Substance abuse addicts have always had issues controlling their anger. Medical experts have established the link between anger, aggression, and alcohol or cocaine usage.
Anger and Addiction Treatment
Anger has always been a component of addiction treatment. Sadly, until recently, drug addiction programs either ignored it or treated it as an afterthought. Substance addiction is often accompanied by anger, aggression, and violence. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse found that 40% of regular cocaine users reported engaging in violent or aggressive conduct. Anger and aggressiveness are often linked with substance addiction, both as a cause and a result. Survivors of traumatic experiences often suffer rage, violence, and drug or alcohol addiction. This is now happening with Iraqi war veterans.
Anger and Substance Abuse
Misuse and dependency have risen beyond any previous expectations. In the United States alone, an estimated 23 million individuals struggle daily with drug addiction or dependence. Many don’t receive treatment for their anger issues. But their anger is usually the root of their problem.
For many alcoholics and addicts, anger precedes drug usage.
What Causes Anger?
Anger is an emotional and mental state that arises when our expectations of life, others, or ourselves are not met. Addictive behavior and substance misuse is an addict’s method of “numbing” the pain of their rage. This is self-medication, not anger management.
When we don’t know how to handle our anger, we hold it within. It festers and frequently leads to more unpleasant feelings like sadness and worry. The person has now developed a secondary disorder to their drug addiction and must be treated accordingly. Clinical research has shown that anger management counseling for drug abusers reduces or eliminates relapses.
Alcohol, Cocaine and Methamphetamine Dependency
Alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamine dependency are all linked to molecular changes in the brain. Traditional drug and alcohol addiction treatment focus on group therapy and cognitive behavior modification, which frequently ignores the “physiological” or “emotional” components of addictive behavior.
Many cocaine addicts have frequent and severe bouts of rage before using cocaine, making them more prone to relapse than those who can manage their anger well. Clinical studies have shown that cognitive-behavioral treatments for mood and anxiety disorders may assist people with anger management issues to decrease their frequency and severity of rage.
Anger Management Therapy
Insufficient research has investigated the effectiveness of an anger management therapy for cocaine-dependent people. The Department of Veterans Affairs has performed many studies on the efficacy of anger management therapy in a sample of individuals with a primary diagnosis of PTSD. Although many of the individuals in these trials had a history of drug or alcohol abuse, the model was not chosen to represent a substance abuse condition like cocaine addiction. Given the potential involvement of anger in drug addiction, research evaluating the effectiveness of anger management therapy in cocaine addicts might be helpful.
Even though all professional drug addiction treatment providers have access to knowledge on anger management, it has not gotten the attention it deserves and requires effective treatment. While many, if not all, drug addiction clinics claim to incorporate anger management in their therapy, few provide anger certification for their counselors.
They are often instructed to teach a specific amount of hours or sessions on anger management and then allowed to discover their own resources. They prefer to assemble anything they can and call it anger control.
However, few drug addiction clinicians have tried to link the two or offer assistance for both. Many premium residential drug and alcohol rehab facilities have partnered with Certified Anger Management Providers to provide anger management to inpatient substance addiction clients.
Need Anger Management Help in South Florida?
We offer a full-service counseling practice that matches the right therapist for all of your needs.
Finding the right therapist should not add to your worries. We have psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and licensed professional counselors who can help. We also have the skills to match you with the right therapist for your needs.