An Overview Of Rage & What To Do About It
Updated December 18, 2018
Reviewer Tanya Harell
Rage is defined as "violent and uncontrolled anger." As the definition states, rage is anger in its most extreme form. Individuals may experience rage when they feel as though they have been cheated, scammed, or otherwise become the victim of an unfair injustice. Rage can be quite dangerous, especially when the person undergoing this emotion fails to contain it. At its most basic level, rage is regarded as a response against a threat. Unless the threat is quite powerful or formidable, a person who acts out in rage may wreak considerable havoc upon the subject of their rage.
A Closer Look At Rage
Nine times out of ten, rage occurs when anger is left unchecked or otherwise allowed to fester. Rage can happen gradually or even immediately if the situation is intense enough. Although anger in and of itself is an emotion which should be managed, there are a variety of signs and symptoms which indicate that someone may be approaching feelings of rage.
According to Priory Group, some of the telltale signs of impending or current rage are striking or punching objects/people, violent reactions to minor ailments, hurling false accusations towards friends, relatives, or coworkers, destroying objects/property, having the same disputes over and over again, and feeling regretful after certain situations or events.
People who experience rage ongoing are also likelier to suffer from other negative emotions. Some of the most common ones are insomnia, depression, irritation, anxiety, paranoia, and social alienation. While this may come as a shock to some people, extreme, uncontrolled anger has very negative impacts on the body, mind, and entire being. Therefore, habitual rage can make people more prone to frustration regarding minor occurrences. This extreme version of anger can furthermore destroy relationships, end opportunities, and even bring about the demise of professional ventures if one is not careful.
Many specialists and great minds have studied rage. According to Psychology Today, individuals who partake in unfettered outbursts of rage may also be lacking maturity. This does not mean that anger, or even extreme anger, indicates immaturity. However, there are consequences to having bursts of rage, and in many cases, these consequences can be life-changing or devastating. The reality of these consequences would prompt most people to think about their words, actions, and results which may follow. Those who choose not to think ahead and simply act out at the moment may have other issues going on.
However, despite the immaturity associated with unfettered rage, the manner in which one handles this extreme form of anger is a choice. This idea is somewhat controversial, especially to people who frequently regard rage as being "out of control." In essence, the idea that their emotions completely rule individuals is false. Granted, there will always be certain people, events, or situations which trigger positive or negative feelings, but the way in which these feelings are managed is what makes the difference. An immature person will be ruled by their emotions, while their more mature counterparts will control their emotions. It all comes down to choices.
It is also important to understand that rage and fear occur in the same place in the brain called the limbic system and, more specifically, the amygdala. Within the limbic system is a small structure called the amygdala, a storehouse for emotional memories. It is also the area of the brain responsible for our "fight or flight" reactions, our natural survival instincts. It is the primitive part of our brain and rage happens there…ultimately rage takes over the intelligent cerebral cortex. Literally, rage and anger limits our intelligent choices on a biological level.
Since rage is one of the most extreme forms of anger, someone who frequently experiences this emotion would do well to evaluate why. Believe it or not, ongoing rage does have the power to impact one's health in a variety of ways negatively. Everyday Health explains that a person's likelihood of having a heart attack doubles within two hours of an angry, rage-induced outburst.
In light of the adverse consequences associated with rage, many individuals believe that simply suppressing their negative emotions will solve their problems. However, this train of thought is incorrect. While violent outbursts surge the probability of a heart attack, repressing rage or otherwise failing to address it healthily boosts the likelihood of undergoing coronary disease and heart disease. Strokes, anxiety, depression, lung trauma, weakened immune systems, and even shorter life spans are other consequences which often follow ongoing anger and rage.
How To Deal
While the devastating aftermath of rage is well documented, so are the management techniques. One of the most efficient manners of handling anger is to walk away simply. This can be easier said than done, especially for people who are prone to experiencing rage amongst family members or coworkers. However, taking a minute for yourself can be incredibly conducive. It is almost always better than saying or doing something which is later regretted.
If one particular person, place, or environment is frequently engendering rage, it may be time to question whether or not it truly believes in your life. Making new friends, ending a relationship, or seeking out new employment may be initially difficult or trying, but in the long run, it will be worth it. Nobody deserves to be around people or situations which constantly upset them; this is emotional, physically, and psychologically unhealthy. Sometimes, the most effective way of dealing with rage is removing yourself from the source which causes it.
When Rage Is Directed Towards Yourself
When most individuals think of rage, they generally regard it as an emotion which is directed towards other people or external circumstances. While this manifestation of rage is most common, there are also exceptions. There are certain cases where people experience what Psych Guides refer to as self-inflicted anger. As the name suggests, self-inflicted anger is a type of rage which occurs when someone feels displeased with themselves. Usually, there is also a level of guilt associated with this type of rage. Unfortunately, self-inflicted anger or rage is the most toxic of all; it is not something which one can simply walk away from.
Anyone who finds themselves affected by self-inflicted anger needs to understand several things. First and foremost comes the reality that the past cannot be changed. This means that no amount of discontentment, rage, anger, or guilt will right past wrongs. Depending on the source of one's rage, self-inflicted anger may not even be justified. Regardless, this is still something which must be addressed. Someone who feels angry or guilty about the way they behaved or handled a certain situation should attempt to talk to the persons involved.
If a civil conversation is not feasible, then simply what has passed and forgiving oneself is paramount. Not everything can be changed or fixed. The closure does not always happen. Nonetheless, the decision to remain angry or enraged with oneself is always a decision, albeit a bad one.
Looking Into Anger Management Classes
Rarely do people like the idea of going to anger management classes; however, someone who frequently experiences rage might do well to consider taking a class or two. According to U.S. News, the telltale signs of requiring anger management are as follows: increasing amounts of anger, inability to control anger, the state of anger adversely impacting one's personal life, professional relationships, etc.
Anger management classes come with a variety of benefits and upsides. Not only do they teach people how to control and manage rage, but they moreover help affected individuals determine the underlying causes of their anger. Someone who genuinely experiences rage on a daily or ongoing basis has deeper seated issues which must be addressed. The willingness to tackle these issues before they bring about ruin or destruction is a good thing. Despite the mild stigma which surrounds seeking out professional help, such as anger management, there is nothing wrong with asking for outside guidance when it's necessary.
A Final Word
Anger and rage are never pleasant emotions. Ideally, anger should be addressed, managed, and dealt with before it becomes the rage. People, places, or environments which ongoingly induce rage should be avoided as frequently as possible. The plethora of health risks and damage which can be brought about as a result of rage are simply not worth it. Your emotional, mental, and psychological health are what truly matters at the end of the day.
Here at BetterHelp, we pride ourselves on providing world-class advice and guidance to those who reach out to us. We understand that life is different for everyone. Each person has their unique ups and downs. Each person will experience joy and pain, happiness and sadness. However, the manner in which people handle the highs and lows of life is what truly matters and makes the difference. Handling anger and rage in constructive manners is always advisable, unlike lashing out, whether physically or verbally.
It is very important for each person to realize that there is nothing wrong with seeking help. Unfortunately, some people have been led to believe that asking for assistance is a sign of weakness. This belief couldn't be more inaccurate. There is nothing wrong with taking steps to better your mental health and quality of life. There is nothing wrong with taking anger management classes or sitting down to have a conversation with a counselor or therapist. Never allow anyone to convince yours otherwise.
No matter who you are or what you may be going through, BetterHelp will always be one click away. You can contact us here at any time.