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The emotion of anger may be considered a natural part of human psychology, one that can have benefits in certain circumstances. Rage, on the other hand, can be seen as a more specific type of anger that may be linked to mental health concerns and, in some cases, violence. Rage may be managed through relaxing the body, reframing thoughts, removing yourself from the situation, understanding your triggers, and attending anger management classes. You may also find it beneficial to work with a therapist in person or online.
What Is Rage, And How Is It Different From Anger?
Before exploring the symptoms of rage in more detail, it may be worth understanding the relationship between anger and rage.
The American Psychological Association generally defines anger as “an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.” Anger may manifest as feelings of intense frustration, dislike, or irritation. It may arise due to emotional conflicts, threats, or other situations in which you feel somehow harmed by something another person has done or said. It may come with distinct symptoms, such as an increase in blood pressure or heart rate, an adrenaline rush, or an urge to respond aggressively or defensively.
Anger may not always be a bad thing. It may be connected to the fight-or-flight response, the body’s way of alerting us to a threat, which can be why, in some cases, anger can be helpful in encouraging a person to take action or respond to a source of conflict.
However, left unchecked, anger may also have the potential to develop into rage, a specific type of anger that may be more destructive.
The American Psychological Association normally defines rage as “intense, typically uncontrolled anger.” How rage manifests may vary depending on the individual and circumstances. That being said, symptoms of rage may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Extreme agitation or stress
- Trembling or shaking
- Feelings of intense hatred or hostility
- Physical aggression
Rage And Mental Health
Given the potential intensity of rage as an emotion, it may be important to consider its possible relationship to mental health and overall well-being.
In some cases, bouts of rage may be a symptom of an underlying mental health condition. These may include, but are not limited to, those listed below:
- Intermittent explosive disorder, in which individuals typically experience repeated, unexpected episodes of extreme anger, violence, or aggression
- Bipolar disorder, in which individuals may experience periods of mania, depression, or intense anger
- Substance use disorders, which may cause a person to act aggressively or violently under the influence of substances or alcohol
- Depression or intense stress, which may both contribute to angry outbursts
If you find yourself experiencing distressing symptoms related to rage, it may be a good idea to consult a healthcare provider or mental health specialist.
Those who regularly experience fits of rage may experience side effects, such as the following:
- Increased levels of stress or anxiety
- Trouble sleeping
- Muscle tension, aches, and pains
- Conflict at work or at home
- Challenges in relationships
- High blood pressure
These side effects, among others, may have detrimental impacts on an individual’s health or personal and professional life. Left unchecked, rage may also contribute to physical violence, potentially leading to legal troubles. These side effects may illustrate the importance of developing strategies for managing and responding to rage in a constructive way.
Strategies For Managing Rage
While intense anger may have potentially distressing effects, various strategies may help you manage and respond to it in a healthy way.
Relax Your Body
Techniques to calm the body and nervous system may be helpful in reducing the physical symptoms of anger. This, in turn, may reduce the intensity of the thoughts and emotions related to the anger. These strategies might include practices like deep breathing or box breathing, physical exercise, or progressive muscle relaxation, among others.
Reframe Your Thoughts
Anger may, at times, make thoughts and beliefs seem more intense or important than they really are. It may also lead to skewed perceptions of events. For example, “I’m going to be late for work, so now my whole day is ruined.” By reframing these thoughts (for instance, “I may be late for work today. What steps can I take to reduce the effects this has on my productivity?”), it may be possible to gain perspective and objectivity.
Remove Yourself From The Situation
If you feel an intense bout of anger coming on, removing yourself from the situation entirely may be helpful for getting space, clearing your head, and gaining perspective. Practices like going for a walk, stepping outside for a moment, or even going into another room may be helpful for defusing the situation and allowing you to return to it when you’re calmer.
Understand Your Triggers
Knowing what tends to cause episodes of anger may be helpful for taking steps to prevent them. Consider making a list of events, situations, or interactions in which you’ve noticed yourself responding with anger. If a pattern emerges, you may be able to prevent the trigger in future situations. For instance, if you notice that driving on the freeway tends to make you angry, you might consider taking the bus or using side streets.
Attend Anger Management Classes
Someone who frequently experiences rage might consider taking an anger management class. Anger management classes can help people learn how to control and manage rage, and they may also help affected individuals determine the underlying causes of their anger. Someone who genuinely experiences rage on a regular basis may find it valuable to seek help in a structured setting.
For some, managing rage may be doable through the above strategies. However, some individuals may find themselves in need of extra support in learning to manage their rage in a way that is constructive and sustainable. In these cases, seeking therapy may be a helpful strategy.
Anger management therapy may be a useful tool for learning to recognize the triggers of rage, reframe thoughts that contribute to feelings of rage, and develop coping strategies for responding to rage healthily. This might take the form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a more specialized form of CBT known as stress inoculation therapy, or another form of treatment, depending on your individual needs and goals.
However, in-person therapy for anger management may not always be available to those without insurance, or to those whose insurance doesn’t cover counseling of anger. With costs that can reach as high as $200 per hour, this may make attending face-to-face therapy less feasible.
Benefits Of Online Therapy
Online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp may be a useful alternative, with prices starting at $65 per week and the ability to send messages to a counselor outside of scheduled therapy sessions. An online therapy platform can also make it simple to connect with a licensed mental health professional who has experience helping others overcome rage. Online therapy can be helpful for those experiencing challenges related to anger. One study from 2023 found that an internet-based therapy program generally led to reduced symptoms of anger and aggression among participants.
What are the dangers of letting anger rage out of control?
Some of the risks of unrestrained anger may include the following:
- Physical abuse
- Social isolation
- Job loss
- Legal trouble
- Health concerns
Violent anger and murderous rage can be dangerous to yourself and others, and it can be crucial to learn how to keep them under control. It may be the case that deep-seated emotional pain contributes to this fury. A therapist can help you understand the underlying causes of raging and violent behavior and address them accordingly.
If you or a loved one is witnessing or experiencing any form of abuse, please know that help is available. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline anytime at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
How do you deal with feelings of rage?
The word rage, from the late Latin “rabia,” can be seen in phrases like “The fire raged through the building,” and “The manager raged at his employees,” as well as “That new style is all the rage.” Rage is often defined as violent, uncontrollable anger.
In the moment, it can be helpful to step away, take deep breaths, and count to 10. To manage rage long-term, consider working with a licensed therapist or attending an anger management support group. Although it can be normal to feel mad sometimes, especially in the face of injustice, it’s often beneficial to learn how to channel that feeling into productive behavior. Angry rages rarely end well.
Do anger and rage make you stronger?
Since anger can result in the release of adrenaline, it can provide you with more power and strength than usual. This can make angry rages destructive and frightening in many cases.
Is rage a defense mechanism?
Anger and rage can be common defense mechanisms that often shield a person from experiencing sadness and other uncomfortable emotions. The fire of anger can keep a person from realizing their true emotions.
How do you let out rage without going crazy?
Healthy ways to release rage may include exercise, journaling, singing, dancing, and creative outlets.
What do you call a person who gets angry easily?
A person who gets angry easily can be referred to as short-tempered or hot-headed. This type of person may frequently experience road rage or display madness over seemingly small incidents.
Can rage be cured?
Although anger can be a normal human emotion and, therefore, may not be avoided completely, inappropriate rage can be managed and expressed in healthy ways. Often, this takes therapy and anger management training. This type of treatment can be very effective, and people who previously raged over upsetting experiences can frequently learn how to channel their anger in a healthier way.
How do you not get affected by others' behavior?
There are a few strategies you may use to avoid being affected by others’ behavior:
- Take responsibility for your own emotions
- Set healthy boundaries with others
- Focus on your own well-being and cultivate self-confidence
Why do we want to break things when we’re angry?
When we’re angry, our brains typically release adrenaline, which can increase aggression. We may view breaking things as a way to release tension and relieve anger, but it can have the opposite effect.
How do you ignore someone who is trying to provoke you?
It can be best to remove yourself from the situation if possible. If the situation is taking place inside and you no longer feel comfortable indoors, try going outside for some fresh air. Otherwise, you might simply choose not to engage and mentally distract yourself. Try to remind yourself why reacting to the person who is attempting to provoke you won’t be worth it.
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