What Chronic Anger Is And How To Manage It

By Gabrielle Seunagal |Updated May 25, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Lauren Fawley , LPC

Chronic anger is a very troubling emotional state where a person's feelings, conduct, and thoughts are dominated by anger. Unlike other forms of anger, feelings of chronic anger tend to be prolonged and often don’t subside with time. This type of anger can cause significant impairment when it comes to daily life. If chronic anger is not treated or addressed, it can begin to have adverse physical impacts on the individual's immune system, and it can take a significant toll on the person's mental health.

Important Things To Understand About Chronic Anger

To truly understand what chronic anger is, there are some important things which each person should understand. First and foremost, chronic anger is linked to a series of emotional and mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

This does not necessarily mean that every person who experiences chronic anger has one of the aforementioned mental health issues, but it is a possibility. Another thing to be aware of is that chronic anger tends to increase with time. This can be even more problematic, seeing as there's only so far it can go before the afflicted individual explodes and either hurts themselves, those around them, or both.

Applicable Symptoms

There are a series of symptoms which are generally associated with chronic anger. A person who displays more than one of the symptoms of chronic anger could be experiencing this issue. This can be difficult to face or deal with, but being cognizant of this is so very important.

The symptoms associated with chronic anger are as follows:

  • Anger which lasts for many months on end
  • Increased feelings of anger throughout the day
  • Issues with law enforcement
  • Lack of connection with other people
  • Displays of road rage
  • Weak immune system
  • Ongoing emotional detachment
  • Acts of physical violence or aggression

More often than not, when someone displays multiple symptoms associated with chronic anger, this is indicative of a more deep-seated issue. It's normal to experience feelings of discontentment or agitation from time to time, but it's not normal to be consistently and relentlessly angry.

What Are The Causes?

There is no one specific cause which is linked to chronic anger. However, there are a variety of factors and circumstances which can cause or are linked to chronic anger. Repressed prior experiences of trauma have been linked to chronic anger, and triggers of these experiences can set people off. In cases like these, it's not uncommon for the individual to not be consciously aware of why they're angry. Sadly, until the repressed trauma is dealt with properly, displays of chronic anger are likely to remain.

Hereditary factors are also linked to experiences of chronic anger. Individuals who experience chronic anger often have children who also exhibit symptoms of chronic anger. Of course, it's important to note that having chronically angry parents does not always mean that a child is going to experience this same issue. However, it is fair to say that the likelihood and susceptibility are greatly increased.

In other situations, chronic anger can be caused by irregularities within the brain. Individuals who are afflicted with temporal lobe damage or temporal lobe epilepsy may be more susceptible to chronic anger; this is because the temporal lobe is the area of the brain which controls each person's emotions. While displays of chronic anger have been seen in individuals who also have the aforementioned temporal lobe issues, there are still studies underway seeking to further solidify a scientific link.

Environmental factors also play a role in chronic anger. A person who grows up around chronically angry individuals, even if they’re not relatives, is much likelier to develop symptoms of chronic anger than someone who grows up in a peaceful, positive environment. The susceptibility to chronic anger also increases considerably for people who are regularly subjected to physical forms of punishment. Of course, not everyone who grows up in a toxic environment goes on to develop chronic anger later in life; however, it's important to acknowledge that one's background and what they are exposed to in their younger, formative years can have an impact in their adult life.

How To Manage Chronic Anger

Chronically angry individuals tend to lash out at others or isolate themselves altogether. Neither one of these things is conducive to a positive, healthy or productive lifestyle. As a matter of fact, being chronically anger can cause a loss of opportunities, friendships, and beneficial experiences. If chronic anger remains ongoing for too long, it can even lead to troubles with the law.

For these reasons and so many more, the ability to manage chronic anger is paramount. Depending on the extent of one's chronic anger and the reasons which triggered it, a person may be capable of managing it without outside help. Thankfully, there are a series of steps which one can take if they're serious about improving.

Be Aware Of Triggers

In many cases, chronic anger is often triggered by certain people, situations, places, or scenarios. Being aware and mindful of these triggers makes a difference because the first step of managing chronic anger involves knowing what caused it. Once this has been deduced, then you can go about making the necessary lifestyle changes to eliminate the sources of anger. In many cases, this is often easier said than done, but it is always worth it in the end. Triggers of chronic anger are not healthy and will only sabotage you in the long run.

Find Balance In Life

Maintaining balance is life is another great way of managing chronic anger. Imbalances are unhealthy for so many reasons, but they certainly don't mix well with chronic anger and can often exacerbate this toxic emotional state. There are so many ways to find balance; if your work involves you constantly sitting down, then it may be good for you to go on a jog a few times a week or sign up for a gym membership. Likewise, if you are regularly surrounded by noise and loud sounds, then meditation may be good for you. Finding the right balance is life has so many benefits; managing chronic anger is one of them.

Discover A Healthy Outlet

Discovering a healthy outlet for chronic anger is another great management technique. So many people believe that bottling up anger or pretending like it's not there will make it go away. This simply isn't true. As a matter of fact, bottling up chronic anger is a recipe for disaster and can lead to additional symptom displays and worse. This is why finding and participating in a healthy outlet is so important.

Exercise, smashing objects in an anger room, meditation, etc. are examples of common, healthy outlets which people have been known to participate in. However, each person is different and what proves effective for one may be useless to another. The key is finding what works for you and participating in a frequent-enough basis so that you are not controlled by anger in your everyday life.

Seeing A Therapist For Chronic Anger

Even if you think you've found a healthy way of managing chronic anger, seeing a therapist can still be advantageous, both in the short and long term. Working with a professional can aid you in finding and addressing the root cause of your chronic anger. This may not be easy, especially in the beginning, but as time goes on, you can see significant improvements. Sometimes people get so used to feeling chronically angry that they forget or don't know what it's like not to shoulder the burden.

There are many different types of therapy which can be used in cases of chronic anger, and you should know that there's nothing wrong with seeing a therapist; this is an amazing decision which can change your life. There is no judgement, and the only objective of any therapist is to serve as a guide and help you improve the quality of your life.

Managing Anger With BetterHelp

Recent research has shown that online therapy platforms are useful when helping individuals manage symptoms of chronic anger. In a study published in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, researchers examined the efficacy of online therapy on problematic anger. The study begins by detailing the negative effects that chronic anger can produce, including relationship issues, physical health concerns, and decreased self-esteem, and ends with researchers concluding that online cognitive therapy is an effective way of decreasing anger in participants. These findings are in line with an already large number of studies that point to online therapy as a useful method for treating symptoms stemming from varied mental health concerns.

As mentioned above, online therapy can help you better address your emotions when you’re living with chronic anger. With online therapy through BetterHelp, you can participate in counseling without having to deal with the hassle of traffic, sitting in a waiting room, or skipping your lunch break. You’ll have the ability to connect with a licensed therapist through live chat, videoconference, messaging, or voice call. Plus, you can send them a message any time, day or night, and they will get back to you as soon as they can. A qualified online therapist can guide you on the journey to better mental health and decreased anger. Below, read reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from those who have experienced similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

“I'm happy I had counseling with Glenn. I used to struggle with anger and trust issues towards my husband when I first talked to Glenn. He listened to me attentively and asked questions delicately and politely. I felt that he cared about my case and really wanted to help me. And he did help me solve my relationship problems. Glenn taught me to forgive, manage conflicts, and express and receive love. Now I enjoy my close and intimate relationship with my loved one, and there's no place for anger and hate in me any more. Finally I feel understood, supported, happy and calm. And I'm so thankful to Glenn for guiding me there.”

“Regina helped me pinpoint where my anger issue stemmed from in the very first session, and has been helping me become more self aware of my warning triggers. Very insightful and helpful!”

In Closing

No matter who you are or where you come from, there will be challenges and obstacles in life. Sometimes they manifest in the form of chronic anger or something else entirely. At the end of the day, no matter what we're faced with, the key is to rise above and not allow tough times to destroy us. Sometimes this means sitting down and working with a professional. Take the first step today.


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