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Anger in the Little Things

Posted on: October 11th, 2021

Having difficulty regulating emotions?  Do you or your child have anger outbursts over little things?

Anger outbursts are a common occurrence in children and adults with ADHD, depression, anxiety, and oppositional defiant disorder.  Being easily annoyed, sad, or stressed can cause a short, explosive temper.   Having a short fuse isn’t just due to irritability or genetics.  There are structural reasons in the brain why managing emotions is so hard. 

However, anyone can learn to manage anger in a healthy way.  According to Healthline, there are a number of treatments and strategies to reduce anger:

  1. Self-Regulation Training– concrete strategies to manage anger constructively
  • Avoid or remove yourself from situations that cause anger
  • Set clear boundaries so you prevent conflict
  • Think about how you can change a frustrating situation in advance
  • Change the way you look at upsetting situations
  • Plan and organize yourself to prevent frustration
  • Develop new responses to anger

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy– a psychotherapy approach based on identifying and changing unproductive thinking patterns.

  • Monitor your level of anger
  • Employ relaxation techniques
  • Reframe thoughts that lead to emotional excess
  • Use social skills to solve problems in ways that are appropriate to the situation

3. Child-Centered Play Therapy–  Use of play as a way to connect with the child and help them to process feelings and inner experiences

4. Parenting Training– Use of supportive methods that are positive and effective in reducing tantrums, regulating ups and downs, improving compliance, and lowering parent stress

5. Mindfulness Meditation– helps improve the ability to regulate emotion; often combined with medication and therapy

6. Exercise– helps to release anger safely, improves attention, reduces impulsivity, improves mood and thinking abilities, and social behavior

7. Medication (lowers irritability)

The bottom line is that getting angry is part of the human experience. ADHD can make anger more intense, and it can impair your ability to respond to angry feelings in healthy ways.

Medication and psychotherapy can help you or your child manage anger more effectively. Self-regulation and parenting training can help you build a healthy toolkit for responding to anger constructively. Meditation and exercise can reduce symptoms, too.

If anger is interfering in your or your child’s relationships with others, ability to function, or is affecting self-esteem, contact me at SHCS.