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Anger - Definition, Symptoms & Causes

Anger is a primary emotion. It may manifest across a range, from annoyance or sarcasm to destructive rage. When anger takes over and harms the life of a person, it is known as problem anger. Directed at oneself, it may result in severe self criticism or self injury. Directed at others, it may lead to physical abuse, verbal abuse, violence, or workplace bullying. People may worry about their own problem anger, know someone with problem anger, or have ended a relationship with someone who has problem anger.

Symptoms of Anger

Passive anger involves not being straightforward with oneself or others. Aggressive anger involves crossing the boundaries of others. Anger may result in anxiety, depression, eating disorders, obsessiveness, physical consequences, resentments, tension, drug abuse, or alcohol abuse. Anger may involve a repetitive cycle of self justification and blame of others, then self responsibility and guilt. When anger is used to manipulate others it may disrupt personal relationships or work relationships.

Causes of Anger

Anger may be related to one's interpretation of themself or someone they care about having been denied, offended, provoked or wronged by another, and a tendency to retaliate. Anger may also be related to abuse, bereavement, childhood issues, the flight or fight response, growing up in a family where problem anger was the norm, fear, hunger, loneliness, loss of objectivity, personal relationship problems, physical illness, physical pain, sexual frustration, stress, tiredness, or withdrawal from drugs or alcohol.

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Updated 06 July 2011