When Alcohol And Anger Clash: How To Cope

By Samantha Dewitt

Updated June 28, 2019

Anger is something that everyone deals with at one point in time or another. We all get angry, whether it's a frequent occurrence or a sporadic one, but it's important to know what it is that triggers you to feel anger. Are you getting angry frequently because of the same things? What can you do to reduce the feelings of anger that you have? Even more important, you have to think about the way that alcohol can influence the anger you're experiencing and what it means to the way you interact with others. Alcohol and anger, when combined, can become an extremely volatile reaction, one that destroys everything in their wake.

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How Alcohol Works

For many people, alcohol is a way to relax, have fun with friends and enjoy yourself. It's a way to unwind after a long day or celebrate a special event or several other positive things. But it all depends on just how much you're drinking, your traits and the situation you find yourself in. Someone who drinks more than a glass or two of anything could find themselves doing things they wouldn't think they would normally do. Someone who has a medical condition could find themselves struggling with their health if they drink a couple of glasses (or even less). Someone who is in a violent situation could find themselves in danger if they drink those same couple glasses.

All of these things happen because of some of the characteristics of alcohol. They happen because of the way that it affects your brain. And that effect on your brain makes you act in slightly different ways. That's why some people become the life of the party and others become loners. When alcohol is involved you stop making decisions with the rational and thinking portion of your brain and start making decisions with the impulsive centers of your brain. When something happens to trigger you, happily, a sad way, an angry way, you could end up with extreme responses to those things, and that is where you start getting into trouble.

Alcohol And Anger

Alcohol, when used in moderation, can be no big deal for most people. Those who drink occasionally or rarely will generally not experience problems with it, but that's not always the case. There are those for whom even a single drink can be a problem. And there are those who engage in far more than a single drink, which also causes them several big problems. That's why it's so important to understand a little bit more about alcohol and just what it could be doing to you and your relationships if you're not careful. But the truth is, there's no telling what it could do if you give it a chance to get into your life.

Alcohol is considered a depressant, which means that it can negatively impact your mood, making you feel sad, depressed, angry, violent, withdrawn and a great deal more. What's worse is that you may not even recognize these emotions or understand what they're doing to you. Instead, the alcohol causes these things to fester inside of you and before you know it … you're acting out in ways that you wouldn't normally think to. That's not to say that alcohol makes you do things you 100% would never have done if you weren't drinking. In most cases, alcohol exacerbates something that you're thinking about or that you're already feeling.

For those who drink alcohol and already have anger problems, this can be an extremely dangerous combination. That's because the alcohol exacerbates the anger problems that you're already experiencing and can cause even more serious problems over time. An even bigger problem is that alcohol is known to increase the aggression that you feel, whether you are male or female. If you have an anger problem and you have an alcohol problem, it's even more important for you to seek out help as soon as possible for this reason. The outcome of drinking could be disastrous for you, your family and your life.

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Conditions That Could Co-Occur With Alcohol And Anger

Several different disorders and conditions could co-occur with either of these. What that means is that anger may not be the only side effect that you have as a result of alcohol. Or that there could be even more serious things going on than even alcoholism. Getting help for any of these is important.

Bipolar Disorder - This is a relatively common one for co-occurring with alcohol addiction. In fact, as many as 30% of people have both of these disorders. And bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme highs and lows of temperament, mood, and activity. The individual may struggle even to perform the normal functions that they need to do throughout a day. They also may experience extremely productive times in their life and extremely low times where they are unable to accomplish any tasks.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder - While this is a less common disorder, it involves sporadic outbursts that can be violent and intense. It causes hostility, impulsiveness, and aggression, which frequently occurs in outbursts that seem to come from nowhere. Anger that's experienced generally doesn't seem rooted in what has been happening immediately before the outburst, and yet it can be extreme. It also occurs frequently in those who suffer from alcohol abuse or addiction.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder - This is a disorder that generally comes about when you're younger, and it showcases itself in being resistant to authority figures and being unwilling to accept criticism or negative thoughts from another person. The individual may be hostile or disobedient. They may be irritable, argumentative and angry. Children may seek out revenge, refuse to follow the rules, blame others for their actions or be entirely unwilling to compromise. It frequently predicts those who will have alcohol abuse later in life.

Antisocial Personality Disorder - This disorder increases the risk of alcohol abuse and dependence by as much as 20%. It's a disorder that makes it very difficult for the individual to relate to others and therefore to form the healthy relationships that they need to be successful in life. It can result in irresponsible behavior, criminal behavior and most definitely difficulty in maintaining any form of relationship over a long period. As a result, it can cause the individual to reach out for entirely different ways to cope or to interact.

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Getting Help For Alcohol And Anger Problems

If you're experiencing problems with either alcohol or anger, but especially if you notice that you're struggling with the two together, it's extremely important to seek out professional help. A professional will be able to work with you on the things that you're feeling and experiencing. They'll be able to talk with you about why you feel angry or what you feel angry about. They'll be able to discuss the way you feel when you drink or when you don't drink and the way that your anger tends to feed off the alcohol that you consume.

Not only that, but you'll be able to talk about the way that these two things, both separately and together, are influencing the relationships around you. Your partnerships, your relationship with children, parents, siblings and friends and even with colleagues and clients can be greatly affected by each of these things. If you're not careful and you're not getting the help you need right away you could easily (and quickly) find yourself struggling even to attempt to repair the relationships that have been burned and badly wounded by your treatment of them.

The important thing is knowing how and where to seek out the help that you need. Some people prefer groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Others might prefer one-on-one sessions with a therapist or psychiatrist. It's going to be up to you to decide what type of therapy or program works best for you, but it's important that you seek out a way to get professional help. Without it, you could find yourself struggling just to continue surviving let along getting back to a situation where you can thrive in your own life. So, where are you going to start looking for help?

BetterHelp is a great way for you to get the help you're looking for, and it doesn't have to be in a therapists office. Rather, you can talk with someone directly online to talk about what you're going through and how you can get back to living the life that you want to live. It's not going to be easy, but it's most definitely going to be possible if you're willing to give it a try. BetterHelp can connect you with therapists and professionals from all over the country that will help you directly online and from the comfort of your own home. That going to make it a more comfortable process for you.


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