Anger Management and Addiction Treatment

Anger and substance use disorders (SUDs) commonly occur together, which can increase the risk of negative consequences like physical altercations, self-harm, and relationship problems.1 Keep reading if you suspect that you or a loved one might have a problem with anger management and addiction.

This article will help you understand the connection between anger and substance use, how anger issues can be treated alongside addiction, and what addiction and anger management therapy entails at Greenhouse Treatment Center.

The Anger and Addiction Connection

Anger can be both a symptom and a cause of substance use and addiction. People who misuse substances may experience increased anger as a result of their drug or alcohol use, but people who struggle with anger or co-occurring mental health disorders have also often experienced trauma and violence, which could instigate or worsen substance use.1

Research has shown a connection between problems with anger management and drug addiction. For example, according to one study, 40% of people who used cocaine experienced increased levels of aggression.2 Another study found that people who use substances have much higher anger scores compared to people who do not use substances.3

Neurological and biological changes that take place due to the use of certain substances may help explain why anger and substance misuse often occur together.3 For example, people who misuse alcohol and cocaine can experience increased excitability, irritability, depression, slowed thinking, and impaired concentration, which can increase the risk of anger, aggressive behaviors, self-harm, and violence.3

Additionally, people who already struggle with anger and substance use may develop problems with:3

  • Attention.
  • Information abstraction.
  • Planning.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Emotional regulation skills.

As a result, anger can result in impaired decision-making and unhealthy behavioral responses.3

Co-Occurring Disorders Involving Anger

Various psychiatric disorders involve anger and often co-occur with SUDs.4 These co-occurring disorders can include:4

  • Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). People with IED experience severe and recurrent outbursts of anger that are very disproportionate to the situation, an inability to control aggressive impulses, and poor emotional control.5
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). People with ODD experience a cluster of symptoms, such as frequent angry or irritable moods, argumentative or defiant behaviors, and vindictiveness. They may easily lose their temper, become quickly touchy or easily annoyed, argue with authority figures, deliberately annoy others, and blame other people for their behaviors.5
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). People with BPD experience a persistent pattern of instability in their moods, relationships, emotions, and self-image, display frequent impulsive behaviors, struggle with chronic emptiness, may engage in suicidal behaviors, threats, or gestures, and have difficulty controlling anger.5
  • Bipolar Disorder. Three disorders fall into the category of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I and II involve periods of alternating depressive and manic (bipolar I) or hypomanic (bipolar I or II) episodes, whereas cyclothymic disorder involves hypomanic and depressive periods that do not meet the criteria for an episode of mania, hypomania, or depression. It is important to note that many substances can trigger manic-like symptoms.5

How Are Anger and Addiction Treated?

In most cases, problems with anger management and alcohol addiction, or addiction to other substances, can and should be treated at the same time to ensure that people have the best possible chance of recovery.3

Treatment may involve medication, such as medications for co-occurring disorders or medications that may help control anger, such as certain types of antidepressants, as well as therapy.1,6

Fortunately, addiction and anger management therapy can help people overcome dysfunctional behaviors, manage their emotions, and learn healthier ways of interacting with others.3

Some of the different types of therapy for addiction treatment commonly used to treat anger include:

  • Therapy for anger management.3
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).2
  • Alcohol-adapted anger management treatment (AM).7
  • Mindfulness-based therapy.8
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).9

Therapy for Anger Management

Anger management therapy can be an important part of a treatment plan for anger and addiction. It can help people learn:3

  • How to cope with day-to-day stress.
  • Manage conflicts.
  • Handle frustrations.
  • Deal with and solve problems.

The above skills can help reduce the intensity and duration of negative feelings, help their symptoms stabilize, and help people develop healthier and more productive ways of living.3

Anger management therapy is one of several addiction therapy techniques offered at Greenhouse Treatment Center. It involves different methods and can be offered in individual as well as group settings.

The goals of anger management therapy are to help people:1

  • Learn ways to manage anger.
  • Stop violence and threats.
  • Build skills that are necessary for self-control over their thoughts and actions.
  • Gain feedback and support from others.

Anger management therapy commonly involves cognitive behavioral methods that include:1

  • Cognitive interventions to help people identify and change unhealthy or irrational thoughts and beliefs, which can help them change behaviors associated with anger. Such interventions can also help them learn ways to self-monitor and cope with their feelings instead of acting them out.
  • Relaxation training to help them learn and practice techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation to reduce anger.
  • Communication skills interventions to help a person develop improved conflict resolution skills and strengthened assertiveness.

Family therapy may also be employed to help people work through anger in their relationships and heal damage due to anger or substance misuse.

Many times, a combination of different forms of psychotherapy is used to effectively treat anger management issues.1,8

Anger Management & Addiction Treatment in Texas

If you or a loved one are struggling with anger management and substance use, please know that recovery is possible. Seeking treatment at Greenhouse Treatment Center—our alcohol and drug rehab near Dallas—can help you start on the path to a healthier and happier life.

Please call to speak to an admissions navigator who can help you understand more about anger management and addiction recovery, explain your rehab options, and guide you through the treatment admissions process.

We offer different types of rehab care, including detox, inpatient, and outpatient treatment to suit all needs.

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