How Effective Are Anger Management Groups?

Updated October 7, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Anger is a normal emotion and affects everyone at least once in their lives (and probably a lot more). The average person gets angry at least once a week. According to Dr. Stephen Gislason, anger is the most dominant human emotion, so it is quite natural to feel angry at times. However, there are some who are unable to control these feelings. These people may have a behavioral or emotional disorder such as an anger management disorder. There are many types of anger disorders, and they each have their symptoms and treatments.

Peer Anger Management Groups Can Be Helpful For Coping

Types Of Anger Disorders

Understanding your anger disorder can be difficult to do on your own. All you know is that you get mad, and then bad things happen. Some anger disorders can cause blackouts, and you may not even know what happens when you get mad. Since there are several types of anger disorders, it is a good idea to get familiar with them. The following are the most common anger disorders.

ADHD Or Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder

The most common disorders treated in children and teens, ADHD affects approximately 5% of all children. This disorder is typically discovered when the child enters school. You may get reports or concerns from the teachers or principal about your child disrupting class, not staying in their seat, being easily distracted, running and jumping during class, talking constantly, showing aggression, and becoming angry. But this disorder does not just affect children and teens; adults can have ADHD too. When an adult finds out they have ADHD; it is typically because it was not diagnosed as a child. The symptoms are the same although you can see a pattern that has disrupted your entire life. This is one of those "AHA" moments when you realize how much easier life would have been if you had only known about this sooner because ADHD can be successfully treated with therapy and medication.

IED Or Intermittent Explosive Disorder

This disorder is just how it sounds, explosive. Typically found in children and adolescents, your child can be enjoying a game or television show when suddenly they just blow up, seemingly for no reason at all. Of course, there is a reason, but it is not apparent to anyone but the child with IED because it is usually something that most people would not get angry about. Children with IED have outbursts of anger sometimes accompanied by aggressive acts such as hitting, kicking, throwing things, or screaming. It is almost like a big temper tantrum and can be over a very small issue such as not wanting to go to bed or being denied a piece of candy. Or they may often get into fights with siblings or friends where they hit, kick, or bite the other child. These outbursts are scary for both you and your child and need to be treated immediately because it can evolve into something more dangerous as they grow older and bigger.

ODD Or Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Although all children have bad days, those with ODD are prone to becoming angry and aggressive more frequently than others. In fact, a child with ODD will have ongoing defiance and hostility to others, including their loved ones. They can be fine for a while and then have a major temper tantrum for no obvious reason. Other signs of ODD include being mean to everyone, seeking revenge, calling other people names, anger, and resentment, blaming others for their behavior, stubbornness, hostility, refusing to follow the rules, arguing with adults as well as other children, and being constantly on edge.

NPD Or Narcissistic Personality Disorder

If it seems like your child thinks that the world revolves around them and that they can do no wrong, they may be suffering from NPD, which is a personality disorder that gives them an inflated sense of importance. They do not accept any criticism, refuse to follow the rules, defy any kind of authority, need constant attention, and have no empathy for other people including their parents and other loved ones. Children with NPD are often very intelligent and are very good at manipulation and taking advantage of people to get their way. They tend to get jealous of anyone who receives attention and can become angry and aggressive if they think someone else is getting better treatment than they are.

Bipolar Depression Or Manic Depression

This sometimes-debilitating illness is defined as an imbalance of the chemicals in the brain that causes mood swings from being extremely happy and hyper to severe depression causing hypersomnia, which is a term for excessive sleepiness. There are four types of bipolar disorder including:

  • Bipolar I: If the manic episodes last a week or more and symptoms are so severe that they need hospital care.
  • Bipolar II: This is defined as a succession of hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes but not severe enough to need hospitalization.
  • Cyclothymia (or Cyclothymic Disorder): If symptoms are mild but occur regularly for more than 24 months, they may have this disorder.
  • Related Disorders: Persons who have bipolar symptoms but do not have all of the criteria for any of the other three bipolar disorders.

Situational Depression Or Adjustment Disorder

This is a group of symptoms like feeling hopeless, sad, anxious, and angry because the person is having a hard time coping with something that is bothering them. For example, these individuals tend to overreact to situations that the average person would take in stride such as money worries, fighting with a spouse, or issues with their job. The person seems to have certain triggers that can throw them into a tailspin of anger, recklessness, and inability to move on.

Conduct Disorder

Similar to adjustment disorder, those with conduct disorder have persistent emotional and behavioral problems. Conduct disorder typically affects children and teens, and it manifests as bullying or threatening others, no remorse, stealing, physical abuse, and being cruel to others. They may be destructive of their own or other people's property, run away from home, tell lies often, and have a constantly angry attitude toward everyone.

Causes Of Anger Disorders

Although these disorders are not completely understood, many of them are hereditary. In other words, it is in your genes. Other common risk factors for anger disorders in general include:

  • Environmental issues such as growing up in a violent household or neighborhood
  • Being exposed to toxins at a young age such as with lead poisoning
  • Alcohol, drug, or cigarette use by parents or during pregnancy
  • Brain injuries of any kind
  • Low self-esteem
  • Witnessing a traumatic incident (PTSD)
  • Being born underweight
  • A chronic or severe medical illness

Anger Management Groups

You can learn from others what has worked or not worked for them and how you may be able to help yourself. Managing anger is a difficult thing to do because when you are angry, you cannot focus as well as you can when you are not angry. That is why it is best to talk about how you can change things when you are not angry.

Peer Anger Management Groups Can Be Helpful For Coping

Groups Or Classes

Most anger management groups or classes are supervised or run by a licensed mental health professional who tries to steer the group into learning from their anger. These sessions are typically held once a week for about an hour and can be done in person or online. In fact, for those who worry about having a blow-up during a class, online  therapy is recommended. That way, if you are experiencing some feelings of anger or aggression, you can walk away or log off until you are ready to continue.

Online Groups

Counseling online is also easier for people who have a hard time talking about their thoughts and feelings in a person. With those who have anxiety, depression, or PTSD as well as an anger problem, it can be tough to go anywhere, let alone talking to a group in person. Talking online is a much more comfortable way to express yourself when you are dealing with the condition that sometimes renders you bedridden such as with bipolar disorder.

No matter what form of anger issue you have or what is causing the disorder, it is important to talk to a professional to get help. Untreated, anger disorders can cause other problems such as job loss, inability to have a meaningful relationship, legal trouble, and even physical issues like high blood pressure and migraines. Contact someone from BetterHelp, and you can get help today, no appointment needed.

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