Controlling Irrational Anger

Updated November 23, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Do you find yourself getting angry over things that don’t seem to matter that much afterward? Do you often feel very angry but don’t know why?  

Everyone can have frustrating moments or times when one thing seems to spoil their whole day. However, if you frequently feel intense anger that is outsized or disproportionate to what might be causing it, or if anger has a significant impact on your life and it’s difficult to identify where it’s coming from, you may be experiencing irrational anger. While anger is a common, natural emotion that can be healthy if you know how to manage it correctly, irrational anger can be harmful to you and those around you.

If you are experiencing this, it may be helpful to consider where irrational anger may come from, ways to prevent it, and ways to address it in your life.

Possible Causes Of Irrational Anger

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Irrational Anger Can Feel Overwhelming

There can be many different possible causes for experiencing irrational anger, and sometimes, it may be a combination of factors. 

Some of these possible causes can include angering events like a terrible traffic jam, interpersonal conflict with a friend, work stress, relationship difficulties, family problems, financial stress, and experiencing significant loss, among others.

Sometimes, we may experience irrational thoughts and anger because we are very mad about something but haven’t taken the time to deal with it, and so it comes out in another situation. For instance, maybe you feel unheard and unappreciated at work, and so when someone cuts you off on the highway that afternoon, you feel overcome with anger and yell at that person. In this case, your main source of anger could be the work issues, but the traffic frustration sets you over the edge, and you end up misdirecting your emotions.

In addition, anger can also be a symptom of certain mental illnesses, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and intermittent explosive disorder. 

Ways To Prevent Irrational Anger

Experiencing irrational anger is not a pleasant experience, so how might you prevent these feelings? Depending on the cause and your particular situation, some of these strategies may work better than others, so consider what might work best for you. For instance, if the primary cause of your anger is an underlying mental health condition, seeking professional help may be the most useful approach. 

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Incorporate Healthy Habits And Relaxation Techniques

In some cases, engaging in frequent exercise, getting adequate sleep, and maintaining a balanced diet may help to prevent irrational anger by promoting physical and mental well-being, while also releasing energy. In addition, you may consider trying to incorporate relaxation techniques to help to minimize and prevent feelings of anger. These could include yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and more.

Practice Mindfulness

Another strategy you might try using to prevent this feeling is to practice mindfulness. If you start to feel angry, try to take a moment to assess your thoughts and feelings, and try to understand the reasons for the anger. This may allow you to gain a fresh perspective on the situation, calm your thoughts, and find a healthier way to address it—rather than getting carried away with irrational anger.


Sometimes, making the intentional effort to listen to the people around you and understand what they are really saying may help to prevent irrational anger from getting out of control. For instance, if you are feeling angry in the midst of an argument or interpersonal conflict, it can be easy to jump to conclusions and feel attacked and threatened. While in some cases, this may be warranted, other times, we may be having an outsized reaction; if we try to hear what the person is really saying, it may clear our judgment and allow us to assess their words more logically.

Seek Professional Help For Underlying Conditions

If you think that the irrational anger you’re experiencing is caused in part by an underlying mental health condition—such as depression, OCD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, or intermittent explosive disorder—the best prevention strategy may be to seek help from a mental health professional. In these cases, addressing the underlying cause with proper help may be the most effective approach for preventing irrational anger. 

Addressing Irrational Anger Through Therapy

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Irrational Anger Can Feel Overwhelming

Irrational anger can feel overwhelming, and at times, it can feel very difficult to deal with on your own. If you are having trouble managing it on your own, online therapy may be able to help. 

Research shows that online therapy can help with managing excessive anger.

One study examined the effects of online cognitive treatment for people experiencing problematic anger.  In this study, the individuals who received the online cognitive intervention reported “significantly lower anger levels” after four weeks than those who did not receive the treatment. This study is part of a growing body of evidence showing that online therapy is effective in helping individuals deal with a range of challenges.

If you are experiencing problematic anger, the added stress of a long commute may be the last thing you want to deal with to attend therapy. With online therapy through BetterHelp, you can connect with a licensed therapist from your home or anywhere else with an internet connection. If you experience a sudden swell of anger and want support, you may also benefit from BetterHelp’s in-app messaging, which allows you to communicate directly with your therapist at any time, and they will respond as soon as they can. 

Below, read reviews of counselors from people who have experienced similar challenges.

Counselor Reviews

“Deborah was amazing; she’s helped me find ways to deal with my anger issues and self-esteem issues that I’ve carried for most of my life in such a short amount of time. I would recommend her to anyone who struggles with these same issues. I knew I wasn’t a lost cause, but I never thought Deborah would help me learn to deal with them and solve these problems so quickly. She’s amazing at her job. 10/10 recommend.”

“Lisa has been very helpful. Ever since counseling with Lisa, my anger level has gone down immensely. She listens to everything I have to tell her & helps me deal with what’s bothering me. she has helped me get through the last couple of months. she seems to be very thorough in her counseling.”


If you experience irrational anger, it can feel discouraging and even overwhelming, but there are ways to address it. To start, you may consider examining possible causes for irrational anger, and then you might try experimenting with some of the prevention strategies discussed above. If you would like further support, online therapy may be able to help. Many people have experienced irrational anger, and there are therapists with experience helping people explore and address it. 

Learn to separate anger from behavior

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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