Everyone gets angry at some point. It’s a natural reaction to frustration, stress, and real or perceived threats or injustice, among other things. Anger can be healthy. It gives us the energy we need to make necessary changes in our lives. Perhaps most importantly, anger can be a signal that something needs to be addressed.
However, for some people, anger becomes all-consuming and can be harmful to both the person experiencing it as well as the people around them, particularly if it’s displaced anger. It would be troublesome to have an angry outburst toward the wrong person. If you feel like you’re constantly asking yourself, “why am I so angry?” or “why do I get angry so easily?” then you may have an underlying problem. The cause of your anger might stem from things other than the common culprits that elicit anger in each of us from time to time. If left unchecked or suppressed, the angry feelings might suddenly blow up and turn to uncontrolled anger.
That’s why it’s so important to recognize anger when you experience it so you can understand the triggers or causes. Left unchecked, anger can lead to serious health issues or even destroy relationships.
Read on to go deeper and answer questions like “why am I so angry all the time?”
What Causes Anger Issues?
First, if you feel like you’re constantly wondering what’s gotten you so riled up, know that you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation, 32% of people say they know a close friend or family member who has trouble controlling their anger, and 28% of people say they worry about how angry they sometimes feel themselves.
Many things can lead to different types of anger. Some more common reasons might include:
- Being treated unfairly
- Feeling threatened
- Not being respected
- Stressful daily issues, such as being stuck in traffic or paying bills
Admittedly, we live in a society where many important things are out of our control. For many of us, this can lead to frustration and, ultimately, anger. However, it’s important to recognize your anger and take note of what’s causing your feelings. Then, you can take steps to mitigate it before you lash out at someone or something.
“Not having control over situations throughout your life can create a sense of frustration or anger. Identifying these situations can help you reduce the anger and live a happier life.”
Being quick to feel anger is a common problem that might leave you wondering, “why do I get angry so quickly?” This question leads us to a discussion of triggers.
Many things can trigger anger. However, what triggers it in one person may not have the same effect on someone else. A lot of what determines an anger trigger can depend on someone’s past experiences, especially those from childhood.
Some of the more common anger triggers for many people include:
- Physical threats
- Lack of control
- Relationship issues
- Abusive language
- Violation of your personal space
If you’re wondering “why do I get angry so easily” it’s a good idea to look at these triggers and see which ones might apply to you.
Can an Anger Problem Be Diagnosed?
While anger itself isn’t a mental health condition, there are plenty of diagnoses that feature anger as a core symptom. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) lists 5 mental health conditions that include anger as one of their core symptoms.
- Intermittent explosive disorder (IED)
- Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD)
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Bipolar disorder
“An anger problem can be diagnosed with the help of a mental health professional who can offer you different tools and resources to heal. Looking for help may be a difficult step, but it can be the beginning of something better.”
What Happens if Anger is Left Untreated?
Once you know the underlying issue, it’s necessary to learn how to release anger in healthy ways. Left untreated, unresolved anger can have serious consequences, not only on your relationships but also on your physical health. Anger causes the body to release “fight-or-flight” hormones, which cause stress and over time might lead to chronic health issues like heart disease, depression, compromised immunity, and obesity.
Chronic anger can also be extremely damaging to relationships like marriages, work relationships, friendships, and day-to-day interaction with others. After all, no one enjoys being yelled at or finding themselves the target of undeserved anger and explosive outbursts. The result can also be very isolating for the person experiencing the anger as well. With that said, it’s important to seek professional help and consider enrolling in anger management classes.
“Untreated anger can be detrimental to the person experiencing it and those around them. It can lead to more severe problems such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Therapy can help alleviate these symptoms.”
What Can I Do?
Much of the time, managing anger on your own is possible, as long as you have the right tools in place. Generally speaking, several calming techniques can be very effective in keeping your anger in check before it gets out of control. You can try any of the following at home to help you navigate and diffuse your anger in a healthy manner.
- Use problem-solving skills: Often, our anger is the result of a problem that gets the best of us. If it’s something you can address and change, you might find that your anger dissipates more easily. For example, if you know that certain things tend to trigger you, have a plan ready to enact the next time you’re faced with a challenging situation.
- Take a break: It’s amazing how much a simple timeout can do. Walk away, count to 10, or ask for a break if you feel rage bubbling up and you know that your anger is about to take over. There’s no shame in recognizing when you’re at a breaking point, and taking the time you need to calm down and get your emotions back under control is actually a huge sign of growth if you struggle with anger.
- Focus on communicating: Communication skills are something that more people than not find challenging. When you learn how to communicate effectively, you can lessen the chance that you’re misunderstood by others, which can lead to confrontation and spark anger.
- Use cognitive restructuring: Cognitive restructuring is a step-by-step therapeutic process that teaches you how to change negative thought processes into more positive ones. It can be particularly effective in dealing with angry emotions because altering your anger response is critical in managing how angry you allow yourself to become. A therapist can help you learn cognitive restructuring techniques that you can implement on your own as needed.
- Relaxation strategies: Deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditating, and working out are all great ways to channel your energy and distract you from your anger.
Keep in mind, though, that if your anger is to the point that you feel you can no longer manage it in a healthy way, or if it’s affecting your work, relationships, or quality of life, getting professional help is essential.
Seeking Professional Help to Manage Anger
If you’re wondering, “why do I feel angry all the time?” it may be time to seek the help of a mental health professional and seek anger therapy. Therapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can help you identify anger triggers so you can manage or diffuse your anger response. Therapy can also teach you skills to redirect your anger, channeling it through healthier outlets like journaling for mental health or getting involved in social activism. These tools can help you become productive with your emotions, rather than lashing out at the people around you.
To find a therapist who has experience in anger management, speak with your primary care physician for a recommendation or do some research.
Your doctor might recommend online therapy, which can be an easy and accessible way to start talking with a mental health professional. Talkspace is an online therapy platform that makes therapy convenient, accessible, and affordable. With a Talkspace therapist, you can learn effective techniques to answer common questions and overcome anger issues.
1. Why am I so angry?. Nhsinform.scot. https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/mental-wellbeing/anger-management/why-am-i-so-angry. Published 2021. Accessed July 2, 2022.
2. Latest APA survey reveals deepening concerns about connection between chronic disease and stress. https://www.apa.org. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/01/chronic-disease. Published 2012. Accessed July 2, 2022.