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Behavioral Health

Treatment Options

Treatment for Anger

Psychosocial Interventions for Anger Management

Anger management programs often utilize cognitive-behavioral techniques.1, 2The components include:

  • Education about the nature of anger
  • Cognitive strategies focused on changing unhelpful beliefs that trigger and maintain anger (e.g., "He tried to hurt me because he's out to get me" vs. "Even though he hurt me he did not do it on purpose.")
  • Identifying and coping with triggers for anger (e.g., developing skills to cope with anger—relaxation techniques, assertiveness training communication, and stress management techniques)
  • Homework assignments to practice strategies learned in treatment

Anger management can be applied from self-help books or through individual or group formats. Overall psychological and social (psychosocial) interventions are effective in reducing anger problems.3

Anger Management Programs
For some people, the easiest way to change the way they handle anger is to work with a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional in an individual or group therapy setting. A therapist, who can observe and analyze your behavior from an impartial perspective, can help you with reality testing. If you participate in an anger management group, the other group members can help you do this too. An anger management therapist will also provide expertise in effective anger management strategies, and should be able to help with the development of a personalized set of strategies for adjusting the thought process and behaviors that will support anger management.

Navigating Behavioral Health Treatment

What to Expect from Psychotherapy

Guidelines for Choosing a Behavior Therapist

Drug Therapy

Medications may be used to treat psychiatric disorders where anger is one of the symptoms. Since drug treatments vary depending upon the disorder, and not all medications work the same for all people, it is recommended that you talk to your provider to find out what treatment is best for you.

1Deffenbacher, J. L., & McKay, M. (2000). Overcoming Situational and General Anger- Client Manual. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

2National Center for PTSD & Walter Reed Medical Center (2004). The Iraq War Clinician Guide 2nd Edition.Accessed 11/22/13.

3Olatunji, B. O., & Lohr J. M. (2004). Nonspecific factors and the efficacy of psychosocial treatments for anger. The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 3, 2. Accessed 11/22/13.

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