The term anger management
commonly refers to a system
of psychological therapeutic
techniques and exercises by
which someone with
excessive or uncontrollable
anger can control or reduce
the triggers, degrees, and
effects of an angered
Stress has been found to
have a direct correlation to
unmanaged anger and
aggression. Stress is a
stepping-stone to anger.
Stress management is often
overlooked as a component
of the anger management
Controlling your anger is a
choice you can make. But
when it gets out of control
and turns destructive, it can
lead to problems: problems
at work, in your personal
relationships, and in the
overall quality of your life.
This means not just
controlling your outward
behavior, but also controlling
your internal responses,
taking steps to lower your
heart rate, calm yourself
down, and let the feelings
You can't get rid of, or avoid,
the things or the people that
enrage you, nor can you
change them, but you can
learn to control your
reactions. If you find yourself
acting in ways that seem out
of control and frightening, you
might need help finding
better ways to deal with this
emotion. It may take a lot of
patient questioning on your
part, and it may require some
breathing space, but don't let
your anger - or a partner's
anger - let a discussion spin
out of control.
If you simply can't express
your anger in a controlled
manner to the person who
angered you, try talking to a
family member, friend,
counselor or another trusted
Learning skills to relax and
de-stress can help control
your temper when it may flare
up. You may need to keep
something with you that
serves as a reminder to step
back from the situation and
get your anger under control.
Role-playing in controlled
situations, such as anger
management classes, can
help you practice your anger
If you are involved in a
relationship where both
partners are hot-tempered, it
might be a good idea for both
of you to learn some anger
What these techniques have
in common is a refusal to
take yourself too seriously.
With due diligence, anger
management techniques will
come more naturally.
The goal of anger
management is to reduce
both your emotional feelings
and the physiological arousal
that anger causes.
learning empathy, stress
self-talk, and improving
Logic defeats anger,
because anger, even when
it's justified, can quickly
Everyone wants certain
things, and we are all hurt
and disappointed when we
don't get them, but angry
people demand them, and
when their demands aren't
met, their disappointment
becomes anger. As part of
their cognitive restructuring,
angry people need to
become aware of their
demanding nature and
translate their expectations
Teen Anger-Management Problems--
Teen anger can be a frightening emotion, and although not inherently harmful, teen anger can lead to teen
rage and teen violence, which can soon destroy a family.
Anger management skills help teens to recognize the effects of uncontrolled anger and assist them in managing it
better. There are many different statistics out showing the effects for teen anger on everything from dating to
school to home life. Although all of the statistics focus on differing topics, they all point to one frightening
conclusion -- teen anger and violence is now, and has been for several years, a problem in our society.
Teen anger comes from underlying emotional problems such as fear or rejection or failure. The basic idea behind
teen anger management, as with any other type of anger management as well, is that if you do not control your
anger, it will control you.
Most teen management professionals agree that dealing with a teen with an anger problem should start at home.
Many parents recognize that their teen has a problem with anger management. They feel their teen needs to
develop anger management skills, or needs to find some kind of anger management counseling that will help
them get along better in life, in school, at work, with a parent, with siblings, and others. This site is to help parents
be aware of specific warning signs that may indicate if a teenager has an anger management problem more
significant than what is to normally be expected.
Symptoms of Serious Anger Problems—
· Been the victim of school bullies
· Carrying a weapon(s)
· Cruelty to animals
· Damaging property while in a fit of anger
· Failure to acknowledge the feelings of other
· Fascination with weapons
· Frequent loss of temper over small issues
· Frequent physical fighting with friends, acquaintances and family members
· Gang affiliations
· Use of drugs and/or alcohol
· Written plans for violent acts
Also, the characteristics of teens with anger management problems are included in the professional diagnosis for
“Conduct Disorder” or an “Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)”.
Though many parents may equate “adolescent anger management” with the “fight-violence-gun,” parents must
also recognize that anger may be “turned inwards” in the “flight-silence-run” mode, which can often times be as
dangerous, if not more so, than expressed anger. Most teens with anger management problems will go to either
extreme of fight or flight.
Teen “Fighters” have anger management problems that are creating an unsafe situation for themselves, for
others, or for property around them. Intervention can be through anger management counseling, an anger
management program, or a program dedicated and experienced in working with teenagers with anger
Parents should be worried if their child is physically violent: punching walls, hitting others or throwing things. This
can bring about frustration and confusion that can lead to anger and a pattern of reactive behavior for both
parents and teens. That is, teens are simply negatively reacting to their parent's behaviors, and parents react
back in an equally negative manner.
The intention is not to deny the anger, but to control that emotion and find a way to express it in a productive or at
least, a less harmful, manner. Do my emotions control me, or do I control my emotions? When a difficult teen is
out of control, they only can hear themselves and what they want.
Developmentally, there are periods of life where growth struggles bring about increased frustration (like when
you're a toddler or a teenager), because kids are trying to understand what they get to control and what they
don't get to control. While it is natural to be disappointed and frustrated with your child for losing control one
more time, he needs your support and understanding.
An important distinction to make is that we want our kids to learn to control the expression of their feelings, not the
feeling itself. Help your son learn to recognize his feelings before they get out of control. If your son's angry
outbursts continue or feel out of control, or if he is being violent toward pets or people, seek out the support of a
counselor or other professional who works with adolescents. Help them to recognize the feelings that cause the
anger and how to deal with them before they get out of control. Remember: uncontrollable fits of rage are used
by teens as threats to get their way.
Anger is a responsive emotion that we as humans basically cannot help or prevent, however some people’s anger
is so serious and out of control that it absolutely must be dealt with. Basically the emphasis here then is on
control, and on your ability to be able to manage your anger and deal with it appropriately.
Most of the anger management techniques that are used in the world today are designed specifically to achieve
calmness and relaxation, and there are some commonly used anger-control techniques that are used in this
· cognitive reframing, which involves changing the way you think and react to a situation
· humor, which involves you being able to see the humor in a situation
· redirecting your anger, which can involve anything from hitting a pillow or throwing darts
· relaxation, which involves breathing exercises, muscle relaxation and imagery
Listen to your teen and focus on feelings. There are so many factors that can contribute to these feelings. The
feelings are very real and should be addressed as soon as you see that your child is starting to run the
household. There are stressful circumstances with friends, sports, school, or home which can cause increased
feelings of anger. However, it's important to bear in mind that there are other feelings underneath that need to
be expressed and resolved.
Understand that feelings are not wrong. In our society, certain feelings are viewed as "negative" and others as
"positive.” If children get the message that there is something wrong with some of their feelings, they come to
believe that something must be wrong with them. Understanding that feelings are normal can turn our energies to
learning to express them appropriately rather than repressing them. Help your son explore acceptable ways to
express anger and other feelings.
When our children are struggling with big feelings, especially anger, very often our own feelings get stirred up. As
your son learns the things that are likely to trigger his anger (not eating enough, not getting enough sleep, having
a disappointment in school, experiencing a setback in sports), he will feel less blind-sided by his feelings. If your
son can learn to recognize that he is "on the way" towards being mad, he can make some decisions about what
he wants to do with the feeling, rather than letting the feeling overtake him.
Are you considerate of the feelings of everyone you live with, including your, sometimes, frustrating teenager?
Usually, the child knows inside that something is not right, but the complexity of their feelings give them fear and
they hesitate talking about these fears since they believe they can trust no one – especially their parents.
There are some basic steps that anyone who feels they have even a slight anger problem should follow, which
includes that of:
· avoiding people and situations that are likely to trigger your anger
· expressing your angry feelings in a measured and appropriate manner
· reducing and regulating the intensity of your anger by calming it appropriately and properly
· suppressing your angry behaviors (e.g., cussing, fighting, breaking things, etc.)
Family conflicts or other psychosocial stress may leave youth with frustration, anger, demoralization and anxious
feelings. Conversely, talking about feelings – regularly – is an important first step for parents to take in order to
avoid an escalation of domestic violence in the home.
Intermittent Explosive Disorder—
Road rage. Domestic abuse. Angry outbursts or temper tantrums that involve throwing or breaking objects.
Sometimes such erratic eruptions can be caused by a condition known as intermittent explosive disorder.
Intermittent explosive disorder is a mental disturbance that is characterized by specific episodes of violent and
aggressive behavior that may involve harm to others or destruction of property. Intermittent explosive disorder is
discussed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition (DSM-IV) under the heading
of "Impulse-Control Disorders Not Elsewhere Classified." As such, it is grouped together with kleptomania,
pyromania, and pathological gambling.
Impulsive aggression is unpremeditated, and is defined by a disproportionate reaction to any provocation, real or
perceived. Some individuals who rage have reported affective changes prior to an outburst (e.g., tension, mood
changes, energy changes, etc.).
A person must meet certain specific criteria to be diagnosed with Intermittent explosive disorder:
- The behavior cannot be accounted for by another mental disorder, substance abuse, medication side
effects, or such general medical conditions as epilepsy or head injuries.
- The degree of aggression expressed must be out of proportion to any provocation or other stressor prior to
- There must be several separate episodes of failure to restrain aggressive impulses that result in serious
assaults against others or property destruction.
Intermittent explosive disorder is frequently associated with mood and anxiety disorders, substance abuse and
eating disorders, and narcissistic, paranoid, and antisocial personality disorders. Intermittent explosive disorder
may result in job loss, school suspension, divorce, auto accidents, incarceration, etc.
Anger Management Problems—
People with intermittent explosive disorder often admit that they have an anger management problem and
describe strong impulses to act aggressively prior to the specific incidents reported to the doctor and/or the
police. They may experience racing thoughts or a heightened energy level during the aggressive episode, with
fatigue and depression developing shortly afterward. Some people who rage report various physical sensations,
including tightness in the chest, tingling sensations, tremor, hearing echoes, or a feeling of pressure inside the
Many people with anger management problems appear to have general problems with other impulsive behaviors
between explosive episodes. Some are able to control aggressive impulses without acting on them while others
act out in less destructive ways, such as screaming at someone rather than attacking them physically.
1.4 million persons in the United States currently meet the criteria for intermittent explosive disorder, with a total of
10 million meeting the lifetime criteria for the disorder. 80% of individuals diagnosed with intermittent explosive
disorder in the United States are adolescent and adult males. Women do experience intermittent explosive
disorder, however, and have reported it as part of premenstrual syndrome.
One reason researchers think that intermittent explosive disorder is more common than previously thought is that
most people who meet the criteria for the disorder do not seek help for the problems in their lives that result from
it. Researchers found that, although 88% of the 253 individuals with intermittent explosive disorder studied were
upset by the results of their explosive outbursts, only 13% had ever asked for treatment in dealing with it.
Explosive eruptions, usually lasting 10 to 20 minutes, often result in injuries and the deliberate destruction of
property. These episodes may occur in clusters or be separated by weeks or months of non-aggression.
Aggressive episodes may be preceded or accompanied by:
· Chest tightness
· Head pressure
· Hearing an echo
Most people with anger management problems grew up in families where explosive behavior and verbal and
physical abuse were common. Being exposed to this type of violence at an early age makes it more likely for
these children to exhibit these same traits as they mature. There may also be a genetic component, causing the
disorder to be passed down from parents to children.
Some scientists have reported abnormally low levels of serotonin, a neuro-transmitter that affects mood, in the
cerebrospinal fluid of some anger-prone persons, but the relationship of this finding to intermittent explosive
disorder is not clear. Similarly, some individuals with anger management problems have a medical history that
includes migraine headaches, seizures, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or developmental problems of
various types, but it is not clear that these cause intermittent explosive disorder, as most persons with migraines,
learning problems, or other neurological disorders do not develop intermittent explosive disorder.
Some scientists believe that anger management problems result from rigid beliefs and a tendency to misinterpret
other people's behavior in accordance with these beliefs. Most people with anger management problems believe
that other people are basically hostile and untrustworthy, that physical force is the only way to obtain respect from
others, and that life in general is a battlefield. Certain characteristic errors in thinking that go along with these
- Denial— The person blames others for provoking his violence while denying or minimizing his own role in
the fight or other outburst.
- Misinterpreting the motives of others— The person tends to see neutral or even friendly behavior as either
malicious or manipulative.
- Personalizing— The person interprets others' behavior as directed specifically against him.
- Selective perception— The person notices only those features of situations or interactions that fit his
negative view of the world rather than taking in all available information.
· As children, individuals may have exhibited severe temper tantrums and other behavioral problems (e.g.,
stealing, fire setting)
· Co-existing mental health problems (e.g., mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders)
· Narcissistic, obsessive, paranoid or schizoid traits
· Substance abuse
Many different types of drugs are used to help control intermittent explosive disorder and anger management
· Anti-anxiety agents in the benzodiazepine family, such as diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan) and
· Anticonvulsants, such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), gabapentin (Neurontin) and
· Antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Paxil)
· Mood regulators like lithium and propranolol (Inderal)
Some persons with anger management problems benefit from cognitive therapy in addition to medications,
particularly if they are concerned about the impact of their disorder on their education, employment, or
interpersonal relationships. Group counseling sessions, focused on rage management, also have proved helpful.
Some people have found relaxation techniques useful in neutralizing anger.