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Dr. Ben
Dr. Ben, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1589
Experience:  GP Partner, practicing Medicine for 14 years. I have broad experience with special interests in Mental Health, Dermatology, Paediatrics, Sexual Health and Oncology.
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Probably sounds stupid, I’ve really struggled with anger

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Probably sounds stupid, I’ve really struggled with anger problems my whole life. I’ve never really been able to control it. I’ve had counselling before and it didn’t help. The fact that I’ve struggled to change and thought maybe that I’d grow out of it I’ve alwaus
Assistant: Have you seen a doctor about this yet? What medications are you taking?
Customer: I’ve never taken anything. I was given sleeping pills a few years ago
Assistant: What medications do you take daily? Are you allergic to any medications?
Customer: None and no
Assistant: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?
Customer: No physically fit and well
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, really just looking for some advice and someone to talk to. I’ve really struggled with anger problems since quite a young age, it’s so difficult for me to explain i sometimes can’t even explain why I feel so angry and why I’m shouting it’s like it’s just taken out my control and I don’t really know what I’m saying. I’ve had counselling before and it hasn’t really helped me. It’s really effected relationships in the past and I don’t want it to continue. As well as being an angry person I can be really insecure, I constantly compare myself to other people and worry that I’m not pretty enough and my boyfriend will leave me for someone better. It sounds ridiculous.

Hello, thank you for your question. I’m Dr. Ben and I’m here to assist you today. Please allow me a few moments to review your question and I’ll be right back.

If you receive an invitation for a phone call, please know this is automatically generated by the site and has not come from me. Feel free to ignore it.

This doesn’t sound ridiculous at all.

I think you have already identified a large part of the underlying problem in recognising your insecurity.

Anger is not the problem itself, it is just a manifestation of the major negative emotion - fear. It is completely normal for people (and all animals for that matter) to react angrily when fearful - this is a hard-wired survival instinct i.e. the ‘fight or flight’ response. It is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system and is very largely outside of our conscious control. It will be activated (and accordingly the body will be in a hypervigilant state) whenever there is a real or perceived ‘threat’ - this certainly includes both physical and emotional stresses. However, as well as causing the issues you are describing, it is not beneficial for our ongoing health to be in this state for prolonged periods and we should make efforts to ‘deactivate’ it (and instead engage the ‘parasympathetic’ system) on a regular basis.

Is this making sense so far?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thankyou for responding, yes makes sense. I feel like I get mad over small things. Things that some people won’t even react too?

Yes, that is completely understandable in this situation. Whilst in a hypervigilant or defensive state, the threshold for these reactions are much lower. Also, once the reactions do occur they are relatively difficult to ‘switch off’ again and are somewhat automated - like we said, they are fundamentally a survival instinct - hence why it can feel that you are out of control/can’t stop.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay Thankyou, is there anything I can try or do to help. Do you think it’s worth seeing my gp?

Broadly speaking, three things will help - addressing the underlying ‘fear’, regularly ‘deactivating’ the sympathetic system and responding in a more helpful way when these reactions occur.

Let’s talk about each one in turn.

‘Fear’ is a broad term but encompasses feelings such as insecurity, lack if confidence, low self-esteem etc. It is usually the underlying emotion that leads to other negative ones including anger, jealousy, embarrassment, sadness etc.

It is helpful first to identify, acknowledge and accept those things that are making us fearful - do so in a non-judgemental way i.e. this is just the way you feel, it is not your fault and it is likely that anybody else who has had your life experiences would feel the same way too. Tell yourself this is okay. We can then use this as a basis to move forwards from.

Emotions are generally outside of or conscious control, being generated from deeper parts of the brain, the colloquial ‘subconscious mind’. However, we can certainly influence them - this does take time, repetition and perseverance though.

A couple of simple, yet very effective methods are to recite (out loud) a daily positive affirmation. This is a positive, personal statement such as what you like about yourself, what you are going to achieve etc. It doesn’t have to be long and there are lots of examples you can search for, but ideally I would suggest creating your own that is meaningful to you. It may seem banal, but please don’t underestimate how powerful this method is for positively influencing your subconscious processes including self-perception, self-worth, internal dialogue etc.

The second is to keep a ‘gratitude diary’ - ideally a physical notebook on your bedside table. Before you go to sleep every night, write down 3 things that have gone well or you are happy about that day (it doesn’t matter if they are trivial or silly things). Again, this has a strong positive influence on the subconscious and also tends to improve sleep quality too.

Alongside this, it is important to develop your self-esteem and self-confidence by ensuring you are regularly engaging in activities that you find ‘fulfilling’. This will be different for everyone as everyone has different interests and talents. Regular exercise is frequently very beneficial (especially for self-confidence, body image etc) however it may also include any other hobby that you find stimulating (a good way to identify these is to either cast your mind back to what you would enjoy doing as a child or trying to recall activities where time seemed to race by or you ‘lost yourself in it’ i.e. you were in a ‘flow’ state).

To regularly ‘deactivate’ the sympathetic system, try to schedule regular relaxation periods throughout the day. These don’t have to be long (5-15 mins is okay) but they do need to happen and they need to be protected. Use them for activities such as controlled breathing, meditation, yoga/stretching, mindfulness, music, reading etc. Whatever you find most relaxing.

Doing ‘flow’ activities at least once a week will also help a great deal in this respect too.

When you do experience an angry reaction, try to acknowledge it, articulate how you are feeling (rather than directing anger towards someone else) and what you need to do - then do it e.g. ‘x situation’ has upset me and I am feeling angry because of that. I need to go somewhere quiet to relax and calm down’

Does this help?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Really helpful Thankyou so much.

You’re very welcome, all the best.

Please let me know if I can help in any other way in the future.

Dr. Ben and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will do Thankyou