Managing Anger And Depression
Its not uncommon for men to also struggle with issues around managing anger when theyre fighting depression. Here are some tips to help.
“Sadness isnt the only symptom of depression – anger and irritability can also be signals that something more serious is going on.”
While feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and guilt are typical symptoms of depression, there are other signs as well. ;Its not uncommon for men to also struggle with anger and irritability when theyre fighting depression.
Anger and irritability can show up in a lot of different ways. ;For example, a guy may become overly sensitive to criticism, highly critical of himself or others, lose his sense of humour, experience frequent road rage, have a short temper, be controlling, or be verbally or physically abusive toward others.
Because these symptoms arent typically associated with depression, men may not realize that depression could be the underlying cause.
Here are some tips on how to manage issues with anger and depression.
Why Is Anger Sometimes A Symptom Of Depression
A person with depression typically has a negative bias, where they see the world around them through a negative filter. Some examples include:
- When remembering past events or conversations, they will recall them in a negative light or only remember the negative parts of them
- They will typically react to current situations that they are going through in a negative way, finding it difficult to think of any positives
- A person with depression will also tend to think negatively about the future
For many people with depression, this negative bias causes intense sadness and hopelessness. But for some, it can result in anger. Whether a person with depression does go on to experience anger, sadness or any other symptom typically depends on a number of factors, including their upbringing, culture and society as well as their biology.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression In Men
Different men have different symptoms, but some common depression symptoms include:
- Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
- Feeling anxious, restless, or on the edge
- Loss of interest in work, family, or once-pleasurable activities
- Problems with sexual desire and performance
- Feeling sad, “empty,” flat, or hopeless
- Not being able to concentrate or remember details
- Feeling very tired, not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
- Overeating or not wanting to eat at all
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
- Physical aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
- Inability to meet the responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities
- Engaging in high-risk activities
- A need for alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawing from family and friends or becoming isolated
Not every man who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some men experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many.
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Anger Issues And Adhd: Treatment Approaches
Most treatment studies for ADHD look at how core symptoms of ADHD change. Treating anger problems in individuals with ADHD has only recently become a major research focus, with useful insights revealed for patient care. Alternative and experimental approaches are also increasingly showing promise for patients with emotional dysregulation and anger issues.
Feeling Tired And A Loss Of Energy
Some people with depression may find it difficult to get up in the morning because they feel exhausted and run down.
They may feel too fatigued to do everyday tasks, such as going to work or cooking meals. They may spend a lot of time at home resting or sleeping.
The fatigue of depression can make a person feel as though they are always tired, despite getting enough sleep at night. However, others with depression do experience poor sleep.
Are Anger Anxiety And Depression Related
Depression and anxiety disorders are the two most common types of mental health illnesses in the country. Each year, 40 million adults in the United States live with anxiety disorders and 16.2 million adults in the country experience depression. Many children and teens also suffer from these disorders each year.
Despite the relative prevalence of each of depression and anxiety, many myths persist about how people with these disorders can act. For example, people often believe that people with depression only feed sad or hopeless and those with anxiety only experience panic as a result of their disorders. However, both of these disorders can result in uncontrolled anger.
Anger is considered a secondary emotion, which means that it is a reaction to other emotions. For example, when someone feels afraid and panicked consistently over a long period of time, that person may start feeling frustrated with that feeling.
In that frustration, the person may lash out in response to seemingly insignificant events. To others, it looks like the patient has anger issues alone. However, anxiety is the real culprit.
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How To Cope With Anger As A Depression Symptom
I know that it’s important and helpful to identify triggers of any negative feelings because they are cause for change. My problem, though, is that I dont know whats triggering my anger, and it feels uncontrollable. I need to work harder to understand why I’m angry so that I can better manage my anger. Anger management takes many forms and there are plenty of suggestions regarding how to keep your temper under control. Methods include just about everything from exercising to throwing eggs into your bathtub. I know that I will not always be angry. The hopelessness and despair I feel regarding my anger is reasonable, but I will be able to sort it out and move forward with coping with my depression. And though it feels silly to be angry about being angry, I imagine that if I get angry enough, change will burst into being right in front of me. It’s a comforting image at the very least.
Research On Anger And Depression
Research studies on the link between anger and depression have indicated either an increase in outwardly directed anger or a greater degree of suppressed anger in patients with depression . Epidemiological studies have found depression to be associated with an increased risk of violent behaviour , including towards a spouse . Reference Koh, Kim and ParkKoh and colleagues found that patients with depression demonstrated a greater amount of total anger and anger expression than patients with anxiety disorders, somatoform disorders and healthy controls. A study by Reference Schless, Mendels and KippermanSchless et al of in-patients with depression showed that the degree of anger correlated with the severity of depression, but that the patients expressed anger outwards or turned it inwards in equal numbers. Anger and hostility were found to diminish with effective antidepressant treatment .
All of these studies suggest that anger is a prominent feature of depression. As noted above, both expressed and suppressed anger can be a source of conflict and become self-directed. Therefore, it is important to understand and address how anger and depression may interact.
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Referring Yourself For Therapy
If you need more support, you can get free psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy , on the NHS.
You can refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service without a referral from a GP.
There are many different causes of anger and it’s different for everyone.
Some common things that make people feel angry include:
- being treated unfairly and feeling powerless to do anything about it
- feeling threatened or attacked
- other people not respecting your authority, feelings or property
- being interrupted when you’re trying to achieve a goal
How you react to anger can depend on lots of things, including:
- the situation you’re in at the moment if you’re dealing with lots of problems or stress, you may find it harder to control your anger
- your family history you may have learned unhelpful ways of dealing with anger from the adults around you when you were a child
- events in your past people who experience traumatic, frightening or stressful events sometimes develop post-traumatic stress disorder which can lead to angry outbursts
- substances such as drugs and alcohol which make some people act more aggressively than usual
Some of the things that make you angry may not bother other people at all.
You might find it hard to explain why you feel this way but talking to someone could help you find a solution.
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Coping With Anger And Depression
In addition to following your depression treatment plan, there are positive ways to deal with your anger.
Talk It Out
A trusted friend or family member can be someone to talk to about what you are feeling. If you would prefer to speak to someone isnt close to you, support groups are an alternative option.
You may also want to talk to a mental health professional if you are not already doing so.
Depression can make it hard to get motivated to exercise, but exercise can help to improve your mood. Exercise releases endorphins, hormones that improve mood.
Running, walking and yoga are all great exercises to help reduce anger, stress, and other depressive symptoms.
Focus on getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Feeling rested helps your mood and motivation and minimizes irritability and anger.
If you are having problems falling asleep or staying awake, your doctor may need to adjust other medications you are taking or prescribe a temporary sleep aid.
Enjoy the Things You Love
Making time for yourself can help improve your moods. Plan activities that you enjoy and dont forget to choose activities that can help you relax, such as taking a warm bath or going for a walk.
Take Deep Breaths
Taking deep breaths can help calm you when you are feeling angry. Take deep breaths from your diaphragm, which is located between the thoracic cavity and the abdominal cavity.
Listening to calming music or practicing yoga can also help.
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Can Depression Be Prevented
Many people wonder if depression can be prevented and how they may be able to lower their risk of depression. Although most cases of depression cannot be prevented, healthy lifestyle changes can have long-term benefits to your mental health.
Here are a few steps you can take:
- Be physically active and eat a healthy, balanced diet. This may help avoid illnesses that can bring on disability or depression. Some diets including the low-sodium DASH diet have been shown to reduce risk of depression.
From Fruit Fly To Stink Eye: Searching For Anger’s Animal Roots
“I would say 1 in 3 patients would report to me that they would lose their temper, they would get angry, they would throw things or yell and scream or slam the door,” says Fava. Afterward, these people would be filled with remorse.
Psychiatry has carefully studied how anxiety and depressed mood are experienced by patients, notes Fava, but anger has been relatively neglected. “I don’t think that we have really examined all the variables and all the levels of anger dysregulation that people experience,” he says.
That view is shared by Dr. Mark Zimmerman, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University. “The field has not sufficiently attended to problems with anger,” says Zimmerman.
“The most frequently used scales to evaluate whether or not medications work for treating depression don’t have any anger-specific items,” he notes.
Yet Zimmerman says clinicians frequently see increased anger in people who come to doctors seeking help. “Irritability is not that much less frequent than sadness and anxiety in patients who are presenting for psychiatric treatment,” he says.
“Two-thirds of individuals reported notable irritability and anger,” he says, “and approximately half reported it at a moderate or severe level.”
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Overeating And Weight Gain
Some people may eat more when they are depressed. Food can become a comfort mechanism for negative feelings or a way to deal with boredom or being alone.
Depression can make it difficult for people to feel motivated to get outside or exercise. Combined with an increase in food intake, this can lead to weight gain.
Talk To People You Trust And Ask For Accountability
When youre in the thick of depression and your frustrations with the world around you are at a high, it can be very difficult to ascertain when your reactions may be disproportionate. This is where those you love and trust can be very helpful in supporting you as you work through your irritability.
Find someone you know can be honest yet kind with you about your behaviour, and ask them to help let you know when your irritability may be getting the best of you. Make a commitment to make amends with those you may have hurt, and reflect back on what might be underlying your emotions.
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Psychoanalytic Theories Of Depression
From the early days of psychoanalysis, theoreticians and clinicians have suggested that difficulties coping with anger are related to depression onset and persistence . Reference AbrahamAbraham was the first to conceptualise depression as self-directed anger. He noted a propensity towards hatred in patients with depression, based on temperament or early experience. This excess anger creates guilt and anxiety, and becomes repressed and projected. The resulting belief that others hate the patient leads to the presumption that they are somehow inadequate or deficient, lowering self-esteem. Reference AbrahamAbraham subsequently postulated that individuals with depression suffer from low self-esteem and anger secondary to a traumatic rejection, either in early or later life.
In Reference Freud and StracheyFreud’s view, depression results from a fantasised or actual loss of an individual towards whom the patient experienced ambivalent feelings. To deal with the loss, the patient internalises an aspect of that individual. However, the anger at that person now becomes directed towards the part of the self identified with that individual, leading to self-criticism, reproach and depression.
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Is Anger A Sign Of Depression
But what happens when the symptoms are not typical of the disorder? The chances of a correct diagnosis and effective treatment may then be reduced.
Anger is not a classic sign of depression. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , the standard reference manual used by mental health professionals, does not list anger as a symptom of the condition. And the scales that are used by clinicians to determine if medication is working effectively do not include anger-specific items.
Yet clinicians frequently see anger and irritability in patients who are seeking help. In fact, irritability is seen almost as frequently as sadness and anxiety. But there is limited research on anger and its link to these disorders
Since 2001, studies of anger and aggression across psychiatric diagnoses have consistently found elevated rates of anger, irritability, and hostility among depressed patients, while studies of bipolar disorder also found elevated levels of anger.
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Does Anger Cause Depression
An older article in the journal BJPsych Advances linked feeling angry with the development of depression.
The authors of the article suggest that this anger stems from narcissistic vulnerability, which is when a person is extremely sensitive to any perceived rejection or loss.
Experiencing rejection may cause feelings of anger, which can lead to a person fearing that their anger will damage their relationships.
They may then turn this anger toward themselves, which can lead to low self-esteem and depression.
However, there is little research available to support this theory or show that anger can cause depression.
People who experience anger and depression may have some of the following symptoms:
A person should seek help if their symptoms:
- start to interrupt their daily life
- affect their relationships with others
- seem to be getting worse
If a person has thoughts of hurting themselves or others, they should seek help as soon as possible.