“Angerholic” | 5 Signs of Anger Addiction

Do you know someone who seems to be irritable all the time or “flies off the handle” and goes into a rage over something that doesn’t go their way? Do you have family members or friends who hurt people with verbal or physical abuse and then feel really bad about it, apologize, promise never to do it again…only to end up doing it again and again?

Causes for uncontrollable anger may stem from childhood neglect, abuse, or trauma, underdeveloped emotions, learned behavior, enjoyment of the adrenaline rush, lack of conflict resolution skills, abandonment and trust issues, the need to feel in control, or the need to feel safe.

The Importance of Anger in the Betrayal Trauma Healing Journey with Dr. Crystal Hollenbeck

Anger is an emotion everyone experiences, but some people develop an addiction to being in a state of Anger or become an “Angerholic” because it may be the only emotion that they know how to express when they have an unmet need. Psychology professionals continue to discuss multiple theories of addiction origin and treatment, but there is no doubt that Anger Addiction is an ongoing issue affecting many people seeking counseling and ongoing research is needed.

BAAM’s 2008 Boiling Point Report provides the following statistics taken from a survey of 2000 people:

  • 32% have a close friend or family member who has trouble controlling their anger.
  • 12% say that they have trouble controlling their own anger.
  • 28% say that they worry about how angry they sometimes feel.
  • 20% say that they have ended a relationship or friendship with someone because of how they behaved when they were angry.
  • 64% either strongly agree or agree that people in general are getting angrier.

There are many reasons people may be “getting angry”, but if anger is causing problems for you or someone you love, there is help available through Anger Management Therapy to address the issues and develop the skills needed to manage Anger. Below are 5 Warning Signs that may indicate someone is an “Angerholic”.

5 Signs of Anger Addiction

  1. Excessive Irritability – This is when a person seems to be irritable most of the time, even when there is no known reason to be irritable. Also, there is an increase “over the years” instead of a decrease with maturity. This may be evident in an adolescent that matures into their adult life continuing to display irritability most of the time.
  1. Isolation & Secret Grudges – Another sign is if a person who is irritable a lot seems to also like to spend time alone and not enjoy being around other people. They may seem to hold a grudge against people who they believe have done them wrong. Perhaps they were caught doing something in anger secretively such as destroying photos, making false accusations against a person, or destroying someone else’s property in anger.
  1. Outbursts of Anger – If a person has anger outbursts in response to anything that doesn’t go the way the wanted, they are not able to adjust to change without an angry outburst, or they get people to do what they want by having an angry outburst are all behaviors that indicate a serious problem with anger.
  1. Critical and Sarcastic Attitude – If someone uses negativity and sarcasm to communicate most of the time whether the criticism is directed at themselves or others is a sign of unhealthy communication rooted in anger.
  1. Feelings of Guilt and Shame – When someone is aware of their issue with anger, they may express feelings of guilt and shame and make several attempts to change unsuccessfully. The inability to stop engaging in anger driven thoughts, emotions, and behaviors on their own is a sure sign of addiction.


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