Canadian writer Laurence Peter has coined the phrase “speak when you are angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” Being angry is the worst. We’ve all been through the agony of feeling pent up and it’s certainly not easy. Managing anger can be especially troublesome if your anger is violent and intense. It’s common that substance abuse is used as a form of anger management for people who simply cannot get a hold of their mental health issues.
We want to offer some advice to improve anger management habits. This will provide you with an opportunity to guide yourself or a loved one away from substance abuse. The last thing we want is for drug abuse to turn into drug addiction, and these helpful tips allow for healthy anger management.
Anger Issues vs. Anger Disorders
Before we delve into our top tips, we want to make sure we talk about the difference between anger issues and actual anger disorders. While it is not the most fun to have occasional bouts of anger or events that make you upset, there is a difference between that and having an actual anger disorder. Some common anger disorders that can lead to drug abuse are bipolar disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, antisocial personality disorder and even obsessive-compulsive disorder. All of these disorders cause an anger that is not always controllable and very hard to stop without outside help.
With a mental illness as severe as an anger disorder, it is common that substance abuse will be used as a way to calm the person down. Anger disorders are hard to control and drugs that calm you down are right there to be a safety net when things spiral out of control. It makes perfect sense to want to use drugs because they distract us from reality. It’s not, however, a sustainable or healthy habit to turn to substance abuse as a form of anger management.
Drugs to Manage Anger
It is common for people with anger management issues to turn to drugs with a depressive or calming effect. This could be alcohol, Marijuana, Xanax and even Heroin. Each of these drugs provides a way to escape the feeling of anger by changing the mood and sedating the body.
Oddly enough, most of these drugs can also cause more anger issues. Because they are highly addictive, being without a drug that the body is dependent on is a quick and easy way to make someone with an anger disorder have a complete breakdown.
Another hard idea to cope with is that sometimes, anger can be so severe that substance abuse does not even work. This can cause people to use too much of a drug or even hurt someone else or themselves. That is why these tips are very important.
Have a Mantra Ready
The first thing that we recommend to anyone who struggles with their anger management is to have a mantra. Repetition is amazing for the mental health, and if you have a simple phrase that you can repeat to yourself, it will calm you down a lot in times of uncontrollable anger.
If you’re stressed or worried and feel that it will turn into anger soon, use a mantra instead of looking to abuse drugs. This could be something like “ I am grounded” or “I am going to feel okay” or maybe even “Drugs or alcohol will not help me feel better.” Repeat this thought in your head, write it down many times and even say it out loud. This repetition is a great tool when understanding the anger and working to calm that anger down.
Another healthy habit to try instead of drug abuse is making lists. List what makes you happy and list what angers you. List the people in your support system and list the things that make you feel calm. These lists can be helpful reminders of people and things that can make you feel less angry instead of substance abuse.
There are many types of therapy during addiction treatment that use lists and writing because they also just get feelings onto paper. Pent-up feelings and anxiety is a huge reason why outbursts of anger happen and if you can get them out of your system by listing them, you avoid a lot of bad habits.
Get Up and Move
They will tell you this at addiction centers and pretty much anywhere else you look for guidance on how to manage feelings of anger. Exercise is extremely helpful. If you know someone who struggles with an anger disorder or you yourself do, the best advice we can give you is to get up and move.
There are many types of exercise that are great for letting out aggression. Try kickboxing, Zumba or even simply running at a fast pace to get your blood moving. If you’d like a more calm approach to deal with anger, try yoga. Yoga promotes a focus on the breath and similar to how mantras help calm us down, repetition of deep breathing does too. Many addiction centers use yoga to help ease the stress and anger of patients who struggle with anger management.
Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment
If substance abuse has been your go-to method to calm down outbursts of anger, dual diagnosis addiction treatment is a great choice. It’s a treatment approach that truly helps with understanding anger and forming better habits to control it.
Dual diagnosis is similar to lots of other inpatient rehab methods, it just focusses more directly on the relationship between mental illness and addiction. It acknowledges co-occurring disorders and helps you answer a lot of questions about why you feel the need to abuse drugs. You’ll be able to learn why outbreaks happen and it will help you to cope with them in a more healthy way.
There is a medical detox from the drugs or alcohol, followed by group therapy and individual therapy. There is the opportunity to learn more activities that will hopefully turn into hobbies and create new relationships for patients.
Being at Peace With Your Anger Issues
We hope that you can find peace and understanding with your anger issues through the use of our tips. Addiction recovery is a great step in the right direction, but writing down thoughts and using a self-made mantra are great ways to calm yourself down. Drug abuse is never a sustainable way to make the anger go away and if professional help is needed, we are here to support you in your mental health journey.
The important thing to remember about anger and addiction is that even if you go to rehab, anger disorders are a mental health issue that sticks around forever. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s part of who you are. But, you will need to make sure that you have long lasting ways to suppress the urge to use drugs and alcohol. Addiction may come to an end, but an anger disorder is not always easy to kick out of your life. These tips will provide you with some comfort with this.