Anxiety Support
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Anger And Anxiety

I saw this article today on which supports people who have depression.

It's interesting to see the relationship between anger and anxiety in particular anger that feels like 'boiling inside' and being angry with the world at times.

"Washington, December 5 (ANI): For millions of individuals around the world who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), anger is an agent that exacerbates their illness, according to a new study from Concordia University.

Concordia graduate student Sonya Deschenes investigated the subject after conducting a literature review for her PhD research, supervised by psychology professor Michel Dugas. While some of the studies she came across showed that anger and anxiety were linked, she noticed that this relationship was poorly understood.

"This was surprising to me because irritability, which is part of the anger family, is a diagnostic feature of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)," she said.

GAD is a serious affliction characterized by excessive and uncontrollable worry about everyday things. It often interferes with a person's ability to function normally. Individuals suffering from GAD typically anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday issues, such as health, money, and relationships.

Deschenes and her colleagues at Concordia and Ryerson University in Toronto looked into how specific components of anger contribute to GAD. They examined hostility, physical and verbal aggression, anger expression and anger control. The team assessed more than 380 participants for GAD symptoms and their tendency to respond to anger-inducing scenarios, by testing responses to such statements as, "I strike out at whatever infuriates me" and "I boil inside, but I don't show it."

The study found that in the 131 participants who exhibited GAD symptoms, higher levels of anger and its various dimensions were associated with worry and anxiety. Furthermore, hostility and internalized anger contributed to the severity of their GAD symptoms.

This suggests not only that anger and anxiety go hand in hand, but also that heightened levels of anger are uniquely related to GAD status. What's more, internalized anger expression - boiling inside without showing it - is a stronger predictor of GAD than other forms of anger.

Deschenes acknowledges that more research is needed to understand why anger and anxiety tend to co-occur - and she intends for her doctoral research to proceed in this direction.

According to Deschenes, a possible explanation for the link is that, "when a situation is ambiguous, such that the outcome could be good or bad, anxious individuals tend to assume the worst. That often results in heightened anxiety. There is also evidence of that same thought process in individuals who are easily angered. Therefore, anger and GAD may be two manifestations of the same biased thought process."

Deschenes also argues that symptoms of anger could get in the way of the treatment for anxiety, which can be done with a technique called cognitive-behavioural therapy.

"If anger and hostility are contributing to the maintenance of symptoms, and these are not targeted during treatment, these people may not be benefiting as much from that treatment," Deschenes noted.

"It's my hope that, by furthering our understanding of the role of anger in GAD, we can improve treatment outcomes for individuals with this disorder," she added."

The study was recently published in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. (ANI)


8 Replies

Wonderful insight Penny. I used to be very angry. But I soon realise I was angry with myself for allowing myself to be like I was. This is self defeating as we cannot help falling into the trap of anxiety. We take our anger out on the dog (or the wife, or partner) and this is why they avoid us. Also anger is a great consumer of energy. We all know how we feel after a bout of anger. Drained! But I do believe, what I call righteous anger, is sometimes helpful, especially if it is in a good cause. Like getting angry if you see someone abuse a child or an animal. Holding anger back is not good. At the same time unjustified anger is not good either.

And I am afraid the latter is what happens to us in this state. A very interesting piece. Many thanks. Love. jonathan.


I found this interesting as I have noticed that when I am anxious it often comes with a sort of irrational anger and when I'm feeling better I can't really remember what I was angry about.

I think it was Rose who said in one of her blogs that she can feel so angry with the world in general and I know what she means ....

It seems to be so hard to find the positive emotions when we are anxious, like finding a needle in a haystack. No wonder that people who are struggling with anxiety find it so hard to take on board advice to relax, think positively etc.

I suppose when we are in 'emergency' mode which we are when anxiety is high, our bodies are releasing stress hormones and adrenaline and our hearts are pumping like mad, everything is ready to go ......not surprising really that anger comes when fired up and full of fight hormones.

As you say though jonathan we are often so angry with ourselves, angry for feeling so weak and for not being better able to control the anxiety, angry for what we may be doing to our family and friends and angry that our lives seem out of our control. Then there is the anger that comes from our experiences in the past when we have developed a poor self image and see ourselves as the author of our own misfortunes.

Maybe finding a way to let go of the anger and to let ourselves off the hook and to actually be kind and gentle with ourselves is the start of getting better.


I've noticed I have got more angry as I have got older and do find myself sometimes the " grumpy old woman" I used to love to hate!! This scares me. Anger plays a big part of my life, at myself most of all for letting it be so. Then it gets passed down or even blamed on someone else ( in my mind ). I really don't like angry, it stinks! it gets you nowhere fast. Also the righteous anger gets a bit mixed up here as well. I find my family have got so used to having the anger stick they are loath to let go and let me have a go. If I do.......I am looked at with pity and shhhhh take no notice of her she has "issues". So then I am angry with them for not letting my voice be heard. Oh sod it! I will be kind to myself and let myself be angry and then try and leave it ...till the next time. love x ella x


I understand what you are saying Ella and can really identify with it, that anger inside waiting to come out and the indignation and self righteousness and feeling unloved and misunderstood.

I think it is a natural defensive way of thinking which is fuelled by anxiety when really what we want is inner peace, to feel more relaxed in our thinking.

I came across this quote also which sort of makes sense:

"If we want inner peace, we should feel that our inner peace depends on the well being of others. What we give out comes back. If you offer a peaceful attitude to others this is what we will see return."

I suppose it's like saying even though we feel like showing our angry face, that if we can detach ourselves from wanting to blame them and be angry with them and with ourselves also we will see a difference in our relationship with them and ourselves. That's the theory anyway.......bit of a full on subject for early on Saturday. Hope you are ok PL ;-)


Hi. Penny. Reminds me of the story about the man who came down from the village on the hill and people asked him what the people up there were like. He said, "Rotten lot, couldn't get on with any of them". When the villagers were asked what they thought of him they said "A very difficult man, always moaning". Another man came down and was asked the same question. He said, "They are a a very nice lot up there, kind and helpful". When the villagers were asked about him they said "A very kind and helpful man; it was a pleasure to know him". We do indeed get back what we give. Blessings. jonathan.


So true .......karma at work !!


You might well have been speaking to me personally, because the description of anger plus anxiety sounds just like me when I was younger. I grew up with a father who thought it was ok to let rip with anger whenever things didn`t go his way, & a mother who made excuses for his behaviour, bad childhood & all that crap. I was not allowed to ex[ress anger myself, my mother took it as a sign that I had mental problems, so I soon learnt that showing anger was very risky because I`d be punished with a spanking, or even being taken off to some awful institution. I suppose this is why I developed anxiety attacks in my early 20`s, & I was a real moaner who hated people because they always seemed to be against me. I don`t blame myself for this, but others for treating me badly when I was a child & teenager. I really think that most peole who end up being treated for depression & anxiety are probably like me, & shoving medication down their throats & putting them in mental hospitals Is never going to help them, but only make them feel worse in the long run.


Well we wonder where the anger comes from and there you are confusing it must have been for you as a child, a father who didn't have self control, a mother who made excuses yet taught you that you yourself couldn't express anger as it meant that something was wrong, even while punishing you with more anger .......the sense of unfairness must have been so obvious even as a child and you would have grown up with that unfairness. No wonder you found it hard to trust people, that feeling that people were against you was self defence nothing more.

Indeed you can see where the anxiety comes in too. I suppose the key thing is understanding what has gone on and what it can lead to later in life, then making a real effort and hopefully with professional help if necessary putting the pieces back in the right place.

I think that medication can play a part in helping people when they are in great need of some immediate help and sometimes people can be admitted to hospital for their own well being and the wellbeing of others when suffering from certain mental health illnesses.

I do think however that knowledge and understanding are so important in overcoming these things which are really so complicated and can have their roots in the distant past.

Wishing you well PL


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