We all lose our tempers at times, even in normal daily life. Simple frustration or irritation can drive emotions off track, add physical tension, increased heart rate, and trouble breathing. However, there is anger, and then there is rage. Acting out in response to those issues of anger can be dangerous. Sometimes they are childlike tantrums that are explosive and disruptive, or an intermittent explosive disorder (IED). Diagnosis of IED may not be totally clear, existing within and even outside psychiatric issues. Luckily, there have been many treatments developed over the past couple of decades.
Definition of a Bad Temper
The expression of anger can sometimes appear easily and often in one's typical behavior. A bad temper can be anything from unsuitable to inappropriate or unhealthy. So, when "bad" is related to our tempers, it refers to the following:
Anger is often referred to as a "short fuse." Someone may throw a sort of tantrum in response to a stressful situation, especially one that should not be that stressful—something like being stuck in congested traffic or simply being angry at the end of the workday, though nothing is really "wrong." This can also be related to one's "mood" and what can cause changes in mood, along with how often and easily these changes occur.
A bad temper can also be a certain poor or negative response that someone repeatedly has in a specific situation. Some frequent quotes that represent a bad temper may be things like the following:
While it is also the response that is displayed to any certain situation, this may also be about one's common state of mind or type of mood. Again, this could be with specific events or situations, but it could also be about someone's mood or temper overall.
Identify Bad Temper in Yourself
While it may not be easy to diagnose yourself due to personal bias, there are some questions you can ask yourself, to help evaluate the level at which your temper may be affecting your daily life. Do you yell when you are cut off in traffic? Do you become incredibly tense when your morning trip to work is delayed? Do you leave work in anger mode simply because it has been slightly stressful?
With any of these challenges, you may see a short fuse in yourself and know that some further evaluation or work on calming methods is needed. Some of this work can be done on your own, thus helping improve your quality of life and relationships.
Online self-assessments are often only a simple clue to what the problem may be. Make sure that the test is professionally written and published by a psychology professional. Still, if you believe there is a problem, a visit with a professional counselor or your physician would be the best step to take from there.
Signs and Symptoms of a Bad Temper
An occasional angered response does not necessarily indicate a true bad temper. A full diagnosis requires the appearance of behavioral and emotional trends, along with physical and emotional symptoms that also occur often. While it may be simply anger that plays a role in these issues, there may also be a problem with managing anger positively.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, having trouble organizing or managing your thoughts, or having intrusive thoughts about hurting yourself or others, you could be experiencing a bad temper—or an even more severe anger disorder. In response to strong emotions, there can be physical changes, eventually leading to bad temper and anger. Without managing anger and a bad temper, your physical health can be at risk. Some physical symptoms include high blood pressure, headaches, sinus pressure and more. Basically, if a bad temper takes over your mental state you can become physically uncomfortable.
If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifelinecan be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available to assist 24/7.
Potential Causes of a Bad Temper
Some triggers may cause anger or irritability, physical and psychological. These can be anxiety, busy work and lifestyles, as well as overwhelming family, social, and financial responsibilities. Something as simple as disobedient children after a long workday can add to the stress and anxiety of life. When these and other situations cause irritability, frustration tends to set in. If this begins easily, it can be a sign of a stronger anger issue.
Some of the physical causes of a bad temper include sleep deprivation, low blood sugar, diabetes, flu and many more. Babies and children often feel irritable when they are ill as well, and this can lead to anger or bad tempers throughout the home. Some additional adult medical conditions can cause hormonal changes and lead to irritability and poor tempers. These are anything from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) to menopause to hyperthyroidism.
In addition to medical problems, there are also health problems that are more related to psychological or psychiatric issues. These can be side effects to prescriptions being taken, as well as drug use, alcoholism, caffeine withdrawal or others.
How to Deal With a Bad Temper
We know that it is always important to see a medical professional if some of the symptoms of a bad temper have begun to overtake other portions of your life. While anger is a normal and healthy emotion, it must be managed positively. Uncontrolled anger can have a negative effect on many aspects of your life.
Managing a Bad Temper With BetterHelp
Studies have shown that the resources and counseling provided by online therapy can reduce symptoms in those experiencing unwanted anger. A study published by the Swedish Association of Behavioural Therapists found that online cognitive therapy was useful in managing problematic anger leading to relationship issues, low self-esteem, and violence. Researchers noted that this method significantly decreased symptoms of anger post-treatment, which adds to a large body of evidence that points to internet-based therapy as an effective alternative to face-to-face therapy. Online cognitive therapy helps to target and replace the intrusive thoughts that can lead to unwanted anger, providing the tools to recognize triggers as they happen, decrease daily stress, and increase positive interactions.
As considered above, internet-based mental health interventions can help you examine the sources of your anger, and manage and/or eliminate the symptoms. If you’re already coping with unwanted anger, the idea of dealing with traffic, sitting in a waiting room, and generally being pressed for time may sound less than ideal. With BetterHelp, you can schedule counseling on your own time, without leaving the comfort of your own home. And you’ll have the option of communicating with your therapist outside of sessions, not just when you’re in the office. Read below for reviews of counselors, from those who have experienced similar issues.
“Shawn has helped me gain a positive perspective on my life and change my focus from shortcomings or failures to my strengths and achievements. He really examines my problems carefully and provided worksheets to help me identify my goals and triggers for my anger issues. This greatly helped me to increase self-awareness.”
“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 definitely amazing at her job. 10/10 recommend.”
As mentioned before, we all end up irritated or angry from time to time. We could be tired or hungry or even slightly ill. But it is important to know if this situation has overcome you and won't go away, no matter how many of these personal and natural options you try to help yourself. There is always the option of speaking to a mental health professional. Take the first step today.