Anger is a normal human emotion. In itself, anger is not a problem unless it is expressed in harmful ways. Anger can create trouble in relationships, work, health, day-to-day living or with the law. Psychologists can help you understand anger and learn better ways to handle and express it.
Anger is an emotion that can range from mild annoyance to intense rage. It is accompanied by physical changes. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up when you are angry, as do levels of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline.
When people feel angry, they often display angry behaviour. This might include yelling, throwing things, criticising, ignoring, storming out or refusing to do something.
Anger is not the same as violence, but anger can lead to violence if not properly controlled. Some people use anger as an excuse for abuse. Violence and abusive behaviour is geared toward having power and control over another person by creating fear.
Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats. It allows us to fight and defend ourselves when we are attacked.
Anger becomes a problem when it creates trouble for you with other people, your work, your health, day-to-day living, or the law. Anger is also a problem when other people around you are frightened, hurt or feel they cannot talk to you in case you become angry.
Some signs that anger is a problem include:
- your anger involves verbal, emotional, physical or psychological abuse
- you feel angry a lot of the time
- people close to you are worried about your anger
- your anger is leading to problems with personal relationships and work
- you think you have to get angry to get what you want
- your anger seems to get bigger than the event that triggered it off
- your anger lasts for a long time, and well after the triggering event has passed
- your anger affects other situations not related to the original event
- you are becoming anxious or depressed about your anger
- you are using alcohol or other drugs to try to manage your anger
- you are getting angry with the people closest to you, or with people less powerful than you, rather than dealing with what sparked your anger in the first place.
Ref* The Australian Psychological Society