Substance Use Disorder and Anger

Individuals struggling with substance use disorder are often dealing with anger issues. Either directed at self, at a specific person or at society as a whole. Without learning to process anger in a constructive manner, a person with an addiction cannot move forward toward recovery. Although anger is a normal human response, it can be warped and misdirected, causing problems for the individual and those around him. Understanding the root causes of anger and addressing them constructively is the first step to support a healthy and successful recovery.

Many view anger as a merely mental-emotional force, but in reality, anger can produce an orchestrated physiological change that negatively affects the body. When we get angry our bodies release hormones called catecholamines which give us a burst of energy. Also, our adrenocortical system becomes aroused which can make us feel on edge for even several days following an angry outburst. Our blood pressure, heart rate, and adrenaline levels rise with anger causing physiological changes pressuring on our health increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

For individuals in recovery, unprocessed anger can also lead to relapse, because anger not only affects one’s health but it also puts a strain on relationships at home and at work. This intensification of stress can easily increase the likelihood that the individual will use drugs or alcohol to cope with their unchecked emotions and feelings.

Learning to manage anger effectively as part of addiction recovery includes learning to recognize the people and situations that trigger the anger response. Identifying why those things trigger anger is important and that is the reason that some therapists have clients writing down a list of things that trigger anger including family situations, work situations, situations with friends, things that happen during support group meetings, and things that happen in the company of strangers.

Effective substance use disorder treatment does not ignore or dismiss anger issues but helps individuals understand them and learn how to cope with them in positive and effective ways. The best addiction recovery programs take into account the whole person, including their anger issues. Everyone’s anger issues are as personal and individual, as the person himself, and to identify those issues at Florida Center for Recovery we ensure that everyone receives a thorough assessment for an accurate diagnosis of underlying conditions and their personal issues.

Managing anger is a learned skill and by working with a therapist every individual is able to learn techniques that help interrupt and manage angry feelings before they cause problematic behaviors. One can break the anger habit by becoming aware of the events and circumstances that trigger anger and the negative consequences that follow. In addition, by working with a therapist recovering individuals dealing with anger issues can learn techniques and strategies that let them effectively manage their anger.

Florida Center for Recovery is a medical detox and rehabilitation facility providing comprehensive therapeutic programs to treat addiction and its underlying related mental health conditions. We offer innovative therapies to address the multidimensional aspects of the disease of addiction while teaching personal accountability in a safe, nurturing, and real-life environment.

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction? Please call FCR at (800) 851-3291 or click on the link below to send us an email. 

Florida Center for Recovery
Clinical Excellence & Compassionate Care in a Healing Environment