managing anger in addiction recovery

Managing Anger in Addiction Recovery

It is often the case that people have mental health disorders that are concurrent with addiction problems.  Often addiction occurs as a result of self-medicating through the use of drugs or alcohol.  It follows, therefore, that to achieve and maintain sobriety any treatment must take a holistic approach to the person and address their physical, emotional and mental health.

Anger is not necessarily a negative emotion nor it is an abnormal response to certain situations.  However, it can be the case that anger is not appropriate and can cause additional problems, leaving a person vulnerable to dangerous situations.  Sometimes those suffering from addiction problems experience anger for no apparent reason.  Infrequent minor episodes are not cause for concern but the out of control expression of anger can indicate deep-seated emotional issues or a mental health disorder such as bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder and others.

Drugs will not help with anger management; in reality, they often cause issues with anger.  Drugs or alcohol can provide short term, temporary relief because often they tend to make the user feel euphoric, calm or relaxed.  However, in time the user will become more tolerant of the substance and require more and more to get the same effects, eventually becoming dependent or addicted.  This is why managing anger in addiction recovery is important.

For some people the drugs or alcohol cause them to become disinhibited and they are unable to control their anger or frustrations.  Combined with substance abuse the brain can rewire itself, the behavior become the norm and this compounds the problem.

Some of the reasons why a person can struggle to control or manage anger include:

  • Past trauma – if traumas are not dealt with they can cause problems with managing emotion. If the individual decides to ignore the trauma it can later be expressed as anger.
  • Family history: People who are exposed to family members who express anger inappropriately may also learn to express themselves in the same way.
  • Self-blame: If a person is angry at themselves they can turn this outward towards others, they may even blame other people for the feelings.
  • Addiction: Addiction can lower a person’s ability to cope with life and deal with their emotions.
  • If someone is prone to angry outbursts or erratic behavior it may be an indication that they are abusing drugs.

Addiction Recovery:  Learning to Manage Anger Effectively

Part of any substance additional program is to help people develop coping mechanisms and managing anger is part of this.

Here are 4 positive ways to cope with anger:

  1. Breathe: Take a few deep breaths, stay calm and evaluate your feelings.  Try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view.  This will probably affect the way you react.
  2. Work on communication skills: Take advantage of any communication skills development that may be on offer as part of a rehab program.  This will help you become a more effective communicator which can reduce the amount of anger in the situation.
  3. Developing coping mechanisms: Try to find other ways to release your anger, perhaps taking up a sport, going to the gym or any activity where you can release tension and positively express yourself.
  4. Identify toxic people and situations: If you can develop an awareness of what triggers your anger you can take steps to avoid them.

Take control of your health and mental well being

At The Last House we can help you take back control by empowering you to work through some of your feelings with trained counselors while participating in a rehab program.  We can work with you to help you to develop new techniques, not just to manage your anger, but to improve and develop life skills, communication and enhance your overall quality of life.

Mental health is the key to recovery in substance abuse and addiction.  The Last House looks at each client holistically, making sure that any mental health issue is diagnosed and treated at the same time as the person moves towards sobriety.  Contact Us now to find out more about our ongoing treatment programs.