What Is the Connection between Anxiety and Anger?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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Anxiety and anger are connected primarily because there are some common thought pathways leading from feelings of anxiousness to anger, as well as some biological tendencies towards rage in people who are feeling anxious. It is very easy for feelings of worry to turn to anger if the worried person takes the wrong viewpoint, something that can often happen due to frustration or hopelessness. In addition, individuals who are worried are often dealing with hormonal responses which might make them prone to quick mood swings. There are also some practical issues of day-to-day life and health which often connect anxiety and anger.

In many cases, anxiousness turns to anger when a person feels like everything is going wrong in his life and he becomes frustrated. For example, if a person loses a wallet with a lot of money in it, his first reaction might be fear or even panic. Suddenly, he doesn't have money to pay his bills or purchase the items he needs. It is very easy for that initial anxiety to turn into anger. He may feel angry at himself for losing his wallet and he may even feel that the whole of existence has turned against him, leading to a general feeling of rage towards everyone and everything around him. This overall feeling of anger can cause him to lash out at people with very little provocation.


Another way for anxiety and anger to interconnect is through the basic biology of the body's hormonal responses. In the aforementioned example of the individual with the missing wallet, all his worry will probably cause his body to excrete various hormones related to the body's fight or flight reaction. From a biological perspective, the person is ready for something dangerous to happen, and once the body is in that kind of high-intensity state, fear can turn to anger in an instant. This hormonal edginess can potentially work hand in hand with the frustration of living with anxiety in a synergistic way, possibly leading to bouts with intense and explosive rage.

Anxiety and anger can also be connected because of the basic practical effects anxiety has on an individual's day-to-day lifestyle. When people get worried, it can eventually wear out their bodies. They may have trouble resting and they might not feel like eating, which can eventually make the person moody and constantly irritable.

Finding a way to conquer feelings of anxiety can potentially help a person extinguish feelings of anger as well. Once an individual manages to calm down, the hormones and lifestyle changes that have made the person feel angry should disappear. There are many medications prescribed for people with anxiety disorders that can potentially make people take a more productive outlook on life's difficulties. A psychotherapist can also sometimes be helpful in these situations by teaching an individual various ways of coping with feelings of fear before those feelings have a chance to morph into anger and by showing a person how to recognize and short-circuit the triggers in the mind that lead from anxiety to anger.


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What research are these assertions based upon?

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