How Can I Control My Anger Issues?

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Erban, LMFT, IMH-E
Updated March 19, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Have you found it difficult recently to control your anger in certain situations or to express anger appropriately? Are you wondering, “Do I have anger issues?” If so, you’re not alone. Anger management problems are common and can result in conflict with friends at school, with family, and with coworkers. Although anger is a basic human emotion, it’s how a person handles it that can affect their emotional well-being and their relationships with others. 

There are different reasons why teens sometimes have trouble managing anger, and getting to the root of the problem may be beneficial and help to prevent outbursts.

Learn About Anger Management For Teens

Understanding Anger

Although anger is often thought of as a negative emotion, it’s an emotion common to all people. Feeling angry involves expressing our emotions and is an emotional response that sends signals to our brain—otherwise known as asymmetrical brain responses—to let us know that something is wrong. Without anger, it might be difficult to understand what behaviors and actions we find acceptable and which ones we find irritating. Anger is a normal part of everyday life, and learning how express your anger in a healthy way is important.

A person with anger management concerns or oppositional defiant disorder may experience anger on an elevated level. Something small can trigger anger at a much stronger level than one would normally expect or lead them to behave in a way that feels uncharacteristic of them. This can be scary for loved ones and may result in irrational behavior. 

For people who experience difficulty with anger management, it can be challenging to control their temper, a small fight can lead to intense fury. Some people with anger management challenges can sometimes “see red” and lose control of their actions and words. This type of anger can be especially dangerous, as angry outbursts can lead to destruction, breaking things, and people getting hurt.

How To Know If You Experience Anger Management Problems

For most people, anger is a common occurrence in life and is designed to ensure that our basic needs are met. This can happen from an incident at school or a friend showing up late for coffee. The difference between a person with healthy responses to anger and those who have anger management problems often lies in how they control their anger.

If anger often leads you to say things you wouldn’t normally say, causes any physical or emotional symptoms, or leads to violent thoughts toward people, you may want to take a closer look at it, whether through self-assessment or with professional help through the guidance of a therapist. Negative feelings don’t need to lead to the end of personal relationships or make you unable to control your actions or other emotions.

Violence and abuse are other signs and symptoms often related to anger management problems. These kinds of actions can have serious repercussions and are health risk behaviors that could end up hurting someone. 

By recognizing the problem head-on, you may give yourself the chance to grow and heal. If you often react impulsively when you experience anger, you may have certain emotional anger triggers that you might seek help by consulting with a counselor.

How To Stay In Control Of Your Anger In The Moment

As with any emotional response, you can learn the best strategies to help you when you’re feeling an elevated sense of anger. For people with anger challenges, this often means taking a “cooling off” period. This can be in the form of separating yourself physically from the situation that’s causing tension or taking some deep breaths. Depending on how serious your emotional response is, this may take more or less time.

Although it can be difficult to walk away from a tense situation, taking space from it may lead to a more productive conversation later on with less passive-aggressive behavior. Many people with anger management challenges experience regret after a confrontation, which may make the situation worse and ultimately lead to more anger. However, with proper coping mechanisms and relaxation techniques, you might avoid a vicious cycle and demonstrate more balanced emotional responses.

Preventive Tactics

  • Exercise. Some people find that staying active can work preventively against their strong uncontrolled anger responses. By releasing tension from the body through exercise, you might have less intense physiological responses to emotional situations. 

  • Meditate. You can also practice mindfulness through meditation and continued reflection on your current emotional state. Mindfulness may help you learn to recognize thoughts that arise without latching onto them. It may also help you understand that there are things beyond your control, especially other people’s words and actions. By learning how to accept that things will not always go the way you planned, you might stay in control of your anger and prevent risky behaviors.

  • Avoid alcohol and substances. Alcohol and substance use can also increase the likelihood of an emotional outburst. Alcohol tends to limit natural inhibitions in a person and lead them to say things they normally wouldn’t say. If you are experiencing anger issues, limiting your alcohol consumption may help prevent behaving in irrational ways.

Teens And Anger

It’s not uncommon for teenagers to experience anger challenges. During and after puberty, many changes happen rapidly in the mind and body. These hormonal changes can lead teens to feel isolated and misunderstood. 

Social pressures can also lead to outward anger in teens. As you grow up, you may find yourself comparing yourself to your peers and being in situations that are confusing emotionally. Deeper relationships are normally formed during this time in life, which may lead to more intense feelings when conflict occurs. Without proper communication tools, teens can feel that they have to suppress their emotions by giving parents the silent treatment. This buildup of unresolved tension can result in emotional outbursts and relationship problems.

As a teen, it may help to remind yourself that feelings of anger are common and normal. You can learn what strategies work best for you to control your emotional responses. 

Talking To An Online Counselor

Although anger is an important human emotion, it’s important to know how to control it. Without a sense of control, people who experience anger management challenges can have trouble maintaining friendships in high school and college, or they may have trouble keeping jobs and relationships later in life. However, there are plenty of ways to manage your anger, including by talking to a professional counselor with experience helping teens and young adults to control their it.

Learn About Anger Management For Teens

If you don’t feel comfortable going into a counselor’s office to discuss your concerns about anger, you might try online therapy through TeenCounseling. With online therapy, you can communicate with your therapist via videoconferencing, live chat, and in-app messaging. Online therapy has been shown to be just as helpful as in-person therapy, and you can talk with your therapist without having to leave home. 


If you are experiencing frequent feelings of anger, you don’t have to navigate those feelings alone. You can be matched with an experienced therapist who may talk about some key insights for controlling anger and managing adult relationships. In addition to TeenCounseling, BetterHelp has therapists for individuals 18 and older. Regardless of the service you choose, you may find that talking to a professional counselor helps you learn to control your anger in a safe and respectful space. Reach out today for more information.

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