Anger: An Introduction

Anger Issues

That’s the phrase I’ve often heard: anger issues. I don’t know know if “anger issues” are commonly thought of as a problem belonging to the psychiatric realm. Are there medications for “anger issues,” you might wonder. Can we really do anything about anger issues other than go to anger management classes? That’s what I always saw on television. Do those classes work? What exactly does it mean to say “I have anger issues.” Do I have anger issues? Do we all have anger issues? Do you ever get so angry you want to die? Is that “anger issues”?

What is anger? One definition the dictionary offers is, “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” This is obviously something we all experience. Just as with the other emotions, just as with depression and anxiety, the problem is when there is excessive anger. 

How do we define “excessive anger”? One way is by, again, looking at how we deal with the other emotions. It becomes excessive anger when it becomes problematic, when it becomes disruptive to a person’s life. 

So perhaps we can define “anger issues” and “excessive anger” as “anger which by its intensity and/or frequency causes significant dysfunction in a person’s life, social, occupational, or otherwise.” That’s one possible definition. 

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