There are many reasons why an individual may feel angry or have angry outbursts. These reasons can include issues with mental health, such as depression, stress and anxiety, as well as addictions (for example, drug and alcohol abuse.) Other underlying issues such as low self-esteem, trust issues, and a history of previous abuse (including physical, sexual and emotional abuse.) While we all experience anger from time to time, it becomes a problem when those outbursts of anger are beyond the usual feelings of frustration and/or irritability, and if left untreated there is the potential of violence also occurring.

There are different warning signs and patterns of behaviour to watch for in individuals who have trouble controlling their anger. For example, they may have trouble compromising in certain situations and become angry over the idea. They may not be able to express their emotions in a way that is calm and considered healthy. They may ignore individuals or refuse to talk to people. They may also express both inward and outward aggression, such as isolation and self-harm (for example, suicidal ideations or thoughts of suicide, or they may partake in excessive alcohol which leads to an increase in anger.) They may also shout, swear, and become physically violent, and their anger may also have an impact on their relationships. It’s also not uncommon for individuals with anger issues to have problems accepting constructive criticism and may instead think of it as being negative or jump to other conclusions, which can lead to even further confrontational behaviour, in addition to placing blame onto others for things that aren’t their fault.

In order to recognize anger, it’s important to understand the difference between usual feelings of frustration, and feelings of your emotions boiling over to the point where it causes you to lose control. Along with the aforementioned behavioural changes, someone with anger issues may also punch objects (such as walls), break things (such as glass), and overreact to small issues. In addition, you also need to know your triggers. Furthermore, issues with anger management can also lead to physical symptoms such as an increase in blood pressure, heart palpitations, chest tightness, sweating, flushing, fatigue, and even headaches. By figuring out what causes your angry outbursts, it will be easier for you to seek treatment and have that treatment be effective, as well as be easier for those around you to have a better understanding as to why someone may be acting out in the way that they are.

How you handle your anger is the most important thing. Having outbursts and responding to situations by being violent will only cause you more problems. In order to decrease angry outbursts, as mentioned, you need to identify triggers. This can be helped by speaking with a licensed therapist (such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.) Once those triggers are identified, you can work on healthier ways to control your anger and express how you’re feeling to those around you. One way of controlling your anger, suggests Dr. Ali Ghahary, is to try and develop better communication skills as well as different conflict resolution techniques; this way, you’ll not only be keeping your own anger at bay, but it will also prevent you from provoking anger in others. If you’re under a lot of stress or are sleep-deprived, this too can trigger anger and make you feel more irritable than usual. Stress and sleep deprivation can be caused by a number of things, including pressure at work and with school, so try to create a good work-life or school-life balance. Find time to partake in fun hobbies, make sure you get enough rest, as well as eat a healthy diet. Another great way to relieve stress and pent-up feelings of anger is to practice different stress-relieving techniques, such as breathing exercises and meditation. If you are not able to control your anger on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. For more anger management tips and strategies, click here.