Anger management and addiction

While anger is typically associated with aggression and conflict, it isn’t always negative. In fact, when expressed in the right way, anger can improve communication and problem-solving, encouraging personal growth and social progress. However, the challenge lies in managing anger effectively; when mishandled or expressed destructively, it can become a serious issue. On this page, we explore the link between anger management issues and addiction and what to do if you need help with both issues.

What are anger management issues?

Anger management issues refer to the consistent trouble in controlling anger or reactions to situations that provoke anger. Anger management issues might manifest through various behaviours and symptoms, including but not limited to:

  • Frequent anger: A tendency to get angry more often than is considered normal or reasonable.
  • Intense anger: Feeling intense emotions that are disproportionate to the situation.
  • Prolonged anger: Anger that lasts for a long time or is difficult to dissipate.
  • Physical aggression: Acting out in physical violence or threats of violence against others.
  • Verbal aggression: Yelling, arguing, or using words to hurt or demean others.
  • Passive aggression: Indirectly expressing anger through sarcasm, silent treatment, or other non-direct means.
  • Difficulty calming down: Struggling to regain composure after becoming angry.
  • Impulsive reactions: Responding to situations impulsively when angry, often regretting actions later.
  • Damage to relationships: Experiencing repeated issues in relationships due to reactions and behaviours when angry.
  • Legal or financial problems: Facing legal issues or financial loss due to actions taken in anger.

How do I know if I have anger management issues?

Recognising anger management issues is an important step in addressing and managing them effectively. Here are six questions that you could ask yourself to assess whether or not anger is becoming an issue for you:

Do you often find yourself getting angry over seemingly small or insignificant matters?
If minor inconveniences or routine disturbances frequently provoke intense anger, it might suggest a difficulty in managing emotions appropriately.
Do you find it hard to calm down after getting angry?
Struggling to regain composure after an anger episode can indicate issues with managing and resolving angry feelings.
Have your outbursts of anger led to negative consequences in your personal or professional life?
If anger has damaged relationships, work opportunities, or has led to disciplinary actions, it suggests that the anger is not being managed healthily.
Do people close to you express concern about your temper?
Feedback from friends, family, or colleagues about one’s temper or reactions can be a significant indicator that one’s anger is more noticeable and problematic than realised.
Do you feel regret or embarrassment after getting angry?
Feelings of guilt, regret, or embarrassment about actions taken or words spoken in anger suggest a recognition that the anger is excessive or misplaced.
Do you rely on aggressive behaviour or outbursts to get what you want or to express yourself?
Using anger or aggression as a tool to communicate needs or emotions can be harmful and indicates a reliance on unhealthy mechanisms for interaction.

Answering ‘yes’ to these questions might suggest that anger is being managed in ways that could be harmful to yourself and others. Acknowledging these signs is a crucial step toward seeking help or adopting healthier strategies for dealing with anger. It’s important to consider consulting with a mental health professional who can provide personalised guidance and support in developing effective anger management skills.

Is there a link between anger management issues and addiction?

The relationship between anger management issues and addiction is complex and multifaceted. While one does not directly cause the other, their interplay can exacerbate both conditions, leading to a cycle that’s challenging to break. Here are some scenarios where unmanageable anger management issues could lead to addiction and vice versa:

1. Using substances as a coping mechanism

People with unmanaged anger may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate. They might find that these substances temporarily numb their intense emotions or help them feel less agitated. Over time, this can develop into a dependency as the person continues to rely on substances to cope with anger, instead of developing healthy emotional regulation skills. In fact, research suggests that those with poor coping skills to stressors could be more likely to turn to substances as a way to cope. In this scenario, anger would be the stressor.

2. Addiction exacerbates anger issues

For someone struggling with addiction, substance use can amplify existing emotional regulation problems, including anger. This can happen for several reasons, such as the physiological effects of the substances, withdrawal symptoms, or the stress of maintaining the addiction. As a result, a person might experience more frequent or intense episodes of anger. Research suggests that in the United States alone, drugs have played a significant role in violent behaviour, with 35% of all acts of violence being committed by people under the influence of substances. Also, up to 92% of domestic violence incidents can be attributed to issues related to problematic substance use. This shows a clear link between substance use, anger and violence.

3. Anger as a trigger for relapse

For those in recovery from addiction, unmanaged anger can be a significant relapse trigger. The stress and emotional turmoil caused by anger episodes might push someone to seek out their previous coping mechanism (substance use) as a form of relief. This highlights the importance of integrated treatment approaches that address both addiction and emotional regulation issues.

4. Social and relationship problems leading to isolation

Both anger management and addiction can lead to social and relationship problems, which in turn can cause isolation. Feeling isolated or alienated can increase the risk of substance use, as people may use drugs or alcohol to fill the void or ease feelings of loneliness or rejection. This isolation can also remove important support systems that could otherwise help manage anger or addiction.

5. Impulsive behaviour linked to both conditions

Impulsivity is a trait associated with both addiction and anger management issues. A person may impulsively use substances in response to anger or stress without considering the long-term consequences. Similarly, impulsivity can lead to outbursts of anger, further complicating addiction by reinforcing the cycle of emotional dysregulation and substance use.

6. Shared underlying causes

Often, both addiction and anger management issues stem from underlying factors such as trauma, mental health disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety), or past experiences. These underlying issues can contribute to both the development of addiction and difficulties in managing anger, suggesting that addressing these root causes is crucial for effective treatment.

Are there treatment options for both anger and addiction?

Quitting addictive behaviours on your own can be incredibly difficult, which is why we see rehabilitation as the most effective and reliable path to overcoming addiction.

We’re deeply aware that addictions often go hand-in-hand with mental health challenges, leading us to focus on treating co-occurring disorders within our programme. At Sanctuary Lodge, we’re here to provide support on your journey to recovery from addiction. Our team is also equipped to assist you in managing any challenges, including anger. We’re committed to your well-being every step of the way.

For those battling substance addiction, we can provide a medically supervised detox. Recognising the underlying causes of anger and addiction is a tough step, but it’s crucial for lasting healing.

Our therapy options are thoughtfully designed to address both addiction and anger management, offering a holistic approach to your recovery journey:

One-to-one counselling

This personalised form of therapy allows you to work closely with a counsellor in a private setting. It provides a safe space to explore the depths of your addiction and the anger that may accompany it. Through one-to-one counselling, you can uncover underlying issues and develop coping strategies which ensure that both your addiction and any associated anger are addressed comprehensively.

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) offers a holistic approach to address addiction and anger management, integrating principles from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with mindfulness and interpersonal effectiveness. By enhancing self-awareness, regulating emotions, and improving communication skills, DBT equips individuals with the tools to manage stress, triggers, and cravings effectively. This comprehensive approach fosters resilience, empowers individuals to navigate challenges, and promotes sustainable recovery and emotional well-being.


Yoga offers a unique blend of physical exercise and mental discipline, aiding in the management of both addiction and anger. The practice of yoga encourages stress reduction and emotional regulation, which are vital in overcoming addictive behaviours and managing anger. The physical aspects of yoga also release tension and promote a sense of well-being, making it easier to navigate the challenges of recovery.

Group therapy

Participating in group therapy sessions allows you to share your experiences and learn from others who are facing similar challenges. This collective experience can reduce feelings of isolation and offer diverse perspectives on managing addiction and anger. The supportive environment encourages openness and provides a platform for discussing strategies to handle triggers and emotional responses.

Family counselling

Addiction and anger can strain family relationships, making family counselling a crucial component of recovery. This form of therapy involves family members in the recovery process, helping to heal relationships and improve communication. By addressing the impact of addiction and anger on the family, counselling can create a supportive home environment that is conducive to long-term recovery.

What’s next?

Dealing with addiction and the overwhelming waves of anger that comes with it can be incredibly tough, leaving you feeling drained emotionally and physically. At Sanctuary Lodge, we’re dedicated to guiding you through breaking the chains of addiction and discovering healthier outlets for your anger. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. A welcoming member of our support team is ready to assist you in starting your path to recovery.

Frequently asked questions

What addictions are commonly associated with anger management?
While anger management issues can stem from various sources, common addictions associated with them include substance abuse (such as alcohol or drugs) and behavioural addictions (like gambling or gaming). These addictions often exacerbate feelings of anger and can complicate the management process.


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