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One of the most common mental issues identified in a co-occurring disorder is anger, typically in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder. While addiction and a mental disorder may both stem from the same issue, they can also be a result of one another.
It’s common for patients to find themselves angered by the choice to abuse substances, which in turn causes the negative triggers that lead to substance abuse. Addicts may often experience traumatic events while using causing them to feel a loss of reality which leads to anger. To effectively break free from the cycle, learning to manage the anger can play a large role in addiction treatment and rehabilitation.
Anger is a normal emotion, and individuals of all types can (and should) feel and express their anger in the right contexts. However, some individuals struggle with anger to a greater degree than average, and it can create problems in many areas of life. People who struggle with anger could end up alienating family members, ruining relationships or losing employment.
Anger, therefore, can do a lot to upset a person’s life. Anger that causes broken relationships or isolation, for instance, can often lead to substance abuse and eventually addiction. Individuals who have problems dealing with anger in a healthy way are therefore at greater risk, which is why this combination of co-occurring disorders is so common.
Although it’s clear that anger or behavioral issues like oppositional defiant disorder and bipolar disorder can have a role in the formation of an addiction, the reverse can also be true. That is, that addiction can lead to the development of anger issues like post-traumatic stress disorder which need to be addressed within an anger management treatment program.
Since substance abuse and addiction can wreak havoc on a person’s life, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that anger may be a natural result. Many patients are angry about the life circumstances that led them to substance abuse, or they could be harboring anger for themselves for a perceived weakness. Many events that occur within a drug addict’s lifestyle may be so traumatic that anger manifests within the addiction struggle. This hidden or residual anger can often make recovery harder, so anger management treatment is a vital part of rehabilitation.
Since there is such a strong connection between anger issues and addiction, it makes perfect sense that anger management would be a common part of addiction treatment. In comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery, those patients struggling with co-occurring disorders involving anger or PTSD can benefit from a range of different treatment options.
Individual therapy is used frequently in order to get patients to open up about the depths of their anger issues and what kinds of triggers cause them to react. In simultaneous group therapy, patients discuss coping mechanisms and talk about some of the recent successes they have had dealing with anger in rehab.
Recovery and rehabilitation, in and of themselves, can sometimes cause latent anger issues to emerge. Along with the physical withdrawal symptoms, abstaining from drugs or alcohol can cause psychological and emotional issues, one of which is anger. By making anger management a part of rehabilitation, this can be addressed before it develops into a bigger problem.
It’s vital that those with anger issues see anger as a prime trigger for relapse. Triggers are emotions, situations or incidents that can cause a person to desire drug or alcohol use again after rehabilitation. Through anger management, patients will learn their triggers, as well as how to address them in a healthy way that won’t lead to relapse.
For many patients, anger management is an important element to addiction treatment. At Recovery in Motion, our comprehensive 90-day program focuses on everything from anger issues to teaching life skills and coping mechanisms. Getting to the root of the issue is important and learning healthier ways to cope is imperative to a successful recovery.