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ADHD & Anger Management Techniques in Controlling Emotions
Anger is one of the most common emotional responses, and it can be difficult to manage for some people who have ADHD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurodivergent condition in which the brain struggles to regulate and control impulses, emotions, and inattentiveness properly. The person with this condition is sometimes seen as disruptive, hyperactive, or childish by others. Having an ADHD brain can make it hard to process emotions and handle them positively.
Feelings or emotions that are overwhelming, especially those considered harmful to someone with ADHD, are difficult to contain and can lead to anger and other unpleasant emotions. This may further hurt other people's feelings, complicate relationships, and cause emotional damage for some. That's why anger management is crucial for controlling emotions in adults with ADHD.
Although people may think that anger management techniques are only applicable to controlling the behavior of a single person, this is not entirely true. The techniques can also be used to help people with ADHD understand and cope with their emotions.
One issue that affects some people with ADHD is their surrounding environment. Aside from the genetic risk linked to ADHD, a youngster who has ADHD may have been frequently criticized and scolded throughout his childhood, resulting in the belief that he was doing everything wrong. This can lead to problems managing anger as an adult. The person with ADHD may have learned that expressing anger is the only way to get someone to listen to him. As a result, he may lash out in anger when he feels misunderstood or unimportant.
Do You Often Have Outbursts of Anger? Your ADHD Might Be to Blame For It
What angers you? Do you often get mad when waiting for too long for someone else? Do you get mad when you miss the bus? Do you feel angry when you are stuck in traffic? Do you sometimes yell at your children, family, or friends because of little things?
Some people with ADHD usually have a problem with chronic emotional dysregulation. It is a term coined to refer to the challenges some people with ADHD have in managing emotions. Emotional Dysregulation can vary from one person to another, but there are some common signs to look out for. These are the following:
- Frequent and intense mood swings – the difficulty of adult ADHD to regulate emotions well can cause mood swings that are intense and frequent. Some adults with ADHD might seem to have a short fuse, easy to irritate, and angry but can be easily soothed and comforted afterward.
- Oversensitive – when it comes to ADHD, people can feel emotions very intensely. This is why when they get criticized or put down in any way, they might overreact, have lower self-esteem, and take things too personally.
- Difficulty in controlling intense anger or emotions – a common ADHD trait is the inability to control impulses and feelings. These emotions they encounter may be too intense that they find it hard not to follow through with their urges, especially if it is related to anger.
- Forgetful of previous emotional experience – some adults with ADHD might have had traumatic events or emotional experiences in the past. Still, due to emotional regulation difficulties, they may forget such a traumatic memory and may not take emotional events seriously.
- Intrusive Thoughts - these negative feelings may be too strong that it causes them to dwell on the negative details of a situation or thought rather than looking at how they can fix things. In turn, this can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders.
- Inability to read facial expressions or other nonverbal cues – since people's emotions are often expressed in their different facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice, some ADHD adults may have difficulty recognizing this.
ADHD and anger issues, if not taken seriously, can result in other affective disorders, mental health issues, and psychological problems. It's best to learn more about what you can do to help yourself or someone with ADHD better manage their anger and other emotions.
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Know Your ADHD Symptoms: Growing Up and Handling Anger
Some people trace their Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to the early part of their childhood. For those people with late diagnoses, there are ADHD symptoms that aren't appropriately addressed. A lot of children with ADHD might have been criticized or reprimanded by their parents, teachers, and peers for an extended period without knowing their neurodivergent condition. Thus, the child tries to suppress his symptoms because he thinks it is wrong and can't do anything right. In child psychology, masking ADHD traits can result in low self-esteem, lesser self-confidence, and suppressed emotions.
Growing up, coping skills are often developed to cover up with the ADHD struggle on managing anger and other things that cause emotional intensity. But this doesn't guarantee that the person can't feel anger anymore. When a person absorbs every negative emotion he encounters, it can be challenging not to explode and have an angry outburst.
Adults who suffer from ADHD, on the other hand, are considerably more aware of their issues. But sometimes, what they lack is the ability to manage their emotions and harsh ideas. Most of them deal with it by suppressing their feelings and emotions, acting out on those feelings, taking recreational drugs, or self-medicating. Treatment difficulties frequently develop, especially when their rage outbursts become excessive.
Adults with ADHD who experience anger dysregulation might also develop severe anger problems, such as oppositional behavior because their anger and rage have nowhere to go. They feel helpless, so they throw "child's tantrums," act out violently, become defensive, or even shut down. And because their intense feelings are often misunderstood, the chance of getting help decreases.
ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Some people with ADHD struggle to control their anger and learn coping methods, which frequently leads to oppositional and rebellious behavior. When this happens, they're not in control of their own emotions, and they might do things that can cause harm to themselves, their friends, family members, or even strangers. Oppositional Defiant Disorder is the most common disorder linked to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
When a person engages in oppositional behavior, they are displaying stubborn disobedience and defiance as well as a propensity to be hostile towards others or authority figures. When someone is uncooperative with other people's instructions or standards, he or she is considered resistant. Oppositional behavior may also include deliberately annoying others, blaming others for their mistakes, being easily annoyed by others, and often arguing with adults.
Anger is a normal human emotion. However, when deep breathing, self-control, and stepping back fail to cure your anger problems, it may be time to get a psychological evaluation and work on your emotion dysregulation. ADHD symptoms and anger problems don't mix well and need a more intensive approach to deal with the situation.
How to Cope Up With The Emotional Struggles for People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
People with ADHD tend to have a more intense relationship with their emotions. Because of this, they often experience inappropriate angry outbursts, cannot control their temper, and have problems differentiating between healthy and unhealthy anger management.
It's said that there's a reason why ADHD individuals have trouble comprehending emotions: anxiety and irritation are two major causes of hyperactivity. Emotional dysregulation takes over because the person is overwhelmed with the condition. It's not easy to focus on one thing, especially when too many things are going on inside his head.
People with ADHD should know what ADHD signs to look for to manage and reduce the instances of being furious intensely. To be better prepared when stressful circumstances arise, people with ADHD should be conscious of their symptoms and follow these helpful steps:
- Get a proper ADHD diagnosis from mental health experts, along with evaluating chronic emotional dysregulation if there's any or even the slightest chance of it.
- When there are signs of anger issues, inform the people around you to be more cautious and aware of what's going on and avoid triggering your anger.
- Take it easy, and don't overreact when dealing with people, especially if you know that they can be the cause of your emotional outbursts. If you know that a person might cause you to be stressed and angry, avoid dealing with them for a while so you can have time to relax and think clearly.
- Learn how to meditate and use mindfulness-based interventions so each day will not be too stressful.
- Exercise more often! Having good physical health can sometimes reflect sound mental health. There's a good chance when your ADHD and anger trigger you; you have an outlet for them by doing physical activities.
- It's not your fault that you quickly get stressed, anxious, or angry. You are not alone in feeling these things because everyone has their challenges to deal with.
Anger is an essential component of our existence, and I understand how difficult it can be to manage. Although feelings of joy are more pleasurable to experience, anger is never a good emotion to feel. Anger does far more damage than good. There are ways to overcome it, but they are not as easy as saying "stop." It takes time and effort to learn how to control our emotions. If you want things to improve, you must first learn how to manage your ADHD and anger. Don't worry! I will guide you along the way as I know how difficult this journey could be. Read more of my blog posts to learn more!
ADHD & Anger Management: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What are some ways to deal with anger?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as different techniques may work for different people. Some popular methods include deep breathing exercises, counting to ten, removing oneself from the situation, and using visualization or affirmations.
How can I prevent myself from getting angry?
Again, there is no one perfect answer, but common tips include avoiding triggers if possible, taking breaks when feeling overwhelmed, and communicating with others about how they best handle difficult situations.
My child has ADHD and seems to get angry a lot – what should I do?
If your child's anger appears to be excessive or unmanageable, it is important to consult with a mental health professional. They can help you identify any underlying issues your child might have.