Home > Living With ADHD > ADHD and Anger Management

ADHD and Anger Management

By: Kathryn Senior PhD - Updated: 30 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Adhd Anger Management Children Adults

One of the common features of ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – in adults is that controlling feelings of restlessness and a lack of concentration in work and social situations can lead to a lot of bottled up stress. People with ADHD are very prone to mood swings and find it difficult to get control over their emotions. This is a potent mixture that makes it very difficult for many adults with ADHD to control their anger.

If you have had a formal ADHD diagnosis, you are hopefully getting the best ADHD treatment to help and you are getting some support to help you cope with the condition in everyday life. But many people fail to recognise that they have a problem with anger and it is a good idea to look at this as calmly and objectively as possible.

Partners Bear the Brunt of Anger

Probably the easiest way to gauge if you have a problem with anger is to ask your spouse or partner. The people we are closest too often get the worst of it and will tell you by their reaction whether your angry outbursts are a problem. If you have had trouble in relationships in the past, or difficulty keeping cool in any social situation, anger may also be at the root of that.

Many people with ADHD realise that their angry outbursts can cause a great deal of pain for their parents, their children and their partner, as well as other close relatives and friends. You owe it to yourself and everyone you care about to try to manage your anger – but you can’t do it alone.

Admitting You Get Angry

One of the first steps to managing your anger is to admit to yourself and others that you do actually get angry quite a lot and it is a problem. It is very easy to blame circumstances or other people – it was your fault, you were late, you didn’t phone, you woke me up... It is important for you to accept fully that these things may happen, but your reaction need not be to blow up in fury every single time. These outbursts may be costing you very dearly in your relationships.

Becoming Aware of Your Anger

Being more aware of your anger starts with being able to take responsibility for your reactions. You can then talk more openly to the people you spend a lot of time with – ask them to help you recognise the signs that anger is building up. Do you always get angry in the same situations? Can you avoid or change anything to make sure you don’t get the anger triggered so often? If you find that you feel very angry when you are hungry or tired, or after you have drunk a couple of glasses of wine or beer, make a firm decision to look after yourself. Have regular healthy snacks and avoid long periods between meals, make sure you get enough time to relax before bed and then to sleep and if alcohol is a problem, cut it out altogether.

What physical signs warn you that you are getting angry? Do you start raising your voice, going red, getting hot, feeling out of control? Start trying to recognise the early stages of a really bad attack of anger and take yourself out of the situation straight away to calm down. This is especially important if you have small children. Any parent can reach breaking point, but if you have ADHD as well, it is easy to feel completely overwhelmed by a screaming toddler.

Get Professional Help

As people around you see that you are trying to manage your anger, their responses will be more positive. It will also help if you can learn some relaxation or meditation techniques to generally increase your level of control over things like your breathing and your voice.

But self help is one thing and professional help is another. If anger is becoming a real problem, as your GP or your ADHD doctor about anger management therapy. Experts in anger management can suggest new strategies that you may not have thought of. You may never get rid of anger completely – few people without ADHD manage that – but you will cope better if you do everything you can to stop anger taking over.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • overcomeignorance
    Re: Is ADHD Hereditary?
    Dear coach4learn: The views you seem to be projecting are a blatant disregard towards the obvious truth regarding attention…
    10 August 2017
  • Fast Eddie
    Re: ADHD in Adults
    Stumbled upon this. Not really computer literate. You are describing me. What I hate most is my wife continually shouting at me that I "just don't…
    16 November 2016
  • ADDandADHD
    Re: ADHD and Dyslexia
    Jackie - Your Question:My son has is 8 years old now and can hardly read. He does not read. It seems as if he is struggling to get the alphabet…
    2 November 2016
  • Jackie
    Re: ADHD and Dyslexia
    My son has is 8 years old now and can hardly read. He does not read. It seems as if he is struggling to get the alphabet in "his head". His…
    2 November 2016
  • Sue
    Re: ADHD in Adults
    My son has had problems since he was born but never diagnosed he has been in lots of trouble with the authorities and broken relationships. He self…
    17 September 2016
  • gie
    Re: The Difference Between Bad Behaviour and ADHD
    i have 13yr old son, he has been diagnosed adhd since age 7yr. old until now we keep on visiting his doctor.…
    11 August 2016
  • dragonborn
    Re: Why Do Some Teenagers With ADHD Self Harm?
    this is my story i have ADHD and people dont realise what it is and think i take things too far and i dont…
    4 March 2016
  • Baileylillis
    Re: ADHD and the Da Vinci Method
    I read this topic, and I liked it very much, but I was woundering why would you want to get rid of the ADHD. It inihanses peoples…
    14 December 2015
  • sarah
    Re: ADHD Management Options for Adults
    Hello I'm Sarah. I am 42 years old.I believe there is a string possibility that I may have ADD. I think I have always had…
    11 November 2015
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ADDandADHD website. Please read our Disclaimer.