Effective Anger Management Techniques for People With PTSD

Frustrated mid adult man screaming at the wall

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People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) commonly experience anger, but they can use a variety of techniques and strategies to better manage this emotion.

In fact, because the experience of anger is so common among people with PTSD, it is considered one of the hyperarousal symptoms of the disorder.

If you have PTSD, you may find that the anger you experience is very intense, and as a result, it may be very difficult to manage.

This intense anger can lead to a number of unhealthy behaviors, such as substance use or some other kind of impulsive behavior. Therefore, it is very important to learn some healthy ways of releasing the tension that accompanies intense anger.

Specific emotion regulation strategies for intense anger are described below. These anger management techniques are likely going to be helpful in dealing with other emotions as well. Considering this, they can be put to use in all areas of your life.

General Anger Management Techniques

Given that anger is often associated with high levels of tension and arousal, it is important to utilize a coping strategy that is going to provide some sense of release or bring on a state of relaxation and peace. Listed below are some strategies that may be helpful in this regard.

When you're feeling angry, try crying, exercising, practicing mindfulness or connecting with someone who is supportive to help soften the impact of this emotion. Call a friend when you're feeling out of sorts or have a talk with an empathetic family member.

In addition to these strategies, dancing, journaling or using self-soothing coping strategies or distraction can help you get through the moment. You can also create artwork, punch a pillow or throw soft objects (for example, stuffed animals or pillows) into a laundry basket or onto a bed to make it through your next angry episode.

If these strategies don't provide the release you're looking for, consider screaming into a pillow, tearing up a piece of paper (that is not important), crumbling up paper or hitting a punching bag. You can also scribble on a piece of paper until it is black or talk things through -- in a non-confrontational manner -- with the person who upset you.

Make sure you're no longer steaming mad when you have the confrontation, though. If not, it might be too tempting to engage in conduct that you'll later regret or let your anger get the best of you.

Finding What Works for You and When

Anger can be a very destructive emotion. Therefore, it is important to find a number of different ways of managing anger when it occurs. Some strategies may work better in some situations than others. The more prepared you are, the less off-guard you will be when you experience intense anger.

There are many more anger management techniques than those listed here. Try to figure some out on your own and try them out. If you're in a support group for people with PTSD, you can ask the members which methods work for them. If you're receiving counseling, ask your mental health treatment provider for more ideas.

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