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Anger and irritability Talking Therapies

Anger and irritability

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Some of the common symptoms of anger and irritability

Have you been feeling?

  • angry
  • irritable
  • restless
  • on edge
  • uptight
  • full of rage
  • frustrated
  • stressed

Have you had thoughts like?

  • ‘I/they have ruined everything’
  • ‘I/they have let me down’
  • ‘I can’t trust myself/anyone’
  • ‘I/they deserve this’
  • ‘If I do it, I will not be able to control myself’
  • ‘I/they have made a fool of me’

Have you noticed?

  • poor concentration or poor memory
  • you are thinking the worst of people
  • everything seems like a big problem
  • you are more snappy and irritable than usual
  • you are shouting or arguing
  • you are avoiding situations
  • you are verbally or physically aggressive
  • you are becoming tearful/emotional
  • your heart pounding in your chest
  • a stomach-churning sensation
  • you are sweating excessively

Possible causes of anger and irritability

  • Learnt behaviour – You can learn unhelpful ways to deal with situations that can result in you feeling angry. If you struggle to express your feelings, particularly anger, you may find yourself low in mood as a result of not expressing your anger or frustration in a safe and responsible way. Your childhood or life experiences may be the reason for this.
  • Stressful life events – These can be unwelcome or traumatic, such as being bullied at work, getting divorced or being attacked/abused.
  • Pressure – You may be under pressure at home or work, feel trapped or unable to problem solve certain issues.
  • Negative thinking – Sometimes you may start to think negatively due to an event or situation, this can then become a habit and part of your general outlook; you may not even be aware of how negatively you were thinking or how this is impacting on you.
  • Anxious personality type – you may have certain thinking styles which are part of your personality that can lead to you feeling anxious.

How common is anger and irritability?

  • 12% of the population struggle to manage their anger and irritability.
  • 1 in 4 people have reported worrying about how angry they can feel.
  • Anger can commonly be felt when someone is feeling low in mood or anxious. Low mood and Anxiety affects one 1 in 10 adults at some stage in their lifetime.

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