Anger Management Therapy

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Even while you’re in recovery from addiction, some of the emotions and frustrations that you felt while suffering from addiction will likely come back up again. This is especially true if you are in the early stages of recovery. In fact, one common emotion that people struggle with in addiction recovery is anger. If you are recovering from substance abuse and find yourself still struggling with anger, anger management counseling may help you.

What is Anger Management Counseling?

Anger management therapy is counseling that helps people who suffer from anger issues learn the reasons behind their anger and how to defuse their anger. The purpose of anger management counseling is to help individuals develop the ability to manage their challenges so that they can properly function in society. Anger management therapy achieves this purpose by helping patients discover their anger triggers and then learn anger management exercises that will help the patients cope whenever their anger arises.

We Believe in Treating the Individual, Not Just the Addiction

Types of Anger

There are three key types of anger: passive-aggressive anger, openly aggressive anger, and assertive anger.

Passive-Aggressive Anger: When people exhibit passive-aggressive anger, they try to exhibit their anger without experiencing confrontation. To accomplish this goal, individuals often subtly show their anger.

Openly Aggressive Anger: Individuals who are openly aggressive exhibit their anger in a way that is quite evident to others. People who exhibit this type of anger lash out at others by yelling, throwing things, or bullying other individuals. People who are openly aggressive struggle with anger that is so intense that they often can’t control it.

Assertive Anger: Assertive anger is anger given in the correct way. This is because this type of anger involves balance and rationale. People who exhibit assertive anger are more likely to resolve their anger issues with another person.

Signs and Symptoms of Anger

There are many signs or symptoms of anger. Some of the common signs and symptoms of anger include:

  • Clenching of the hands
  • Clenching of the jaw
  • Racing heart rate
  • No eye contact
  • Tense muscles
  • Headaches
  • Pacing

How Anger Affects Your Brain and Body

Anger causes the hypothalamus at the base of the brain to activate itself. It also causes the hypothalamus to send out a signal to the adrenal glands at the top of the kidneys. This signal makes the kidneys release stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.

As a person’s anger increases, so do things like one’s heart rate and blood pressure. Meanwhile, the stress hormone cortisol increases one’s blood sugar. Stress hormones are also what activates a person’s fight-or-flight response. When doing this, a person’s stress hormones communicate with parts of the brain that control one’s mood, motivation, and fear.

Stress hormones such as cortisol will even suppress the body’s immune system, digestive system, and reproductive system. Chronic anger can also have negative effects on the body’s cardiovascular system that causes a person to experience things like hypertension.

When it comes to the brain, anger can destroy neurons that are associated with short-term memory, decision-making, and judgment. This makes people that suffer from anger issues more likely to make reckless decisions. So it’s important for individuals who struggle with anger due to past substance abuse to attend anger management therapy.

Causes of Anger in Addiction Recovery

People in addiction recovery often exhibit anger for a number of reasons. One common reason why people in addiction recovery exhibit anger is because they feel guilty about their past mistakes while suffering from addiction. This guilt then turns into frustration with oneself. This is especially true if people feel as if they aren’t where they should be in their lives due to their past substance use.

When people feel angry with themselves for their past mistakes, they often lash out at the people closest to them. Another common reason why people in addiction recovery often exhibit anger is that they are still physically dealing with the after-effects of their substance abuse. When people chronically abuse substances, the substances alter the chemistry in their brains. It does so in a way that often causes people to exhibit bouts of anger and irritability.

When individuals are in the early stages of addiction recovery, some of the effects of substance abuse still linger around for a while. As a result, it’s not that uncommon for former drug users to exhibit moments of uncontrollable anger.

The Cost of Being Angry

People in addiction recovery can work to mentally manage their anger. One way to do this is by reminding themselves of all the negative consequences that can come as a result of anger. Doing this can help put things back into perspective for those in addiction recovery.

Some common negative consequences of being angry that individuals in addiction recovery can remind themselves about include:

  • Losing one’s job or getting kicked out of school due to one’s anger
  • Ruining the relationships the person in addiction recovery has with his or her loved ones
  • Causing yourself health issues such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and more
  • Physically or emotionally harming oneself or others in ways that you can’t take back

Signs That Your Anger is a Sign of a Deeper Issue

Many people who suffer from addiction also suffer from mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. Often, bouts of anger and irritability are some of the side effects of mental illness. Mental health disorders are often catalysts to addiction.

Suffering from anger after recovery may be a sign that you’re starting to relapse. If you feel as if your anger is continuous and is associated with other signs of mental illness or the beginning stages of relapse, attend anger management counseling along with addiction therapy as soon as possible.

Benefits of Anger Management Counseling When in Addiction Recovery

There are many benefits to anger management therapy. One major benefit of attending anger management counseling is that it can improve your health. This is due to the fact that chronic anger often causes health issues such as hypertension and increased blood pressure.

Another benefit of attending anger management counseling is that it can help prevent you from relapsing. This is due to the fact that anger issues from a person in addiction recovery are sometimes a sign of mental illness that’s associated with addiction creeping back up.

Therefore, when people allow such chronic anger to continue, it can cause them to redevelop past mental illnesses. This will, in turn, trigger people’s desires to use substances again. Instead of letting your chronic anger trigger all of these issues, it’s best to stop anger in its tracks by attending anger management therapy.

Receive Continued Support in Recovery At Grace Land Recovery

Grace Land Recovery is a dual diagnosis treatment center that understands that people in addiction recovery still need support and assistance. That’s why we offer clinical groups for anger management, emotion regulation, relapse prevention, and more.

As a dual diagnosis treatment center, we here at Grace Land Recovery also provide our patients with specialized and individualized addiction treatment and therapy programs for a wide variety of substances and mental illnesses. The business services that we offer includes individual and group therapy, case management, nurse practitioner appointments, and medication management.

To learn more about Grace Land Recover and the many different addiction treatment and therapy services that we offer, contact us today! Although our office hours are only Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm, our phone lines are open and monitored 24 hours a day. Therefore, you can call us over the phone at any time.

So, what are you waiting for? Attend anger management counseling or any other addiction treatment and therapy program that you need to maintain sobriety right here at Grace Land Recovery.

How to Manage Anger in Addiction Recovery

In between anger management counseling sessions, there are many ways that you can help yourself manage your anger. Some of these ways are described below.


One way to manage anger while in addiction recovery is to stop and reflect. Reflect on the source of your anger whenever you feel yourself getting angry. When reflecting on the source of your anger, ask yourself if it was your addiction talking or you talking when you lashed out. Then, ask yourself if your anger is even warranted. If you find that your struggle with addiction is causing you to lash out and that your anger isn’t warranted, take a step back and redirect your anger towards a positive activity.

Walk Away

Another way to manage your anger in addiction recovery is to walk away. Walk away from situations that may cause you to lash out. By distancing yourself from situations that may spark your anger, you’re ensuring that you don’t do anything that you regret out of anger. Walking away from upsetting situations also gives you the time to calm down by yourself and re-assess the situation.


If you’re still struggling with anger issues in recovery, there’s likely going to be a day when you say or do something out of anger that you don’t mean to another person. When that day comes, the best thing that you can do is humble yourself and apologize for past mistakes.

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Our mission is to help individuals achieve sobriety by getting to the root of their addiction issues. We also aim to treat the minds, bodies, and souls of our patients.

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