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Alcoholism & Anger Management: Mental Health & Addiction

Ultimately, nobody knows what comes first⁠—anger or alcohol use disorder . However, some studies have been done to better understand who is more at risk. Instead of being a natural emotion, someone with an alcohol use disorder will express anger to avoid dealing with unpleasant or adverse circumstances, including the addiction. In others, anger is present before drinking and drinking brings out that anger. Different types of alcohol withdrawal can help illuminate why these symptoms are occurring and how to manage them.

  • These ‘masked emotions’ may include hurt, fear, loneliness, anxiety, and grief.
  • The new target may be seen as less threatening than the person they are furious with.
  • Through behavioral therapy and counseling, a person is better able to recognize how their thoughts tie into their actions.
  • From Table 2, the mean scores of Anger expression out, anger expression in, anger expression outside, and anger control inside among the two groups and they are not statistically significant.

Sometimes, little things like being unable to deal with or express a specific feeling can lead to an angry outburst. As a result, there’s a lot of trial and error throughout your recovery, including finding the best anger-management techniques for you. While anger is an emotion you experience when you feel threatened, aggression is a hostile behavior that results in physical or psychological harm to yourself or others. Some individuals exhibit “trait anger,” a personality trait that means they continually look for triggers that make them angry. The link between anger and alcoholism is complicated, but there are several factors that play into why they are interrelated. For one, alcohol can serve as an excuse for aggressive and angry behavior.

What Is the First Step in the Addiction Treatment Process?

If a health professional has diagnosed you with anger management problems, you may find these get worse when you drink. Alongside quitting alcohol, you could benefit from attending an anger management support group. Typically, support groups have professional leaders, like social workers or psychologists, so you can ensure you’re getting expert advice. Researchers have studied the connection between anger and aggression for years. However, it’s about more than getting easily upset or having a short fuse when you drink alcohol.

Why do alcoholics get aggressive?

Direct Effects of Alcohol.

Alcohol may encourage aggression or violence by disrupting normal brain function. According to the disinhibition hypothesis, for example, alcohol weakens brain mechanisms that normally restrain impulsive behaviors, including inappropriate aggression (5).

We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help. Another study explored the relationship between Posttraumatic Stress Disorder , alcohol use, and violence (Blakey et al., 2018). This was a massive study of 33,215 individuals with no history of active military combat. An increase in anger after trauma and the use of alcohol to cope with PTSD symptoms were stronger predictors of physically aggressive or violent acts than a lifetime diagnosis of PTSD without anger.

Alcohol Recovery at FHE Health

Alcohol impairs cognitive function, which means it is more difficult to problem-solve, control anger, and make good decisions when drinking. Decreased cognitive function also means it’s more likely for you to misread a situation and overreact. For example, if you’re intoxicated, you might perceive someone bumping into you by accident alcoholism and anger as a provocation and respond aggressively. Alcohol can provoke different emotional responses for different people. If you have a natural tendency to be angry, drinking alcohol may cause you to become aggressive. Men were more aggressive than women overall, but the effects of alcohol and personality were similar in both sexes.

Anger from not feeling ‘normal.’ Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition that affects some individuals and not others. In early recovery, it’s not uncommon to feel a sense of unfairness in relation to others appearing to be able to enjoy drinking, while AUD necessitates moderation or abstinence. There may also be an initial frustration around the idea of socializing while sober, and the feeling that events won’t be the same without alcohol. Alcohol abuse and anger issues can go hand in hand, as alcohol can be a trigger for those with anger issues. When someone consumes an alcoholic beverage, their inhibitions and natural ability to filter out their emotions are affected.

Treating Alcoholism

They are best for people who have a high motivation to recover, but cannot leave their responsibilities at home, work, or school. If you are close to someone who experiences alcohol-induced anger, it’s important to get help and support. BetterHelp offers affordable mental health care via phone, video, or live-chat.

alcoholism and anger

Furthermore, alcohol can make you focus too much on specific words or behaviors from other people. If you see someone cut in front of you in line for the bathroom at a bar or concert, you may react aggressively when you otherwise wouldn’t mind. When drinking, it becomes increasingly challenging to interpret information logically. By not seeing situations clearly, you endanger yourself or others. When it comes to anger specifically, people may experience a phenomenon called “alcohol myopia” in addition to their already heightened emotions. This scenario involves losing your sense of perception under the influence.

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