The Connection Between Anger And Addiction
Research shows that there is a link between components of anger and addiction development risks. People who enter addiction treatment centers often have unresolved anger. The anger may come from family situations, romantic relationships, jobs, friendships, or situations in life that may or may not be controllable.
Environments that foster sources of anger can be especially unhealthy when people are exposed to them continually. It is important to identify and treat the underlying issues relating to anger since they can fuel addiction. Also, it is important to understand how anger negatively affects mental health.
Why Anger Affects Mental Health
When people express anger appropriately, it can be healthy. However, many people make the mistake of letting anger bottle up inside them. They may also express it in unhealthy ways. Some of the long-term effects of anger that remains uncontrolled include:
- High blood pressure
- Increased anxiety
High blood pressure can increase the risk of stroke and other serious physical problems. Headaches can affect sleep, and a lack of sleep can lead to mental health decline. Also, increased anxiety can worsen other mental health issues. Anxiety can also have physical effects, such as GI problems, breathing problems, and constipation. It can also reduce libido and lead to chronic fatigue.
How Anger Leads To Addiction
When people do not know how to express their anger or identify it, they may channel it in unhealthy ways. Some people have anger outbursts that may include verbal or physical abuse to others. People often turn to things that distract them from their anger, and addiction is a common attempt at escape. For example, a healthy way to express and release anger may be running for some people. If someone turns to a substance instead when mental health issues start to develop, the effects can worsen the anger and lead to new problems.
The reason why anger and addiction are so dangerous is because of how substance misuse affects the brain. Addiction is considered a brain disease, and it is a chronic and relapsing one. When a person uses a substance with a high risk of dependence, it alters how the brain receives and sends signals.
This leads to a lack of judgment and poorer decisions, which often relate to seeking or obtaining more of the substance. If a person also has unresolved anger, behavior changes can lead to violence, rage, and other problems. For example, someone who is angry and misusing a substance may destroy someone else’s property and wind up facing serious legal problems.
Ways To Deal With Anger
If anger feels uncontrollable, it is important to seek help. Anger management therapy is a common way to identify reasons for anger and make healthy changes. In anger management therapy, people learn how to cope with problems in life that they cannot avoid. They learn how to change situations that they can control and how to express their anger in healthy ways.
Professionals may also recommend writing therapy, talk therapy, music therapy, and other ways to help people express themselves and their emotions. Relaxation techniques and exercise also help. There are plenty of ways to express anger more healthily, and professionals help people find the solutions that suit their preferences and abilities. The solutions also promote better overall mental and physical health.
Treating Anger And Addiction Together
When people enter addiction treatment centers, they often receive a comprehensive evaluation of their mental health. This is important to identify any issues that may co-occur with addiction. For example, someone with years of unresolved anger may develop depression. The negative effects of depression may lead the person to use illegal drugs.
If the depression and anger remain untreated, and the individual only stops using a substance, there is a higher risk of relapse. This is because of the symptoms of depression from the repressed anger return. They may lead a person to continue using a substance. With anger management therapy, addiction rehab, and treatment for any co-occurring mental health issues, the chances of staying in recovery are higher.
Finding Anger Management and Addiction Treatment in Pennsylvania
Our Lake Ariel facility provides a range of mental health and addiction treatment services. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and anger, or with any other mental health issues, Little Creek Recovery can help.
We believe in treating the whole person, including mind, body, and spirit. Our professionals provide compassionate support and teach people how to identify behaviors or triggers and modify them. They also teach them the strategies to break the cycle of addiction. Please contact us to learn more