Anger and Addiction: How to Manage Your Anger in Recovery

Struggling with both anger and addiction can be a nightmare if you don’t learn how to cope with the situation.

Feeling depressed, angry and anxious, are normal reactions when someone is struggling with a substance abuse problem. It may seem like the combination of anger and addiction is impossible to handle, but with the right mindset and support, you can find a middle ground and recover.

Anger and sobriety may sound like two different concepts, and not at all related. But, truth is, there is a lot emotional baggage that comes with addiction. In fact, someone’s emotional state can be the primary reason why a person starts abusing drugs or alcohol.

Many abusers and addicts have a hard time expressing the emotional causes of their anger. And it is highly common for them to feel angry at themselves because of their addiction, because of their inability to control their cravings, because of their health or financial state due to the abuse problem, etc.

In many ways, anger and addiction are an explosive combination; bottled-up feelings, not being able – or willing – to deal with a traumatic experience, the built-up resentment, and not getting appropriate help or support, can all lead to substance abuse and addiction.

In other cases, a person may be experiencing anger and addiction as two co-occurring disorders. When someone suffers from a dual diagnosis like this, they need the guidance and support of a high-quality treatment center than can address both issues at the same time.

Some anger addiction symptoms a person struggling with a dual diagnosis may be showing, can include:

  • Physical aggressiveness: punching, screaming, kicking, hitting, etc.
  • Threatening: whether about hurting the people around them, or themselves
  • Yelling: expressing negative feelings through heavy screaming episodes
  • Violent thoughts: expressing feelings or fantasies of wanting to hurt someone
  • Blocking themselves: through alcohol or drugs, in a way to numb their feelings

In many cases, if the person has received a dual-diagnosis, the anger addiction symptoms may come in stronger episodes, that could reflect the existence of an oppositional defiant disorder, bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder or an intermittent explosive disorder.

The substance abuse of preference, in these cases, will almost always be a depressant, like alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and opioids. When a person is showing anger addiction symptoms, and at the same time it’s possible to tell they are abusing drugs or alcohol, immediate professional help should be sought so they can recover.

When it comes to anger and sobriety, it is quite normal for a person in recovery to feel angry and anxious, and not really able to express the reason behind their feelings. That is why therapeutic rehabilitation is such a central and important part of the recovery journey, because only through psychotherapy will the person be able to address the emotional and psychological causes behind their anger and their addiction problem.

Moreover, anger and sobriety are concepts that – once addressed in therapy – can lead to an empathic stage for the recovering patient. This means that, once the patient has been able to address the emotional baggage that has led to so much anger, they can see themselves differently.

This produces a change in the way a person sees their addiction, helps them forgive themselves and have a different and more-positive mindset. In a way, it provokes the necessary change so the person can refocus on their well being, and take it as a serious goal.

Fortunately, there are many accredited treatment facilities that have the tools and resources to address these situations accordingly and ensure that a patient recovers.

Getting better is possible, and you can start your journey right now.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.