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Tuesday, June 09, 2009 kaytay, Community Member, asks

Q: Any advice with how to deal with unexplained anger?

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Answers (1)
knowthyself, Community Member
6/10/09 12:35am

kaytay,

 

There is an explanation for all experiences of anger.  Anger is an emotional response to your thoughts, related to a situation or event.  Sometimes it is difficult to identify the thoughts that trigger the emotional response but they exist.

 

One of the priinciples of Cognitive Behavioral Theory is that thoughts elicit an emotional response and a corresponding behavior is motivated by the emotion.  An example would be you are driving down the road and someone runs through the intersection, for which you have a green light, cutting you off and causing you to skid to a hault.  You think to yourself, What an idiot!  He should have seen he had a red light and I had the right of way.  You then lay on the horn, shout some explicatives and communicate your displeasure with sign language.  First, examine how the thought led to anger.  It indicates that he wronged you, that you had the right of way.  You believe that he "should" have seen the light, indicating that he most likely ran it, knowing it was red and you also assumed he was an idiot.  All these are plausible thoughts but you cannot be certain of any of them.  He may be a genius with an IQ of 180 whose breaks had failed from no fault of his own and the situation was out of is control.  If this was the case and you were aware of it, your emotional response may have been different.  In any case, the way you think determines how you feel.  There are always thoughts underlying our emotions.

 

To deal with it, identify the thoughts.  Then spend some time searching the web for information on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, irrational thoughts related to anger, challenging irrational thoughts, and anger coping skills.  You may also seek out a therapist to help you learn some skills.

 

I realize that their may be other psychological issues and possibly stress that is contributing to your anger but CBT techniques and coping skills will still apply.  If it is episode related, you may also contact your psychiatrist to discuss medication options.

 

If you do a search on this site, with the serch term 'anger' you will find an informative article by John, called "Breaking Down Bipolar Anger."

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dannyd, Community Member
6/10/09 9:20am

Hi kaytay

A wonderful skills and mindfulness program called DBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy works very well with anger and any emotion that one feels is dysregulating.  I know in my own life and that of my patients anger is a mask for hurt and other emotions that are too sensitive for us to handle.

Being mindful of the anger, and using what is known as a chain analysis works well in helping one to figure out where it started and how you got there; More it helps you to figure out how to stop it next time it happens.

If you would like I would be happy to help you with the chain.  Just email me and I will send you a copy of it and an explaination of how to do it.  Being mindful takes work, but it sure beats the alternative.

danielle.dimieri@valueoptions.com

hopestill@cox.net

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Galaxy, Community Member
6/12/09 3:49am
Hi Kaytay, It's not quite clear from your question if you are asking about dealing with unexplained anger of your own related to Bipolar Disorder, or unexplained anger experienced towards you from someone else with Bipolar Disorder ? I fit the latter camp and can sympahise if this is the case. It is a nightmare ! If the latter is the case for you too, I have to disagree with the first respondent on some level, though they did touch on irrational thoughts later in their reply which can indeed lead to " Unexplained Anger ". There is Not always an explanation for the anger response in Bipolar the way it is coming out at you ( Except biochemical, not emotional ) from someone in a hypomanic or manic mood state, out of the blue often without any appropriate trigger or event or responsible fot it. It may well be connected with how they feel, but their feelings are often false or out of proportion , so It appears like extreme anger without genuine or equivalent cause to the level of anger displayed to the target I know, and often it is unrelated to anything you have said or done if anything at all to annoy them, though they will say it is andblame yiu or site you fir how they are feeling. This appears deliberate but is not. It is not withing their control to recognise or manage these ideas triggering the anger if they have no mental insight when high. It is often just symptomatic of soemone having gone into a high state and having inappropriate angry feelings which are not based on reality or on what is actually happening around them. The brain chemistry has become out of kilter and the excess Dopamine will lead to unexplained anger outbursts out of all proportion and for no apparent reason. That in itself is often the only explanation. Anger when there is nothing to to be angry about or completely out of proportion to any situation or potential trigger. It is often due to perceived false thoughts of some wrongdoing or dissatisfaction or discontentment in the mind of someone who is high, or sometimes when very low too, but often when hypomanic or manic, or psychotically depressed. Usually the anger dissipates once the mood returns to normal or is brought back to a more level and rational state with appropriate medications to control such false pereceptions of surrounding irritations, and they are often false indeed, and completely inexplicable to the onlooker, but remember in the mind of the Manic Mind they feel very real at the time even though they may not be based on rational thoughts, and these thoughts are often out of control of the individual unless they have a lot of insight and awareness into theit own mood state, and have learned and practiced ways of identifying these states and attempting to manange and control them at the time. This is often very difficult in the midst of an episode. Do not take the anger personally and try not to react back with anger. This will increase their stress and mania or depression without meaning to. Explain calmly what is happening and try to reassure them. They may disbelieve everything you say and just take off in rage for weeks or days or even months until thec episode passes and their thinking returns to normal or atleast improved somewhat to more rational pereceptions, and they may have no recall of feeling that way either, which is hard to understand. Often the anger appears to be connected or aimed at you, but it is not really anything to do with you. It is the illness in action distorting the persons thoughts beliliefs and hence their actions. I know only too well though how hurtful and frustarting it can feel, when you just can not penetrate the angry persons false ideas or alter them at all until the episode passes. Just try to be gentle and reassure them and encoiurage them to take their medication and seek help. Sometimes this will work and sometimes it simply will have no effect until the mood passes and they can see things back in perspective and rationally again. In the meantime talk to peole and perhaps attend a self help group fir your own support and to alow to vent your own frustration and upset in facing this very distressing aspect of Bipola Disorder oif you are a partner or carer on thec reciving end of irrational anger. It os often just that, completely irrational and comes from nowhere. It is usually related to the high levels of irritability, intolerance and frustration the person experiences when hypomanic or manic brought about by a rush of over stimulating brain chemicals prediminantly Dopamine which they can not control. This ma be due to missed or ineffective medication, or external stresses to whivh they have over reacted. If they could control the dopamine surge they would not have Bipolar Disorder. It is not theitr fault . This is a illness of disregulated Brain function just like diabetes is an ilnness of disregulated insulin. They can help to manage it better with lifestyle changes and correct medication and therapy more effectively. Take good care of yourself at these times. get sufficinet rest and see calm frineds who can supportv you. Anger can really be unpleasant especially if uyou know you have not doen all these things the manic person is accusing you of. Remember it is not your loved one at all, It is thec illness talking, and they are out of character but really need medical/psychiatric help at that time if you can help them get it. Encoiurage them to do all the self management thong swhich naturally calm them down in time. Llok up self management in Bipolar Disorder for advice on this. There is some very good literature out there by Julie fast . Easier said than done I know. Good luck Ionabreeze. Reply
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By kaytay, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/26/11, First Published: 06/09/09