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Can CBT help with Anger?

When is anger a problem?

Anger can be useful in giving us a warning that we need to be alert or solve a problem to protect ourselves or make necessary changes in our lives. At other times, it can be less helpful. While we all get irritated and annoyed from time to time, for some of us, the pathway to uncontrollable and inappropriate anger is well travelled. Not everyone with anger issues experiences an uncontrollable temper. Sometimes it might be experienced as persistent irritation and this can be just as much of an issue for your mental and physical health.

If you have an uncontrollable temper, it may feel like there’s nothing you can do – like it just a part of who you are. But this is not true. You can learn to control your anger. It takes time and commitment and often requires professional help, but the results of learning to manage this can be life changing.

What are the symptoms of Anger?

  • faster heartbeat
  • muscle tensing
  • tightness in your chest
  • feeling hot
  • feeling nervous
  • being unable to relax
  • feeling easily irritated
  • resenting other people
  • shouting
  • ignoring people
  • physical aggression
  • breaking things
  • self-harming

When do I need help?

If you experience any of the following, it may be a sign that you need some support with anger:

  • feeling frustrated and annoyed on a daily basis
  • something that seems small or that doesn’t upset others can send you into a rage
  • avoiding certain people or places because you can’t control your anger around them
  • your anger has gotten you into trouble at work or caused problems in your relationships

Or you may be experiencing these kinds of problems:

  • a tendency to avoid conflict or other people when you feel too emotional
  • suffering muscle tension, insomnia, nervous habits such as lip-biting
  • feeling the need to be in control
  • hiding behind sarcasm or apathy

Should I get help?

If your feelings of anger are daily impacting on your life or on those around you, you may need to seek help to address how you are managing your temper. Anger issues have been shown to cause or increase mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

They can also impact our physical health. Conditions such as headaches, high blood pressure, eczema, stroke, and back pain, can be detrimentally impacted by anger. This highlights the real need to seek help when we find our anger to be persistently out of control.

What treatments can help?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) may help you to identify the triggers and pattern of thinking and behaviour that may be keeping unhelpful anger going and inform how to make change. The aim is to be aware of what spikes anger, and to learn to manage its impact on you and others in your life.

How can a qualified therapist help me?

A qualified therapist will work with you to help you improve how you feel. You will build a relationship together, which will allow you to share your feelings in an open and collaborative way, and work out together what patterns are causing you problems. Our therapists are experienced in treating anger problems and can help you manage any difficulties you may be experiencing.

Would you like to know more about how CBT can help you? Our consultant psychologist, Dr Sian Thrasher, offers a free 15-minute telephone consultation specifically for you to discuss CBT and treatment options.

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