Anger and our health

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, April 25, 2023

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It’s so easy to become upset or angry with everything from rising prices, to traffic jams or rude people we encounter in everyday life. Anger is something that from time to time we all experience. It’s a built-in reaction to the body’s “fight, flight, or freeze” system, which helps protect us from threats or danger and is a normal emotion that everyone experiences.


For some, controlling their anger is a challenge, and if a person feels unable to do so, it can cause problems at work and in relationships. Frequent or out-of-control anger may have a negative impact on health which over time will affect a person’s quality of life. Research has shown that inappropriate or poorly controlled anger seems to affect more men than women, and is more prevalent among younger adults.

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There are many reasons for feeling angry, and each of us experiences anger differently. Some things that cause an angry response in one person may not affect another person at all. Some of the causes of these responses include feeling attacked, deceived, frustrated or disrespected.


Life always presents challenges, and for some of us, our anger can be the result of a problem with a coworker, partner, friend or family member. We’ve all experienced offenses like personal insults, rejections and criticism and most of us deal with those fairly calmly and rationally. Others, especially those with a “short fuse,” may not handle those issues quite so well. 


Each of us has our own signs and symptoms that we display when we become angered, as that emotion affects both the mind and body in a number of ways. For some, the physical results of getting angry are an increased heart rate, feeling flushed or hot, stomach churning, clenching jaws, or actually shaking or trembling. Effects of anger on our mind include feeling anxious, easily irritated, depressed, resentful or wanting to strike out verbally or physically. Shouting, crying and abusive behavior can also be a direct result of uncontrolled anger. It’s also important to know the difference between anger and aggression. Anger is an emotion, whereas aggression is directly related to how a person behaves. Not everyone with anger behaves aggressively, and not everyone who acts aggressively is angry.


For some with anger issues, the problem can be one of several mental health conditions such as bipolar, schizophrenia, personality disorders or even symptoms of dementia.


Certainly, there are situations and people that make us angry. But that response is considered normal for most of us at one point or another, and it’s not always a sign of a mental health condition.  However, frequent or uncontrolled episodes of anger may be an indicator of feelings and behaviors that are outside the normal boundaries of typical reactions for most people. Speaking to a qualified doctor can help a person determine the underlying causes of such overreactions and behaviors.


Ron Kauffman is an author and  Consultant & Expert Speaker on Issues of Aging. You may contact him by phone at (828) 696-9799 or by email at: