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What Are the Causes of Anger in Teenagers?

Teen girls suffer higher rates of depression than boys, and anger is a common sign of teen depression.
Teens might get angry about their appearance.
Teenagers are easily frustrated if they feel people aren't listening to them.
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  • Written By: Mallory Hall
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2014
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There are many well-known causes for anger in teenagers, including ever-changing hormones and difficulty adapting to peers and social situations, but other reasons might not be so apparent. Teens might have a difficult time controlling anger if they are feeling depressed or are grieving. Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) also might be a reason a teenager consistently shows signs of anger and frustration.

Teenagers are most likely going through hormonal changes, so confusion might erupt as transformations take place at a crucial time in their lives. Anger in teenagers might be obvious when they are having a difficult time adjusting because they might not fully understand what is happening to them. Similarly, the teenage years are often an important time for young adults to assimilate into social situations. If teens do not fit in or feel wanted in certain settings, controlling anger might not be easy for them. Teenagers might feel overwhelmed and lash out in frustration and anger because of their extracurricular activities, significant amounts of homework or other responsibilities.

Depression also can be an underlying cause of anger in teenagers, even though it might not be apparent immediately. Mental health professionals note that anger is one of the most common signs of depression during the teenage years. Teen girls are twice as likely as their male counterparts to be depressed. When teen boys are depressed, they are more likely to exhibit antisocial behavior and anger problems.

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If teenagers are not comfortable expressing themselves in front of others or are unsure of how to show emotion when they have experienced a loss in their life, they might resort to using anger instead. Grieving teenagers might act out their frustration and anger at the world around them instead of communicating and working through their feelings. Anger in teenagers might become apparent if they are involved in the death in some way, feel responsible for the death or saw the death occur. They might try to compensate for feeling useless and helpless by resorting to anger instead.

A teenager who shows both unhealthy anger and has a hard time controlling anger might be suffering from oppositional defiant disorder. This disease is characterized by specific traits, such as an insatiable desire to seek revenge at all costs, excessive or incessant arguing, defiance and a complete lack of responsibility to accept blame for mistakes. All teens might display these patterns of behavior at any given time, but a teen who has ODD will lash out and be continuously disruptive.

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bluedolphin
Post 3

Some health issues like diabetes and bipolar disorder can also cause anger in teenagers. But most parents and teachers never think to look into this.

candyquilt
Post 2

@SarahGen-- I don't know anything about ODD, but you should definitely speak to a psychologist about it if you feel that your daughter has signs of it.

I personally don't think that it's a good idea to label teenagers with a "disorder" and that too with the word "defiant" in it. I think that will actually make things worse.

Teenage years are very difficult. This is the time when we tried to discover who we are and our place in the world. It can also be a competitive time at school. If there are troubles at home, that also puts a lot of emotional stress on teenagers.

I was also very defiant and angry as a teenager. But I had family issues and issues at school. I did not have many friends and was made fun of most of the time. I didn't participate in any extracurricular activities. I couldn't vent my anger at school and so it usually came out at home. But now I realize that it was just a phase. Once I started college, everything changed.

I know it's difficult for you too, but try to be patient with your daughter. I hope she will get out of this phase quickly.

SarahGen
Post 1

I think my fourteen year old has oppositional defiant disorder. She doesn't do anything without putting up a fight first. She is very aggressive at school and at home. She will yell, break things, shut doors and ignore me until she gets what she wants.

Are there any parents here with a ODD diagnosed teenager? Does this sound like ODD?

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