Conventional (Pharmaceutical) Approach
Various pharmaceutical medications are available to treat anxiety, stress and anger problems. The type of medication prescribed by a practitioner will be determined by a number of factors including the cause of the anger problem. Examples of some drug categories used include:
- Antiolytics (anti-anxiety) e.g. Alprazolam, Diazepam.
- Antidepressants e.g. Paroxetine, Fluoxetine.
- Antipsychotics e.g. Paliperidone, Risperidone.
- Mood regulators e.g. Lithium, Valproate.
Such drugs should only be taken on the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. Depending on the situation and before prescribing any pharmaceutical medication, the practitioner may recommend clinical assessment by a specialist and/or suggest trying various non-pharmaceutical approaches.
Complementary and Alternative (Non-Pharmaceutical) Approach
There are many ways to manage and control anger effectively. The use of non-pharmaceutical drugs is often referred to as natural treatment (i.e. Complementary and Alternative Medicine a.k.a. CAM) and may include:
- Herbal medicines e.g. Agrimony, St. John’s Wort.
- Herbal teas e.g. Chamomile, Passion Flower.
- Herbal tinctures e.g. Burdock Root, Verbena.
- Vitamins and supplements e.g. B Vitamin Complex, Omega-3 , as well as a
- Variety of anti-anger therapies, techniques and self-help approaches.
However, medication per se is not necessarily the panacea for all anger-related problems and conditions. Though some serious disorders will require the use of conventional medicines to help stabilize and control anger or violent outbursts, in general, pharmaceutical medicines and/or CAM are used in a supportive role.
The root of anger management lies in working to identify the cause of an individual’s anger by raising their level of awareness through self-exploration (See also anger and cognitive therapy). The next step involves developing self-control/self-discipline and overcoming potential anger surges through learning methods to dissipate it effectively. An anger management plan can facilitate the process by laying out an organized pathway for an individual to follow and introducing accountability.
Anger Management Plan
Anger management lesson plans are best when tailored to the individual’s needs; this will usually require objective evaluation from a qualified counselor or therapist. The plan is designed to offer a person effective strategies for dealing with stressful or confrontational situations. In addition, it will provide the necessary tools to help control temper issues when the individual experiences signs of negative emotions or angry thoughts. They often comprise of 5 steps:
- Step 1 is becoming conscious of what makes you angry. Writing down these thoughts might help you to decide how to proceed in a positive way rather than lash out.
- Step 2 is to practice self-control. When opposition arises it is essential to stop, take a minute and evaluate the situation. This gives you an opportunity to think about your usual response without actually acting on it.
- Step 3 involves you assessing your probable reaction. It is then essential to think about the potential fallout from each reaction. This process will permit you to consider reasonable ways of dealing with the situation without becoming hot-tempered.
- Step 4 is the decision-making step. Considering the options for reactions, you must now decide which one is likely to work or be effective. It is then time to act on this decision.
- Step 5 refers to the stage whereby having followed through with steps 1 to 4, you evaluate your process. This allows time to think over the entire situation to discern whether the result was a positive one.
Working through anger management plans such as this may be relatively easy when you are in a calm, non-confrontational state of mind, however, applying the principles while experiencing negative emotions and surging anger will be the real test. The only way to ensure the plan works is to practice, practice and practice it over and over again, until the negative ingrained pattern of behavior is modified to become a positive one. It may take time, but with the right attitude success is very achievable.