Anger Management And Substance Abuse

Anger is a natural emotion but problems arise when people lose control, and let the emotion control them instead. This can often lead to depression, anxiety and abuse. Anger issues have always been a concern for drug addicts and abuse victims. Thankfully, proper therapy and treatment can alleviate these issues. However, if anger isn’t managed, it can lead to health problems including headaches, digestive issues, sleeplessness and heart diseases.

Anger Issues and Substance Abuse

People that are angrier may often turn to abuse in order to cope and find a way out of the negative feelings and situations that they experience. These people start drinking more or begin using various substances so as to control their emotions and find relief. Studies have shown that those ages 17-22 who deal with anger issues are more likely to drink and experience alcohol abuse issues as well. People who deal with anger management problems also feel as if substances such as drugs can help to cope with the anger they feel. Unfortunately, substance abuse only increases anxiety and depression. Thankfully, drug rehab programs exist to help deal with substance abuse. Anger management therapy is often an essential part of these recovery programs.

Signs of an Anger Disorder

Anger disorders can be diagnosed if any of the following signs or symptoms are spotted. Please note that if you’re only experiencing one or two of these symptoms, then you may not be suffering from an anger disorder. Talk to a professional recovery specialist, and they’ll suggest if you should avail anger management therapy.

Emotional symptoms

Certain emotional signs show that you aren’t dealing with anger related issues in a healthy or positive manner. This includes continuous irritability, anxiety and rage. If you feel too overwhelmed or can’t organize your thoughts, it means that you’re probably experiencing an anger related disorder. Before all these feelings get the better of you, you should reach out for professional help. Talk to a therapist, and they’ll guide you more about anger management therapy that are effective when recovering from addiction and abuse.

Physical signs

When your emotions are strong, your body does undergo certain changes that affect your health and well-being. These include higher blood pressure, a tightening feeling in the chest, heart palpitations, constant head aches and fatigue.

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How Does Anger Management Therapy Work?

Anger management therapy involves the use of proven tools and techniques, including the following below.

Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring, a core element of the cognitive behavioral therapy, helps a client recognize thought patterns that indicate harmful or abusive thinking under stressful situations. These techniques involve changing these thoughts, and coming up with newer and healthier ways to think. This encourages clients to develop a personality that can deal with withdrawal symptoms more effectively, to recover sooner.

The ABC Technique

The ABC technique is a common anger management therapy representing three elements.

  • A – A represents the activating event, which is another term for the stressful situation or source that forces the client to turn towards abuse.
  • B – B denotes beliefs, another word for the manner in which the client perceives a certain situation.
  • C – C signifies consequence, the outcome or the end result of a person’s beliefs. A client suffering from substance may often form distorted perceptions that are away from reality.

The primary focus of the ABC technique is to help a client understand how their thoughts, opinions and beliefs worsen the situation that they are in.

Thought Awareness

Thought awareness is a technique that teaches a client to observe their own thoughts. Unlike other techniques, the focus isn’t to suppress one’s thoughts and feelings, but is to keep a close tab on them. This will help identify triggering events that cause thoughts to turn negative. Finding these triggering events will help clients identify recurrent patterns that develop negative thinking or increase their stress levels. This will help find other proper methodologies that can help a client.

Rational Thinking

Rational thinking is a process that evaluates the negative thought identified through the thought awareness methodology. Clients examine their own thoughts, and determine whether or not they are rational. Sometimes, these thoughts are found to not link to reality and should be eliminated by thinking more about the positive and joyous things in life.

Controlled Breathing

Breathing techniques have a wide array of effects on a person’s thinking, behavior and lifestyle. Breathing influences blood pressure, levels of stress-related hormones in the body, functioning in the immune system, and other aspects. For instance, if you feel greater stress, your body automatically enters a state of heightened reactivity that forces your breathing to be shallow. Breathing through proper techniques helps people stay calm, regardless of how stressful the situation is.


Meditation is a practice that help to quiet the mind. This technique enables clients to remain calm and focused even when stress levels are higher. Consequently, the client finds relief from depression, anxiety, insomnia and other emotional issues which arise on the path towards recovery and sobriety.

Meditation comprises of multiple methods with varying effectiveness levels and degrees of suitability. These methods are either utilized individually or practiced within a group.

Conflict management

Conflicts are a natural part of relationships, often leading to anger related disorders. Conflicts can be dealt with in numerous ways but the best resolutions are those where it is a win-win for all involved. When incorporated into an anger management therapy and recovery plan, conflict management techniques teach clients to neutralize situations in a healthy manner that helps them maintain sobriety.

Anger Management Therapy and Addiction Treatment

Anger management therapy allows clients to express their emotions positively, which improves physical and mental health. Many clients who come into rehab are dealing with dual diagnosis disorders. These dual diagnosis disorder often include these anger issues. Relaxation techniques, holistic therapy, and even communication skills are important elements so that the anger can be expressed openly and vented out rather than build up inside a person.

Consequently, clients can adapt to a healthier and sober lifestyle with a much greater degree of control over their anger and addiction.

Paying for Anger Management Therapy

You can rest assured that there are ways to pay for your anger management therapy so that you can get the assistance you or your loved one need. Insurance is one way to pay for this treatment. Insurance can often be through a private company or through your employer.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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