance use disorders, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and personality disorders. (SAMHSA News, Summer 2014)
ASSESSMENT & COUNSELING SOLUTIONS offers services for the management of anger and aggression. We provide a monthly one-day class designed to fit the requirements of many court orders. We also provide individual and group counseling for anger and aggression management using a brief cognitive/behavioral counseling model.
An twelve-week treatment program is provided for those who need a more intensive level of care.
Anger and aggression are basic emotions that serve many purposes for everyone, but they are also the primary factors in placing stressors on relationships of all types. Anger is often a cover feeling for a variety of emotions a person may feel. Inappropriate anger and aggression often result in legal issues, physical problems (reciprocal injuries), civil law suits, and employment disruptions, as well as damaged relationships and reputations.
In our programs, individual are asked to consider possible sources of their anger and aggression. We explore family of origin issues, role models, childhood and adolescence, self=esteem and other possible contributing factors. Using a cognitive approach, clients are taught to own and be responsible for their feelings rather than blame others.
Signs of problem anger:
- Constant frustration and anger despite efforts at change.
- Problems at work or in relationships due to anger.
- Avoidance of new events and people due to uncontrollable temper.
- Legal problems due to anger.
- Anger has led to physical violence.