Dealing with a co-occurring disorder can be extremely frustrating. Not only are you dealing with the impacts of addiction, but a mental health disorder as well. This combination can cause many individuals to develop a sense of anger toward their situation. This anger may be taken out on yourself or others. It is essential to manage this anger and develop appropriate coping skills that relate to the aspects of your co-occurring disorder.

Understanding Anger

You may notice that you are dealing with high levels of anger. In many cases, you may be taking this frustration out on those you care about. It is important to understand where your anger arises from so that you can manage it and move past it.

Identify Triggers

There may be specific instances that cause your anger to spike. Pay attention to what these instances are and why they leave you with high levels of frustration. Many individuals with co-occurring disorders find that their anger levels are highest when they are engaging in substance use. Working to maintain sobriety should be a clear path to getting rid of this anger, but what if that is not enough?

Identify other potential triggers that bring upon feelings of anger. Oftentimes, anger arises in similar situations, pinpointing a specific situation or action that may need to change. Identifying this root cause of anger is a great way to reverse the effects. Every time you encounter high levels of anger, try writing a quick journal entry. Write about what made you angry when you first noticed this anger arising. After a few occurrences, you can reflect on potential similarities.

Managing Anger

There are many practices you can utilize to help regulate your levels of anger. Implementing these practices can help you move past the hardships of co-occurring disorders and find a sense of balance within your life.

Be Aware of the Anger Cycle

Anger often occurs in cyclical behavior. The cycle of anger frequently begins with a buildup of frustration toward a specific individual or situation. As small annoyances build, the level of anger you experience may bottle up and grow.

The next stage is an explosion. During this stage, you may engage in verbal aggression or violence, or another unhealthy form of coping. For instance, an outburst may occur. An outburst often involves rash decision-making and extreme actions. These actions are often regretted when you reach the final stage of the cycle, the aftermath. During the final stage, you may experience negative consequences from your actions and feel regret, guilt, or further anger.

This cycle can start again when different frustrations begin to build up. If you notice yourself restarting the cycle of aggression or anger, take a moment to reflect on the aspects that are causing your frustration. You may need to work through minor issues to calm your levels of anger and avoid reaching a state of destruction.

Regulate Your Emotions

A common problem for individuals with substance use disorder and co-occurring disorders is properly regulating their emotions. The recovery journey is full of hardships that provoke high emotions. When these emotions are active, it is essential to utilize your coping skills and regulate these emotions. If you feel anger arising, utilize these skills to calm down and avoid continuing through the cycle of anger.

A great tactic for calming your feelings of anger is to simply breathe. Breathing is a necessary action to engage in to survive. While we do this subconsciously most of the time, ensuring you are breathing slowly and deeply is a great way to calm your nerves when you are angry.

To do this, take deep breaths. They should feel like they originate from low in your abdomen, not high in your chest. Let each breath out slowly, allowing oxygen to flow throughout your body.

Taking a moment to let go of your surroundings and focus on your breathing is one way of engaging in mindfulness. This practice allows you to focus on truly being present in the moment. A few minutes in this state of mind can drastically reduce your anger.

Utilize Communication

When you find you are angry about something specific, try to address your frustration before allowing your anger to build up. Communicating your frustration is a great way to manage aggression in a healthy way. When aggression is managed, you lower your risk of engaging in rash interactions that hinder your recovery or reinforce acts of anger toward others. Practicing this can also help you to maintain your relationships and further your communication skills.

Before beginning these conversations, think about the aspects that you are frustrated about. Determine how you can communicate this respectfully. You may need to regulate your emotions before engaging in these conversations to ensure you retain a level of respect. This is a great way to resolve conflict and lower your levels of anger before it begins to build up against you. You may be surprised by how much one simple conversation can address your frustrations and stop you from an angry outburst.

Anger is commonly experienced when individuals are dealing with co-occurring disorders. Substances are often used as a coping mechanism to regulate these feelings. While maintaining sobriety, you may find that your levels of anger are spiking. Utilizing emotional regulation skills can help you manage your anger and retain your focus on moving forward in recovery, rather than dwelling on the situations that upset you. These skills are important to have and practice when managing co-occurring disorders so that you can set yourself up for success. Learn how you can recognize the onset of anger and the different practices you can engage in to eliminate the outbursts of anger. Call Dream Recovery today at (657) 216-7218.

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