Anger in teenagers can be a normal part of maturing, and it can also be a signal that something is wrong. Teen anger may take the form of resentment, rebellion, or withdrawal. For adolescents, anger can be a sign of underlying trauma, abuse, depression, anxiety, grief, or substance abuse.
What Is Anger?
Anger is a normal human emotion that can range from mild irritation to intense rage. It can be a natural response to situations in which we, or someone we care about, is threatened. Anger may also be the result of frustration, as a result of unfulfilled needs, goals, or desires. However, anger can become a problem when someone feels anger frequently, experiences severe anger, or expresses their anger in aggressive or violent ways.
Anger can be a symptom of underlying issues, such as trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, or another mental health condition. Furthermore, anger and violence can often lead to and/or result from drug and alcohol use. For example, according to a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 40 percent of frequent cocaine users reported engaging in violent behavior. Along with negatively affecting relationships with family members, friends, and colleagues, anger also has a dangerous impact on health. Because it activates the nervous system, increasing the heart rate and elevating blood pressure, prolonged anger issues may lead to heart disease, hypertension, and decreased immune function.
Anger management teaches individuals how to control anger by becoming aware of what triggers it and using strategies that help them stay calm. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be particularly effective for anger issues. CBT interventions for anger focus on targeting the emotional and physiological components of anger through relaxation exercises, re-patterning hostile thinking, and improving communication and conflict resolution skills. Moreover, treatment that addresses the root causes of anger can positively impact an individual’s overall well-being and mental health.