Anger issues definition

Anger is a natural response to threats. Some anger is necessary for our survival.

Anger becomes a problem when you have trouble controlling it, causing you to say or do things you regret.

Uncontrolled anger is bad for your mental health. It can also quickly escalate to verbal or physical violence, harming you and those around you.

Learn more about identifying your triggers and managing your anger below.

What causes anger issues?

Many things can trigger anger, including stress, family problems, and financial issues.

For some people, anger is caused by an underlying disorder, such as alcoholism or depression. Anger itself isn’t considered a disorder, but anger is a known symptom of several mental health conditions.

The following are some of the possible causes of anger issues.


Anger can be a symptom of depression, which is characterized as ongoing feelings of sadness and loss of interest lasting at least two weeks.

Anger can be suppressed or overtly expressed. The intensity of the anger and how it’s expressed varies from person to person.

If you have depression, you may experience other symptoms. These include:

loss of energy
feelings of hopelessness
thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Alcohol abuse

Research shows that drinking alcohol increases aggression. Alcohol contributes to approximately half of all violent crimes committed in the United States.

Alcohol abuse, or alcoholism, refers to consuming too much alcohol at once or regularly.

Alcohol impairs your ability to think clearly and make rational decisions. It affects your impulse control and can make it harder for you to control your emotions.


Anger issues symptoms

Anger causes physical and emotional symptoms. While it’s normal to experience these symptoms occasionally, a person with anger issues tends to experience them more often and severely.

Physical symptoms

Anger affects different parts of your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. A 2011 study found that anger also causes an increase in testosterone levels and a decrease in cortisol levels.

The physical signs and symptoms of anger include:

increased blood pressure
increased heart rate
tingling sensation
muscle tension



There are a number of emotions that go hand in hand with anger. You may notice the following emotional symptoms before, during, or after an episode of anger:

feeling overwhelmed


Anger issue types

Anger can manifest itself in a number of different ways. Not all anger is expressed in the same way. Anger and aggression can be outward, inward, or passive.

Outward. This involves expressing your anger and aggression in an obvious way. This can include behaviour such as shouting, cursing, throwing or breaking things, or being verbally or physically abusive toward others.

Inward. This type of anger is directed at yourself. It involves negative self-talk, denying yourself things that make you happy or even basic needs, such as food. Self-harm and isolating yourself from people are other ways anger can be directed inward.

Passive. This involves using subtle and indirect ways to express your anger. Examples of this passive-aggressive behaviour include giving someone silent treatment, sulking, being sarcastic, and making snide remarks.


Do I have anger issues?

You may have anger issues if:

you feel angry often
you feel that your anger seems out of control
your anger is impacting your relationships
your anger is hurting others
your anger causes you to say or do things you regret
you’re verbally or physically abusive


Anger issues management

If you believe your anger is out of control or if it’s negatively affecting your life or relationships, consider seeking help from a mental health professional.

A mental health professional can help determine if you have an underlying mental health condition that’s causing your anger issues and requires treatment.

Anger management can also include one or more of the following:

relaxation techniques
behavioral therapy
depression, or anxiety medications, if you’re diagnosed with any of these conditions
anger management classes, which can be taken in person, by phone, or online
anger management exercises at home
support groups