Anger Disorders and Anger Control

Anger disorders affect children, adolescents and adults. In childhood, we see parents struggling with their children’s impulsive angry behavior. These children are oppositional, argue, hit others , break things and often refuse instructions. We think of these problems as a developmental arrest because these behaviors are normal in 2 to 3 year year old children. Behavioral interventions are introduced to parents to improve disciplinary techniques. In therapy, Dr. Kovner uses play therapy to engage the child and teach them to use language to express their emotions rather than acting them out.

When an individual impulsively and repeatedly loses control over their temper, they have intermittent explosive disorder. These angry individuals may drive aggressively, get into frequent arguments, get into altercations at work, and act irritably at home with their spouses or children and result in domestic violence, property damage, etc.

Individuals that repeatedly and impulsively act in a violent and aggressive manner have Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). Anger may be inappropriately and disproportionately expressed by driving aggressively, getting into frequent arguments, getting into altercations at work, and acting abusively at home with spouses and/or with their children. They may get fired from their jobs for disrupting the work place, or even threatening or bullying others. They may have legal difficulties as a result of physical assaults.

In adolescence and adulthood, treatment for anger disorders includes Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). With CBT, understanding 1he triggers of explosive anger is essential to developing control over it. Clients are taught how their perceptions, opinions, beliefs and faulty logic intensifies anger, and causing them to rage and act impulsively and aggressively.

Anger is an interesting emotion. We understand that the emotional system is located in a part of the brain stem called the limbic system in an organ called the amydala. The amydala is deaf and blind. It has no connections to the sense organs so it cannot see or hear. The only way it can react to things outside of the body is through connections to language center. What you think informs the amydala to “feel.” When we are unable to get what we want we feel frustrated or “angry.” As emotion intensifies, the ability to think rationally decreases. We begin using irrational distorted thoughts (opinion, beliefs), such as (we)”should get what we want” intensifies the emotion. In fact, when believe that not getting what we want is dangerous or unfair, we convert that anger into rage. Rage or failure to manage anger is referred to as a “disorder” when we act on that anger and get into arguments with others, fight with others, drive aggressively, even dangerously and bully others. We can see angry rage in major depression in the form of suicidal or homicidal ideation. It can result in jealous rage. It can be seen in delusional thinking, such the persecutory ideation in paranoid states. We may see it in psychosis with command hallucinations. Anger management can be seen in oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder and in anti-social personality disorder and erupt in intermittent explosive behaviors. Anger disorders can cause serious relationship problems, result in criminal charges, job loss and even death.

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