How to Get the Help You Need for Anger Management

By Charles H. Elliott, Laura L. Smith, W. Doyle Gentry

Managing your anger is a major life change. Everybody needs support — nobody can go through life completely alone. When you’re embarking on a major change in your life, the help of other people is especially important.

Support comes in many forms. To manage your anger effectively, you need all the following kinds of support:

  • Carefully selected family and friends: You need people who are behind you 100 percent, people who know about your problems with anger and are cheering you on as you figure out how to manage it.

    Don’t be too surprised if, at first, you have trouble getting support for your efforts at anger management. Realize that you’ve probably hurt a lot of people with your anger over the years — and they may have some lingering resentment, fear, and uncertainty. That’s natural. But if you’re truly committed to managing your anger, chances are they’ll eventually rally to your cause.

  • Informational support: You can have the best of intentions, but if you don’t have the information you need about anger and how to manage it, you won’t get far. Lucky for you, you’re holding all the information you need to get a handle on your anger in your hands.

  • Self-help: Most communities have anger-management self-help groups and classes — these are usually published in the newspaper and on the Internet. Some religious organizations also sponsor such self-help groups.

  • Professional help: People with anger-management problems generally don’t think of themselves as needing psychotherapy. However, a trained, licensed therapist, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist usually has important skills that can help you turn away from anger. Therapy can help you identify your personal anger triggers, teach coping skills, and support you through the process.

Refrain from exploring medications for your anger-management problems unless your difficulties are extreme and you haven’t gotten very far with self-help and professional assistance. Most of the medications for anger issues are quite powerful and have serious side effects. If you do choose this option, make sure you go to an expert at prescribing medications for mental health issues.