Anger, like other heavy emotions, can cloud our thinking and encourage us to make irrational decisions. The pain that comes with it prompts us to seek relief, and it’s within this need for relief that trouble with alcohol and drugs begins.
Addiction and anger exacerbate each other, understanding the relationship between the two can help addicts cope in a healthy way and steer clear of a worsening condition.
How Are Addiction and Anger Issues Related
The emotional pain induced by anger is a conduit to addiction as it generates a need for relief. But it doesn’t end there, the train runs both ways as it’s not uncommon for addiction and anger to feed from one another creating a vicious cycle.
Drugs and alcohol release massive amounts of dopamine in their subjects creating feelings of pleasure and relief, but they come at a high cost; substance abuse creates chemical imbalances in the brain, damaging dopamine receptors, decreasing reward sensitivity, and leading to negative emotions like anger.
There is also the issue of anger as an addictive behavior. Anger releases adrenaline in the body, which is like blood to a vampire for addicts whose bodies and minds are already sensitive to addictive stimuli, hooking them onto an anger “high”.
The Addiction and Anger Cycle
Addiction and anger work together like a vicious cycle.
The addict seeks to soothe his or her anger with drugs or alcohol → Drugs and alcohol create an emotional imbalance → The addict becomes easily angry and irritated → The need to find relief re-appears → More alcohol and/or drugs are consumed → The cycle repeats itself.
Managing Anger Without Alcohol or Drugs
Anger can be overwhelming for addicts in ways that non-addicts can barely grasp. The way heightened emotion consumes the will of an addict can lead to violent and dangerous behaviors that should not be ignored; professional help is always suggested.
Treating addiction, without treating the underlying anger, is like putting out a flammable-gas-induced fire without turning off the gas, the flame will keep burning for as long as the flammable gas is flowing.
Fortunately, Addicts suffering from addiction don’t have to turn to drugs or alcohol to resolve anger issues. In most accredited rehab facilities, anger management treatments are available as part of dual-diagnosis treatment programs.
Dual-diagnosis treatments provided in rehab facilities will commonly include cognitive behavioral therapy treatments, as well as an anger management plan as highlighted in SAMHSA’s anger management manual.
Anger management strategies suggested by SAMHSA include:
- Taking a timeout
- Talking to a friend or someone you trust
- Using a conflict resolution model
- Exercising or taking a walk
- Attending 12-step meetings
- Identifying triggers and primary feelings beneath the anger
- Recognizing warning signs
Addiction Treatment Centers That Offer Anger Management
Addicts that are also experiencing anger issues or whose anger is fueling their addiction need to attend a dual-diagnosis treatment center to be able to better treat their condition.
A dual-diagnosis is uniquely difficult for the addict as both the addiction and the secondary condition exacerbate the problem, making it difficult and sometimes impossible to heal one without the other.
As a result, it’s critical that the addict seeks treatment at a center that is capable of treating both conditions.
Ava Recovery is a luxury rehab located in Buda, Texas – right outside of Austin. Ava Recovery offers a world-class luxury experience at their evidence-based, drug and alcohol rehab facility. The recovery professionals at Ava Recovery are experts at dual diagnosis treatment and can provide you or your loved one the help needed to get sober and life-long tools to keep anger issues at bay.
Contact Ava Recovery to speak to a specialist and find a treatment that’s best suited for you or your loved ones.