Am I a Rage-a-holic?


Out-of-control anger, also called rage, is a type of anger that is so intense that it can lead to destructive behaviors such as yelling, screaming, and violence. As the name implies, it can be difficult to control out-of-control anger, and it can have a negative impact on your relationships, your work, and your overall well-being.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to out-of-control anger, including:

  • Genetics: Some people are more genetically predisposed to anger than others.
  • Brain chemistry: Certain brain chemicals, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, play a role in regulating anger. If these chemicals are out of balance, it can lead to increased anger.
  • Mental health conditions: Certain mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder, can increase the risk of intense, volatile emotions, such as anger. 
  • Substance abuse: Alcohol and drug abuse can make us more vulnerable to intense anger and violent urges.
  • Stress: Stressful life events, such as job loss, divorce, or the death of a loved one, can also trigger out-of-control anger.

In my years of work with clients, I have seen that the struggle to control anger can lead to a very isolated existence characterized by the loss of relationships, the loss of self-respect, and other devastating losses. My approach includes learning why you struggle with anger, developing self-compassion, and learning skills. It is not a hopeless endeavor.

There are three things required to change your relationship with anger:

  • A willingness to change.
  • The ability to take a deep dive into Self, looking at what is going on in your heart, mind, and nervous system.
  • The skills and the time to learn – and keep trying to learn – those skills.

If you are struggling with intense, difficult-to-control anger, there are a number of things you can do to manage it. Here are a few tips:

  • Identify your triggers. What are the things that typically make you angry? Once you know your triggers, you can start to develop strategies for avoiding them or coping with them in a healthy way.
  • Recognize the signs of anger. What are some of the physical and emotional signs that you are getting angry? Once you know the signs of your anger, you can start to take steps to calm down before you lose your cool.
  • Take a break. If you feel yourself getting angry, take a few minutes to calm down before saying or doing anything you might regret. This could involve taking a few deep breaths, going for a walk, or listening to calming music.
  • Practice the TIPP skill from Dialectical Behavior Therapy, involving cold temperatures, exercise, breathing, and paired muscle relaxation.
  • Express your anger in a healthy way. This could involve talking to the person who made you angry, writing in a journal, or doing some physical activity.

If you are struggling to manage your anger on your own, consider seeking professional help. I can teach you additional anger management skills and help you to identify and address the underlying causes of your anger. It is not a hopeless endeavor.

Email me, and I’ll send you the TIPP skill handout.

Hi, I'm Sharla! I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, and I help individuals navigate the complex emotions and struggles that life often brings. Learn more about about my background and experience here.

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