Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a condition that affects both children and adults. For adults, one of the main symptoms of ADHD is difficulty regulating emotions, which can lead to problems with anger. If you’re an adult who has been diagnosed with ADHD, it’s important to be aware of how your condition may impact your anger and learn strategies for managing your emotions.
In this blog post, we aim to educate you on how ADHD could be contributing to an anger problem and what can be done to manage it.
How common are anger problems in adults with ADHD?
A recent study found that adults with ADHD are far more likely to experience emotional fluctuations than those without the condition. The study, which was published in 2020, compared adults with ADHD to those without the diagnosis and found that 50.2% of adults with ADHD had frequent emotional fluctuations, compared to just 5% of those without ADHD. This data suggests that adult ADHD is associated with a significantly increased risk for anger problems.
While the exact cause of this link is not fully clear yet, it is clear that adults with ADHD are more likely to struggle with managing their emotions.
What are some of the causes of anger problems in adults with ADHD?
There are a number of ways that adult ADHD can cause anger problems.
- Firstly, as we have mentioned previously, people with ADHD often have difficulty regulating their emotions. This can lead to outbursts of anger, especially in situations where they feel overwhelmed or frustrated.
- Secondly, ADHD also causes problems with executive functioning, which can make it difficult to manage impulsivity and handle conflict in a constructive way.
- Finally, people with ADHD may have difficulty dealing with the day-to-day challenges of life, which can also lead to frustration and anger.
While there is no single cause of anger problems in adults with ADHD, these are some of the most common contributing factors.
How can you manage your anger if you have ADHD?
Coming up with solutions on how to manage your anger if you have ADHD can be difficult as not everyone is the same. Some people with ADHD are quick to anger and may lash out without thinking about the consequences. Others may bottle up their anger until it explodes in a rage. Either way, uncontrolled anger can cause problems in your personal and professional life.
Nevertheless, we have created the below list of tips that should come in handy for anyone needing advice:
- Know your triggers – In order to manage your anger correctly, you first need to understand different scenarios that have caused your anger to be uncontrollable in the past. We would recommend creating a list of recent outbursts you have had over the past year, once you have a list in place try to connect the dots and see if there’s a pattern in the things that make you angry.
- Combat your triggers – Once you have knowledge of what triggers are causing your anger outbursts, it is then important to create a plan on how to manage these situations going forward. If there is a common denominator on your list of triggers i.e. all the triggers happen in the workplace then a change in job may be well overdue.
- Take control of your mind – Anger problems can be characterised as a lack of control over your emotions and your mind. Introduce breathing exercises and meditation into your life to help calm your emotions and give you more mental clarity when dealing with stressful situations.
- Talk to a loved one – Outbursts of anger are often a result of built-up emotions that may of been in the back of your mind for some time. Having someone to talk to about what you are feeling can be an amazing stress reliever but make sure it is someone who will provide a sympathetic ear and won’t look to make your feelings any worse than what they’re.
- Speak to your doctor – Some medications given to help with ADHD can cause you to become more emotional as a person, if you are experiencing anger problems a lot then it would be highly recommended that you speak to your doctor about it as they may recommend either lowering your medication dose or trying out an alternative medication which may not provide the same issues.
Are there treatments available for adults with ADHD suffering from anger problems?
If you have gone through all the above tips and still have no luck controlling your anger then treatment options are available, the most recommended treatments for this type of issue include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – A very popular form of therapy, CBT can help you to identify the thoughts and beliefs that are triggering your anger, and then replace them with more positive and productive ones.
- Stress management – This can involve learning how to better deal with stressors in your life, as well as developing healthy coping mechanisms for when you do feel stressed.
- Relaxation techniques – Ideal for helping you to manage the physical symptoms of anger, such as increased heart rate and muscle tension.
- Medication – As outlined in one of our previous paragraphs, if you speak to your doctor they may recommend medication designed to lower feelings of stress and anxiety to help you feel more relaxed.
If you are looking for more help and advice on dealing with any anger-related issue then please consult your doctor and let them know about your ADHD diagnosis to see if they recommend a treatment that will be right for you.