Anger and anger management are serious problems for many Americans. Sixteen million people throughout the country suffer from a condition known as Intermittent Explosive Disorder (or IED). This condition is characterized by sudden feelings of anger that are disproportionate to the situation.
Moreover, most people don’t realize that anger issues and substance abuse often go hand in hand.
In fact, people who struggle with anger management problems may be more prone to substance abuse. They may turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope with their problems. However, they may also find that drugs or alcohol make their anger problems worse.
The connection between addiction and anger makes anger management courses an excellent benefit for people in recovery. Read on to learn more about the vital role that anger management can play in addiction recovery.
Anger and Addiction
Everyone gets angry from time to time. Addicts, though, might find that they get angry more often than other people. There are many links between anger and addiction, and it’s not always clear which one leads to the other.
Some of the most well-known connections between the two are explained below:
Self-Medicating to Manage Emotions
The act of self-medicating is pervasive among individuals who struggle with addiction.
Some people who know that they have trouble managing their anger may turn to drugs or alcohol because they think that using will help them cope.
For example, people with anger issues may use depressants like alcohol or opioids to stay calm and slow their reflexes. They may even use sedatives to try to keep their anger under control.
Drugs and Alcohol Triggering Anger
On the other hand, drugs and alcohol can also trigger anger in some people.
Substance use can reduce impulse control and make it harder for some people to control their temper. Under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a minor annoyance can become a major issue and cause someone to act irrationally.
For example, alcohol impairs cognitive abilities. So, alcohol misuse can cause people not to think through things as clearly as they might usually. They might also care less about the consequences of their actions when they’re under the influence of a particular substance.
Drugs, Alcohol, and Domestic Abuse
It’s also important to note that there is a striking correlation between the rates of substance use and domestic abuse. There is also a particularly strong link between alcoholism and intimate partner violence.
One study, which involved 67 participants, even showed that alcohol increased the likelihood of physical aggression in men who already had anger problems and difficulty managing their emotions.
This study revealed that sexual aggression was higher after consuming alcohol. These findings were accurate even among men who did not have anger problems and were able to manage their anger well when sober.
Benefits of Anger Management in Recovery
There are some significant connections between anger management issues and substance abuse.
For many people, getting sober can be very beneficial in helping them to better control their anger. However, getting to the root of the issue is also important. If you struggle with anger management issues, you need to figure out why and how you can cope with them.
Participating in anger management while in recovery can bring about many benefits, including the following:
Learn to Recognize Triggers
When anger management is part of your addiction recovery plan, you’ll have an easier time figuring out what kinds of situations trigger your anger.
Once you can recognize these triggers, you’ll be able to cope with them or avoid them altogether.
If you find that you’re more prone to anger after consuming drugs or alcohol, you may feel even more motivated to give them up for good.
Learn to Cope with Triggers
Recognizing triggers is the first step. Avoiding them is great when you can, but you’re not always able to do that.
While in anger management, you’ll learn how to cope with your triggers in healthy ways that don’t involve alcohol, drugs, or other destructive behaviors.
Take Responsibility for Your Actions
A big part of anger management involves learning to take responsibility for your actions. Generally, this is a big part of recovery, too.
By participating in anger management as part of your recovery, you’ll have a much easier time accepting what’s happened in your life so far and finding the motivation to make positive changes going forward.
Repair Your Relationships
When you learn to take responsibility for your actions and control your anger, you can also start to repair your relationships with your family, friends, and others who have been affected by your anger issues.
Participating in anger management also shows your loved ones that you’re prioritizing both your mental and emotional health in your recovery.
What to Expect from Anger Management
If you are feeling hesitant about doing anger management training during your addiction recovery, remember that there are plenty of good reasons to participate and lots to take away from it.
Every anger management program is different, but some experiences among them are similar. During your participation, you can likely expect to:
- talk about your past experiences
- work on identifying your personal triggers
- learn mindful, healthy ways to respond to your triggers
- share your feelings in either a one-on-one or group setting
- learn problem-solving skills and tips to handle things in a more productive way
- cover other communication techniques and effective ways of addressing your anger
After anger management, you’ll find that you’re more patient and have an easier time dealing with frustrating situations. It’s a long road, and you’ll have to practice, but you will see improvements if you focus on the program.
Get Help Today
Anger management can be very beneficial to individuals struggling with addiction.
If you struggle with anger issues and also need help getting sober, finding a recovery program that includes anger management is crucial.
Do you need help finding a recovery program near you that fits your needs? If so, contact Addiction Treatment Services today.
We have compassionate, caring admissions specialists available at all times to help you take the steps you need to move forward toward recovery.
Advanced Solutions International, Inc. (n.d.). Anger in the Families. Retrieved from https://www.aamft.org/Consumer_Updates/Effect_of_Anger_on_Families.aspx
Graham, J. (2017, July 19). Why is everyone so angry, and how can we change that? Retrieved from https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865685019/Why-is-everyone-so-angry-and-how-can-we-change-that.html
Shorey, R. C., McNulty, J. K., Moore, T. M., & Stuart, G. L. (2017, March). Trait Anger and Partner-Specific Anger Management Moderate the Temporal Association Between Alcohol Use and Dating Violence. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28317513