The Relationship Between Recovering Alcoholics and Anger

When you’re intoxicated, you experience reduced inhibitions, impulsivity, impaired cognitive function, and low regard for future consequences. If you’ve been struggling with angry emotions or violent impulses, these effects of alcohol can make the situation worse. If you’re frustrated or stressed out, you might see a drink as a good way to calm alcoholic rage syndrome down and relax. However, if anger management is currently a problem in your life, drinking alcohol is just as likely to fan the flames. While some individuals respond to alcohol by feeling sad, others respond to the neuroinflammation of alcohol use by getting mad. People who struggle with anger management often also abuse drugs or alcohol.

Speaking with another person can help you to determine what other emotions may be lying under the surface. These ‘masked emotions’ may include hurt, fear, loneliness, anxiety, and grief. Learning to identify what you’re actually feeling is key to moving past anger, and expressing yourself to others can help you get there. Seek out a strong support system that is willing to give you honest feedback. This can include a therapist, support groups, or people in your everyday life.

If You Know You’re an Angry Drunk, What Can You Do?

This article discusses some of the facts behind the stereotype of the “angry drunk” and explores the connection between anger and alcohol. This handbook reviews Medicaid and its role in financing services and treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders. It discusses services included in state Medicaid plans and other factors related to Medicaid, such as reimbursement. After a disaster, survivors may feel angry about the ways in which the disaster has changed their lives. This tip sheet helps survivors to understand that anger can be a common response to a traumatic event.

Because alcohol is a psychoactive drug, it temporarily alters your mood, perception and feelings. For example, if you start drinking when you’re lonely and sad, you may find the alcohol makes you feel even more desolate and distressed than you did when you were sober. Continue reading to learn more about the link between alcohol and anger, including which risk factors exist, how alcohol-related aggression can be dangerous and more. By understanding how alcohol abuse influences your mood, you can learn to make positive choices instead of ones you may regret. “Trait anger” refers to a person’s general tendency to experience chronic anger over time. An angry person tends to seek out stimuli that activate feelings of anger.


What this means is that people whose personalities make them naturally quicker to become angry than others are even more likely to lose control under the influence of alcohol. When someone allows anger to build up over time, they’re more likely to suffer an explosion. During this time, individuals often can’t reason, which leads them to risky behaviors, such as drinking again.

  • If you don’t know how to express anger, your frustrations can make you miserable or cause you to explode in an angry outburst.
  • Do you ever feel like a completely different person when you’ve had too much to drink?
  • Specifically, they exhibited a reduced capacity to detect sadness and fear and a reduced tendency towards seeing happiness.

Throughout these changes, learning how to manage anger more effectively is essential. The good news is, many of the same tools that will support your sobriety will also help you process and cope with anger. The following are some tips on handling anger as you work towards your goals. There are multiple reasons why you may experience increased feelings of anger after quitting alcohol – let’s explore three of the most common. While hard to not take these angry outbursts to heart, it does help to look at the bigger picture.

Anger Management for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Clients: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Manual

Those who are dependent on alcohol should participate in alcohol addiction treatment to break the cycle. Remember, quitting a substance cold turkey can lead to health issues, so it’s best to enlist professional help. 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 data for the present study were taken from the project work on correlates of anger among alcohol users, funded by center for addiction medicine, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.
  • It also raises the risk for negative consequences of outbursts related to explosive and uncontrolled anger.
  • The NIAAA and NIH had no further role in study design, in the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data; in the writing of the report, or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.
  • Additionally, those who already have difficulties with executive functions and impulse control are more liable to become angry, aggressive, and violent when their self-regulatory skills are further impaired by alcohol, ABC warns.
  • Clients can learn healthy stress management and coping skills to diffuse anger and other negative thoughts in group and individual therapy sessions.
  • Other holistic methods are often used during a comprehensive addiction and anger management treatment program as adjunctive, or complementary, treatment methods.

The damage done to the mental health of loved ones of alcoholics due to misplaced anger is significant. But in real life, a person who loses control of their emotions when they drink is anything but entertaining. People spend years in therapy and in treatment for issues of their own that are caused by the consequences of this behavior. If you experience symptoms of an anger issue or become uncontrollably hostile when you drink or abuse alcohol, you likely have alcohol and anger related disorder. You may exhibit symptoms of anger only when intoxicated because alcohol lowers your inhibitions, making you more likely to express your emotions. When someone enters recovery for alcohol abuse, they usually struggle with anger problems and emotional regulation.

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