Anger is a natural human emotion. Sometimes it surfaces when things goes wrong. Other times, anger stems from our fears and frustrations. There are plenty of circumstances in our daily lives that can trigger anger. Processing and working through your feelings (even when they are negative) is a healthy thing! However, even though anger can sometimes be healthy and motivating, it can also quickly come explosive and destructive.
If something else is going on beneath the surface, it’s essential to know and get the proper support before it escalates. And we all know how quickly anger can intensify. If you feel angry or irritable more often than not, it may signify an underlying mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression. If these feelings are disrupting your life and the lives of those around you, it might be time to seek help.
What Causes Anger and Irritability?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as the causes of these common emotions can be complex and vary from person to person. However, common factors that may contribute to anger and irritability for some people include:
- Stressful life events or traumatic experiences
- Lack of sleep
- Relationship problems or conflict
- Hormonal changes
- Substance abuse
For others, there is a mental health condition at the root of their anger or irritability.
How Anger and Irritability Can Signify Depression or Anxiety
Depression is a mood disorder that makes it hard for someone to regulate their emotions. It’s a condition that often manifests as feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest. Depression is often also described as “anger turned inward,” but that doesn’t mean it is never expressed outwardly.
Additionally, those with depression may be more negatively biased in how they process information. For example, they may perceive things more negatively and express anger or impatience towards others.
Anxiety is understood as a disorder linked to fear and worry. However, similar to how depression is understood as a disorder where emotions are channeled inward, there is a link between anxiety and anger that often goes unnoticed.
Anger and irritability can easily intensify in individuals with anxiety who face everyday stress and triggers and perceive that they cannot handle them.
Even when individuals with anxiety are conscious that they have underlying fears and frustrations, they aren’t always aware that becoming angry makes them feel in control when they are worried or scared. In other words, their anger results from what goes unexpressed or unacknowledged.
What Anger Issues Can Look Like
Many people associate anger with thoughts of physical violence, such as punching a wall or other objects. The word anger may bring images of people shouting, screaming, and throwing things to mind. But the truth is that anger can look like many different things – anger does not only manifest as aggression.
- Feeling tense – a sense of unease or dread, feeling on-edge at all times and unable to relax.
- Often haunted by memories or mistakes that lead to resentment or hatred toward others or oneself.
- Tendency to start arguments and blame others.
- Judgmental towards another person’s injustice or shortcoming.
- Unable to calm down after an argument or upsetting situation.
- Difficulty concentrating – one’s thoughts are preoccupied with the things that have made you feel angry, irritated, or frustrated.
- Feeling misunderstood by others.
- Inability to handle criticism well.
Anger Can Be Linked To Depression & Anxiety- Reach Out For Support!
It can be challenging to acknowledge that you might have a problem with anger management and even harder to accept that there may be something deeper that needs to be addressed. But the anger you put out into the world or direct onto yourself is not intentional, which means awareness is the first step toward recovery.
Of course, increased irritability and anger are just one of the symptoms of a mental health disorder. If you are feeling “off” or more agitated than usual, give our team a call for a professional evaluation and diagnosis. We can help you learn to process your feelings and work through them. You don’t have to do it alone!