Alcoholism & Anger Management: Mental Health & Addiction

alcoholism and anger triggers

Understanding this dynamic highlights the importance of mindfulness and caution regarding alcohol consumption, particularly for individuals prone to anger-related challenges. Anger, a normal emotion, can be manifested in various behaviors ranging from mild irritation to explosive outbursts. When alcohol enters the equation, its impact on our neurobiology becomes essential to understand. Alcohol has a significant impact on our social landscape, from casual gatherings to formal events. However, it acts as a potential catalyst for heightened emotional responses, particularly anger.

How to find support for anger and alcohol misuse

  • Alcohol can provoke different emotional responses for different people.
  • Positive memories of drinking, paired with the minimized recollection of negative consequences, lead to unrealistic expectations about drinking.
  • The morning after a night out can be rough—grappling with a pounding headache, nausea and a tidal wave of anxiety.
  • For example, suppose you see a friend or person in your surroundings with violent behavior after drinking alcohol.

And all too often, as in Ryan’s case, it reflects displacement, directing anger toward a target that is not the source of an individual’s original anger. Under the influence of alcohol, those already predisposed toward anger may vent or, more seriously, direct their anger toward a target that might be experienced as less threatening than the original target. Attending one-on-one therapy with a licensed therapist can help you work through anger issues in a more private setting.

alcoholism and anger triggers

What Are the Strategies for Anger Management?

I’m also a first-generation American and proud Latina so I’m especially passionate about supporting individuals with diverse backgrounds. In addition to being a Forbes Senior Contributor, you can find me on LinkedIn and my blog at My work is also regularly featured in publications including the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Inc., Success Magazine and many others. Throughout the day following heavy drinking, you may find it hard to stay awake, but anxiety can also make falling asleep difficult, creating a hellish tug-of-war.

Take the First Step Towards a Healthier Life

As a depressant, alcohol slows central nervous system activity, limiting inhibitions and promoting impulsive behaviors – including anger issues. Abuse during childhood increases the risk for alcohol use disorders in both adolescence and in adulthood. This is particularly true for children who grow up in alcoholic homes, researchers report. When the body experiences stress, or even perceived stress, it mobilizes a variety of physiological and behavioral changes via the nervous and endocrine systems to achieve a goal of maintaining homeostasis and coping with stress. With some insight into factors that can cause rage or aggression while drinking, you can take steps to avoid certain behaviors. Alcohol consumption may also lead to a rage response because of expectations, according to researchers (1).

  • When a situation doesn’t match up with our preconceived expectations, we can get easily frustrated.
  • While anger isn’t necessarily a side effect of alcoholism, drinking to “dull” or “numb” the anger (or other emotions) isn’t just ineffective – it could be a sign that it’s time to seek help for some deeper issues.
  • Kelly Siebold is a postpartum depression and anxiety survivor, Founder and CEO of Thrive Postpartum, and podcast host who helps moms struggling with maternal mental health issues after experiencing them herself.

If you believe you’re displaying more than one of these behaviors, you might be dealing with a dry drunk syndrome or another co-occurring disorder in your recovery. Consider speaking with an addiction therapist to discuss your feelings and explore the various treatment outlets to find happiness and fulfillment in your sober life. As if that wasn’t complex enough, anger can also result from inherited tendencies or brain chemistry.

alcoholism and anger triggers

Is There a “Safe” Amount of Alcohol for the Brain?

Heavy drinkers can experience severe and sometimes life threatening symptoms when reducing alcohol intake, so it’s important to have medical support. Anger expression may also be confused with aggression or hostility, two consequences of drinking commonly cited in research. The link between alcohol and aggression has been established since the 1990s, and a World Health Organization (WHO) committee in the 2000s noted aggression is more closely linked to alcohol use than any other psychoactive substance. Specifically, it found that problematic drinkers may be more likely to attend to aggressogenic stimuli while intoxicated, and that is, they were more likely to experience certain cues as aggressive. Consuming alcohol can serve as a distraction from a range of negative feelings, including anger.

alcoholism and anger triggers

What is Cotton Fever: Myths, Facts & Treatment Options

Since this research was conducted, the study of predictors of outcome has progressed substantially (c.f., Adamson, Sellman & Frampton, 2009 for a review). Alcohol withdrawal can be potentially life-threatening, in the case of severe dependence. Medical detox is typically considered the optimal method for allowing alcohol to safely alcoholism and anger process out of the body while under continual medical supervision. When people have difficulty controlling impulses, trouble regulating their emotions, or may present a danger to themselves and/or others, medical detox is required. Medical detox programs are often the first stage in a comprehensive addiction treatment program.

  • Through empathy and support, we can create environments that nurture healthier relationships with both alcohol and emotions.
  • Sessions began with reviews of cravings, high-risk situations, and any alcohol consumption between each session.
  • In the late 80s I worked in an inpatient program for women who self-injure.
  • Second, although therapists completed intensive training and training cases, measures of therapist adherence or competence were not obtained.

For example, suppose you see a friend or person in your surroundings with violent behavior after drinking alcohol. In that case, you may react the same way because of excessive exposure to such harmful environments and behaviors. Similarly, a low socioeconomic background can also make you express anger outbursts more often. The terms “anger” and “aggression” are usually used interchangeably; however, there is a difference between Anger and aggression. Anger is an emotion experienced when you feel threatened and frustrated, while aggression is a behavior in which you can harm yourself, your family, and others. It is important to note that anger is a normal human response, but it can be warped and misdirected, causing problems for you and those around you.

The Effects of Being Angry at Work

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