This week I welcome Dr. Joel Dillon of Orenstein Solutions in Cary, North Carolina, who is here to explain what to look for if we suspect that someone (including ourselves) may have anger management issues.
Anger is a normal healthy emotion. It motivates us when action needs to be taken, and it can empower us when we need to take a stand. It can become abnormal and unhealthy however, when we struggle to manage our anger in appropriate ways. Unfortunately given the course of anger, we don’t recognize the inappropriateness until the damage is done. The consequences can be quite pervasive, affecting several aspects of your life.
First and foremost, poorly managed anger can damage relationships with loved ones, co-workers, and friends. People can begin to view you with fear, consider you hostile, and contribute to distrust among your closest supports. Secondly, unmanaged anger can significantly impact your physical health. It is not uncommon for high levels of anger to be associated with such short-term physical problems as headaches, digestion difficulties, and anxiety; while long-term ailments can include depression, high blood pressure, and increased vulnerability to heart attack and stroke. The impact of poorly managed anger can thus contribute to problems across several domains of your life. Knowing the consequences of anger can help you “stop and think” before you act. However being able to identify poorly managed anger in yourself and others, is the most effective way to prevent negative consequences.
Identifying when you or others may have an anger problem is a necessary step in increasing appropriate coping skills. Ways in which to identify poorly managed anger can take many forms. The following are examples of these forms. Please note however, this list is not inconclusive. Poorly managed anger can affect individuals in different ways, which sometimes are not as obvious as you would think.
- When you disagree with someone’s opinion, you find it difficult to stay calm and “bite your tongue.”
- During arguments, you slam doors, break glass, punch and kick walls, or destroy objects.
- While driving, you become so angry with other drivers you tailgate, honk the horn excessively, or use profanity or the one finger salute.
- You’ve heard other people refer to you as “hot headed”, “bad tempered”, “having a short fuse”, or having to “walk on eggshells” around you.
- You hold onto your anger for a long time by refusing to talk to loved ones and cutting off relationships.
Poorly managed anger can have serious consequences in many aspects of your life. However by recognizing when anger is a problem, you are that much closer to taking the steps needed to living a calmer life. If you, a loved one, or co-worker thinks that anger may be problem, there are many qualified mental health professionals who specialize in anger management that can help you develop more appropriate ways to cope with anger.
Joel Dillon, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist with advanced training in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and the evaluation and treatment of disruptive behavior disorders. His specialty areas include Child, Teen, and Adult Disruptive Behaviors, Anger Management, Substance Abuse, ADHD and LD Evaluations, and Family Therapy.