Anger Issues: Causes, Effects, and Solutions
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Anger Issues: Causes, Effects, and Solutions





Anger is an often misunderstood emotion. People often consider anger to be a “bad” emotion, or one that is unnecessary. This belief, though, contributes to people having issues controlling their anger or using their anger for good.


That is because it insists we suppress an emotion instead of accepting it and letting it go. Anger suppression or denial is contributing to the presence of “anger issues” or irrational and extreme anger.


Anger can lead to problems, but it can also lead to solutions.


Read below to better understand what anger issues are, how they come about, and what to do about them.




Table of Contents




What does it mean to have Anger Issues? 


“Anger Issues” or one having “anger” are terms used to describe a persistent and chronic problem with emotional regulation. More specifically, one may not be able to regulate (or control) themselves enough. This inability to regulate can lead one into explosive outbursts, compulsive behaviors, and angry episodes.


Anger is a perfectly normal emotion that everyone should be allowed to feel at appropriate times. The problem arises when people regularly express themselves through anger when they should be expressing other emotions (such as sadness, fear, joy, or embarrassment). When one funnels many emotions through the emotion of anger, the person is angry much more frequently than is healthy.


Thus, is someone has anger issues, it means that they have underlying mental or emotional problems that they are not able to healthily cope with or process. Instead, they get angry about them, and do so frequently.


The American Psychological Association states that anger can be a good thing, but long-term, excessive anger is problematic. There is not enough data to conclude that there are different types of anger.



Signs of anger issues?

  • Having a short temper
  • Being judgmental or insulting
  • Having rage (including road rage)
  • Being frequently irritated
  • Using harsh and aggressive language at inappropriate times
  • Being demanding or threatening
  • Using looks, actions, or gestures to intimidate.
  • Smashing things, destroying property, using or displaying weapons
  • Using power or control over others



What are the causes of someone’s anger issues?


The causes of one’s anger include many factors, will vary from person to person. For some, it is from unresolved issues in their past such as childhood trauma, growing up in a violent home, severe bullying or harassment, or a developmental delay where part of their psyche is still responding to a person or event in their past.


For others, feelings of anger may be a result of an environment that they are currently in. Perhaps one’s work environment is leading to excessive anger. If a person is spending a majority of their life in an environment that encourages anger, or is hostile, then the person may adopt those angering behaviors.



To understand the causes, one should also look at their home life. Are they living with an angry or extremely difficult family member? Is their home environment full of the same anger they notice in themselves?


Is a major family or personal crisis taking place, like a recently discovered affair or potential divorce? All of these can lead one to develop anger control problems.



Common causes of anger issues:


Mental and emotional health is also a potential causes of someone’s anger. For example, people with compulsivity, ADHD, Autism, or Bipolar disorder will frequently have angry outbursts. This is due to their inability to regulate and sooth themselves in times of distress.


Drug and Alcohol addiction may also be a contributing factor. Frequent use of amphetamines, for example, makes self-regulation and mood stabilization incredibly difficult. Alcohol intoxication prevents the normal inhibitions and social regulations that would otherwise take place. If one has an extensive history of addiction, even if they are sober, the anger issues may be lasting effects of the addictive behavior. In this case, addiction treatment is important to incorporate.


Uncontrolled anxiety and fear can also cause anger issues. When people are anxious, they are dysregulated. If they are unable to process their anxiety and fear in a healthy way, to experience excessively high levels of anxiety and fear, they may become angry as a way to control the things that are leading them to be afraid or anxious.


There are many other potential causes of one’s anger. Thus, it is important to have a detailed understanding of your own emotional health and what may be underlying your anger issues.



Why do I get so angry so easily?


The answer essentially boils down to an inability to regulate and poor boundaries. When something stressful happens, two things have to take place in order to prevent us from losing our cool.


First, we have to be able to stay calm and present, and tolerate whatever emotions we may experience in the stressful moment. Second, we must be able to feel safe and appropriately distanced from the source of stress. If either one of those is missing, we are likely to get angry quickly.


For example, if you are driving in a car and someone cuts you off, you may momentarily feel stress. If you are able to notice the emotions that come while still staying calm and cool on the road, you will probably not be angry.


You may not like that you got cut off, but you may assume the person made a mistake or just not be bothered much. If you also knew that, even though you were cut off, that you were making the adjustments necessary to keep you safe, then again you will probably be regulated.


However, if you took the cut-off as a personal attack, you may lash out at the other driver. If the other drivers actions made you genuinely feel afraid, you may also react angrily as a instinctive reaction.


If when you were cut off you feared for your children in the car, and then briefly thought about how you would be impacted if they died, and then got terrified that your children may die, then it is highly unlikely that you will be able to stay regulated and, thus, will react intensely.


Everyone is allowed to get angry. Those that get angry quickly tend to also have difficulty feeling



Is there a mental disorder for anger?


There is not a mental disorder that is specific to anger. However, extreme and/or chronic anger can be symptoms of multiple mental illnesses.


For example, a symptom of Bipolar Disorder can be intense bouts of intense anger. Borderline Personality Disorder may feature chronic anger and rage. People with Depression or Anxiety may also experience chronic irritability.


The presence of anger is itself not a disorder. Instead, it can serve as one indication of a mental illness that may otherwise be unknown.




Why do guys have anger issues?


Whether men feel anger more frequently, or whether anger is more of an issue for men than women is debatable. However, for the purposes of this question, we will just focus on anger in men.


One thing to consider is a larger cultural attitude of acceptance of men’s anger. Young boys are often discouraged from expressing emotions like sadness, fear, shame, or in some cases joy.


Anger, however, does not get the same reaction. Boys are not called “wimp” or “sissy” for expressing anger. In fact, in some instances, they are celebrated (for example, on the sports field). When these boys grow up to be men, they then get criticized for being too closed off and are told to “express your feelings”.


Notice in most any movie featuring a male lead that that male is usually only expressing just a few emotions, with anger being one of them. This is particularly true if the movie is not a comedy.


So, as men are culturally discouraged from expressing the full range of normal emotions, they filter a lot of their emotions through anger (as one of the few acceptable options).


Some people argue a hormonal influence as well, saying that the presence of large amounts of testosterone may lead men to be more susceptible to anger issues.


One interesting thing to note is that the men most likely to have anger issues are not those one may stereotypically imagine. Big muscular men, or hyper-masculine men are not statistically the ones most likely to have issues with rage and violence. Instead, men that are less masculine in appearance are more likely to be aggressive.


Can women have anger issues

Are anger issues genetic?


There currently is some evidence that anger and violence has a genetic factor, to a degree.


There is also some evidence to suggest that both genetics and family environment together serve as a possible cause of anger issues in adulthood.


However, it is widely believed that “nurture” plays more of a role in anger and violence than “nature”.


Family environment, and specifically things like family instability, seemed to have a direct correlation to adolescent anger. Divorce and family disruption also seems to have lasting effects on children’s emotional health and increases their propensity to struggle with anger issues.


Also, when people survive extreme violence, such as a war, they are also more likely to experience anger issues far after returning home.



How do I stop being so angry?


Anger and reactivity are best controlled through daily practice and psychological healing.


Some of the most effective daily practices that help people gain greater control over their anger and reactivity include meditation, yoga, physical exercise, and other calming/grounding or physically active practices. If you struggle with anger, your brain is structurally and functionally working against you. However, due to some groundbreaking discoveries in the world of neuroplasticity, we also now know the brain is changeable.


Practicing a daily habit designed at helping you stay calm, focus, ground yourself, and maintain a sense of “cool” under stress, helps you train your brain to function in a more desired way. Much of this boils down to tolerating discomfort. Those that can tolerate discomfit well, are far less likely to get upset unnecessarily.


Also, people frequently benefit from therapy specifically designed to discovering underlying causes of anger. Lingering effects from a previously traumatic event, childhood trauma or family life issues, unresolved grief, or low self-esteem are all common catalysts to anger issues. When a mental health issue is treated, people are able to resolve the core causes of recurring and irrational anger.



Do I need anger management classes?


It’s important to understand that anger management classes are not a punishment, but a potential tool for managing your anger. For some, they are the best thing they could do for themselves. For others, they benefit more from individual therapy or frequent exercise (or both).


Anger management classes are a helpful way to develop some insight about your anger and learn helpful skills and tools. Also, being in a supportive and judgement-free environment with others who understand what you are going through is helpful and therapeutic in itself.


If you believe that your anger is causing problems in your life, relationships, or career, you should consider attending an anger management class. The worst that would happen is you waste a couple hours of your life. However, for many, those classes have helped.


If you find yourself required to attend anger management classes due to a legal case, then you should follow the recommendations of your attorney.


If you are seeking mental health professionals that treat mental health problems related to anger, contact us directly. And then, take a deep breath.



Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. We publish quality material for your own education. Our publications are researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.



Written and reviewed by

Dr Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, ACS, LMFT

Dr. Kyle Zrenchik is the Co-Founder of ALL IN, the Creator of the Couples Erotic Flow model for treating sexual issues in individuals and couples, Designer of the Deep Dive programs at ALL IN, and is one of the most well-respected couples counselors in the Twin Cities.

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