Getting serious about addiction recovery means examining the experiences and emotions contributing to your substance use disorder. The treatment process often reveals anger at yourself and others. Our anger management therapy program helps patients understand the source of their anger and how it influences their behavior.
To learn more about repressed anger and substance abuse, call Woodland Recovery Center at 662.222.2989.
Repressed Anger and Addiction: The Connection
Ignoring anger doesn’t make it disappear any more than ignoring a substance use disorder makes that disappear. Not only can unresolved anger cause mental health problems, but it also has a snowball effect that worsens other conditions in the long run.
People who successfully shut down their anger often become numb to all emotions, including feelings of joy. Drinking or abusing drugs can be both a way to feel something and a way to escape from uncomfortable feelings. With or without addiction disorders, repressed anger is not good for your mental health.
Holding onto anger increases a person’s risk of developing a substance or alcohol use disorder. A 2016 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that individuals with a high level of anger have a higher risk of abusing drugs or alcohol.
In addition, people with high levels of repressed anger are also at a higher risk of developing depression, which can lead to the development of an addiction. The NCBI study also found that addiction recovery patients who did not address their anger issues were less likely to complete treatment and more likely to relapse.
Long-term recovery requires people to deal with their mental and emotional pain, including anger. An inability to process anger causes a buildup of tension, which makes it more difficult for people to handle their triggers effectively.
Symptoms of Repressed Anger
Too often, anger is viewed as something negative that needs to be ignored and hidden away. However, anger is a natural emotion and is often the correct emotional reaction to a situation.
Whether you learned to repress anger from your family experience or through social conditioning, holding onto anger can have negative consequences for both your physical and emotional health.
Symptoms of repressed anger include:
- Depression, feelings of hopelessness or despair
- Avoiding conflict or becoming the peacemaker when disagreements arise
- Accusing others of being hostile or retaliating against you
- Self-righteous behavior and having unrelenting standards for yourself and others
- Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
- Passive-aggressive behavior
Anger is an unavoidable part of life. There are practical ways of dealing with this strong emotion that can actually benefit mental health and help those in recovery avoid relapse and meet their long-term health goals.
Dealing with Repressed Anger and Substance Abuse
In order to successfully deal with anger, it’s necessary to understand what triggers angry feelings. The “fight or flight” reaction you feel in times of distress is your body’s natural response, but you can learn to manage it.
Exercise, journaling, breathing exercises, and other techniques can help you manage anger without repressing it or letting it take control of your actions. Without proper anger management, recovery from substance or alcohol use disorder will be incomplete.
Learn About Anger Management at Woodland Recovery Center
If you’re concerned about the connection between repressed anger and addiction in your life, a comprehensive treatment program from Woodland Recovery Center can help. People struggling with addiction disorders have often experienced trauma, abuse, and other forms of mistreatment, for which anger is a natural response.
Our treatment programs help patients deal with repressed emotions and provide the tools needed to cope with anger healthily. Contact Woodland Recovery Center today at 662.222.2989 or via our online form for more information.