Anger Management Treatment Programs

Anger management helps individuals regain control over their anger problems by understanding the root causes, identifying physical and mental triggers, and building better and healthier coping techniques. Anger problems often are a sign of other mental health disorders, so co-occurring disorders may also be explored and addressed.

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    Anger Management Rehab Programs

    Anger management therapy provides individuals with the tools, skills, and insights they need to gain control of their anger and aggression. Anger management deals with the physical and psychological aspects of anger issues, as well as identifying underlying causes and other co-occurring disorders.

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    Retraining the Body Through Anger Management Rehab

    Anger triggers a series of physiological responses designed to prepare the human body to fight adversaries or flee from danger. But in the modern world, these responses are maladaptive and lead to anger problems. Anger management teaches the body to stay calm through a series of techniques targeting the central nervous system.

    These techniques involve desensitizing individuals to anger-inducing situations and also equipping them with physical relaxation techniques[8] to apply in these situations. For example, if a patient is struggling with road rage, they may be asked to view a POV of driving rush hour traffic and be asked to practice relaxing each part of their body, one muscle group at a time. Or if an individual is always fighting with their spouse, they may be asked to practice deep breathing while recounting a difficult conversation in their marriage.

    Other common physical relaxation techniques for anger issues may include:

    • Deep breathing, rising up from the diaphragm and into the nose
    • Box breathing, which involves inhaling and then exhaling at a slower rate
    • Calming phrases like ‘it’s not so bad’ or ‘I can handle this’, sometimes paired with tensing and releasing muscles
    • Body scanning to find tense areas of the body and allowing them to relax
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    Psychological Signs of Problematic Anger

    An important component of anger management treatment is helping individuals address and change the mental thought patterns behind their anger problems. This is done using a variety of behavioral health modalities, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, and one-on-one conversations with a therapist.

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    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Anger Management

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) addresses anger issues by helping individuals identify aggressive and negative thoughts and feelings based on physical and mental signs. Then, the individual learns how to challenge, replace, or lessen these reactions.

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    Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) in Anger Treatment Programs

    Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) gives patients the tools to break down the black-and-white thinking that often precedes an angry outburst. It provides communication and conflict de-escalation skills as well. And like CBT, DBT helps individuals identify anger and other difficult emotions and choose healthier reactions.

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    Psychotherapy for Anger Management

    One-on-one talk therapy, or psychotherapy, for anger management is really designed to help individuals understand the root causes of their anger problems, with the goal of developing a self-awareness of the thinking behind it, which will allow them to take control of anger before it takes control of the situation at hand. One-on-one therapy also allows patients to explore any co-occurring disorders fueling their anger issues.

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    Anger Management Classes

    Anger management classes are courses with a classroom component that often offer a mix of CBT, DBT, and psychotherapy so that students can learn to handle anger problems in healthier ways in the future.

    Symptoms of An Anger Problem

    Anger issues may be brushed off as just a personality quirk or justified as a defense against wrongdoing. However, excessive anger and aggression are hurtful and harmful both for the individual and their loved ones. Symptoms may be physical and emotional and might be directed towards others or yourself.

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    Physical Signs of Anger Issues

    Physical signs of uncontrollable anger and aggression may include:

    • Heart palpitations or tightening of the chest
    • Increased blood pressure
    • Tingling sensations in the body
    • Muscle tension
    • Gritted teeth or jaw
    • Headaches
    • Violence towards others or self including threatening body language, slamming doors, hitting or punching, and breaking or throwing belongings

    Repeated and long-term occurrences of these symptoms may put a person’s physical health in jeopardy.

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    Psychological Signs of Problematic Anger

    Frequent and unmanaged anger can affect a person’s mental health in the short or long term. The psychological symptoms of an anger issue include:

    • Small issues feel larger than life
    • Irritability and restlessness
    • Frustration and annoyance
    • Rage
    • Feeling overwhelmed or attacked
    • Anxiety
    • Self-hatred and negative self-talk
    • Denying one’s self-food or rest
    • Self-harm
    • Guilt following anger episodes
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    How can I find Anger Management Treatment Programs?

    Anger management programs will vary based on the individual and their needs. If you or a loved one wants to explore treatment options, scheduling an appointment with your doctor or a trained mental health professional would be a good place to help.

    Anger management treatment programs are typically done in an outpatient capacity and may include medications, behavioral therapies, one on one therapy, and support groups. If anger management interventions are part of treatment for substance use disorder and/or eating disorders, it may take place as a larger inpatient therapeutic program at a treatment center.

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    Cost of Anger Management Treatment Programs

    The cost of anger management treatment will depend on the type of therapies used and where you live. Individual and group skills-building sessions may range from $25 to $500 per session. Luckily, many insurance carriers will help cover some or all of the cost.

    Anger Management And Other Mental Health Disorders

    Detrimental behaviors related to anger are almost always a symptom of another mental health disorder, instead of a diagnosis in and of itself. Some common related diagnoses include substance use disorders[2],  eating disorders[3], and mood and personality disorders[4].

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    Anger Problems and Substance Use Disorder

    Researchers have demonstrated a connection between increased anger in people with Substance Use Disorder, and a decrease in this aggressive behavior following anger management therapy[5]. This explains why therapeutic interventions to address anger and other extreme emotions are an important component of addiction treatment.

    Anger and Eating Disorders

    Angry outbursts and aggressive behaviors, typically directed towards the self, are common features of bulimia, anorexia, and related co-occurring disorders[6]. Despite the fact that anger isn’t expressed towards others, it still causes major impairment of functioning and needs to be addressed as part of an overall treatment strategy.

    Anger in Mood and Personality Disorders

    Anger problems and quick irritability are symptoms of multiple mood disorders, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Additionally, these symptoms also may be caused by borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and intermittent explosive disorder, among other personality disorders[7]. Anger management therapy is an important part of treating these disorders.

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    Frequently Asked Questions about Anger Management Therapy

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