How to Deal with Aggression and Anger in Recovery
Addiction brings out people’s emotions, especially negative ones, that are challenging to deal with. Anger is a huge part of people’s lives in addiction as well as recovery. Recovery from addiction can override being able to deal with things in life like negative emotions that linger behind the scenes. Emotions can make situations more difficult or even recovery harder to move through unless these emotions are dealt with properly. Toxic chemicals in drugs can enhance aggressive behavior and anger, but it can also be a trigger for using drugs. Find some time for how to deal appropriately with anger and aggression in recovery.
Drink, Drugs, and Anger
The connection between alcohol, drugs, and aggression are known widely by scientists who research this phenomenon. Stimulants, steroids, and marijuana can relieve difficult emotional states like anger and aggression. Mood-altering substances may impair perception but also provide proof alcohol and drugs can alter the neurotransmitters in the brain.
Cocaine and meth addiction can cause violence and suicidal thoughts. The neurotransmitters are altered, including norepinephrine and dopamine. During toxic episodes, stimulant drugs can create an increase in both norepinephrine and dopamine. When dopamine levels elevated with the use of stimulant drugs, it can look like mental health issues including delusional (paranoid) disorder. When this happens, it can be harder to treat the underlying disorder or aggression and anger if it manifests as something else.
When a person is dealing with anger and aggression recovery, they often feel without hope. There are four ways to deal with these difficult emotions in recovery and feel like there is hope on the other side:
- Counseling: talking to someone, especially someone who understands anger management, can be more helpful than talking to friends or loved ones. Finding out what triggers anger can help get out the feelings and find coping strategies
- Exercise: burning off the anger can be helpful when it comes to doing physical activity to get rid of the energy of the emotion. It feels good to release it in a healthy way and improve the mood without taking others down
- Relaxation: techniques to relax including meditation and yoga will help distract from the anger and aggressive behaviors for a time, but it does help to find a peaceful setting that is away from home or spaces with other triggers. The situation ultimately has to be dealt with that is triggering and also the underlying root causes but meditation can be helpful in the meantime
- Distraction: a person can on merely look the other way and hope to avoid the issue at hand. Repressing feelings never helps. Doing something a person enjoys may help, exercise, or going out with friends. Remember to focus on healthy, purposeful distractions including support groups and additional counseling can help
When anger becomes concerning, acting out towards others, or is getting worse, it may be worth asking a treating doctor how to seek help. There is help available for anger and aggression to heal and recover to live a full, healthy life.
A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. With evidence-based treatment, we provide help for anger, aggression, mental health, and addiction issues as they arise. We support your journey forward once you complete rehab to help you function at the highest level upon return home. For more information on sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.