Anger management is a burning issue, especially for men, and within that category, especially for younger men. The inability to manage anger can have catastrophic consequences, both for the person with the problem and for all those around them.
We all get angry sometimes, but most of us are able to temper our reaction to our anger. However, some people lose all perspective when the emotion takes over and immediately react with shouting and even violence. Many different factors can contribute to this sort of over-reaction. Research indicates that children who suffer emotional neglect or abuse during very early childhood can be particularly vulnerable, while people living with foetal alcohol syndrome, and a range of other issues, often struggle with regulating their emotions. Our experiences in early childhood, and in the womb, can have an impact on brain development, making some people “wired” to be hyper-responsive to the triggers that make them angry.
These problems can be particularly acute in young men. Young men, in general, tend to be more emotionally volatile than other demographics, and they are also physically stronger. When these qualities combine with factors such as social deprivation, drug or alcohol abuse, and access to weapons or the acceptance of violence in the society they live in, the result can be disastrous. Young men are particularly vulnerable not just to being violent themselves, but also to being the victims of violence—and while most brawls result in bruises and hurt egos, they can sometimes result in serious injuries and even death.
Many therapeutic approaches can help those prone to violence to gain a greater degree of control over their emotions, and research indicates that technology may also have a role to play. As scientists acquire greater knowledge of how our brains work, they are starting to understand how normal subjects manage and suppress anger responses, and how neurological issues in some people can make this very difficult. By isolating the areas of the brain associated with violent impulses, it may be possible to identify treatments such as manipulating electrical activity in specific parts of the brain, with a view to suppressing or delaying an anger response. Delaying such a response, even by seconds, would give the person in question time to think about how to respond to the trigger that is making them feel angry.
While technological approaches to managing violence offer great hope, it is also important to look at other factors, including social inequality, childhood neglect, resilience (or the lack thereof) and access to weapons. There is no longer a debate about whether nature or nurture is responsible for problems of this sort; they both have a role to play. Anger can destroy lives; those who struggle to manage anger may end up in prison, with all the personal repercussions this involves for their lives and those of their families, while their loved ones and all those they encounter can risk serious physical and emotional injury. When it comes to anger, an approach predicated around prevention is always best.
WHO CAN I SPEAK TO FURTHER ABOUT THE ISSUES IN THIS ARTICLE?
For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.