We all have those days when everything just seems to tick us off — the coworker’s loud chewing noises, the queue at the grocery, the oversharing acquaintance on social media, etc. But when it seems like you’ve been waking up on the wrong side of the bed for extended periods of time, it might just be more than an off day. What causes anger issues can surprise you.
What Causes Anger Issues: Why Depression Could Be The Root Cause
Picture a depressed person and you’d probably immediately think of someone who’s so sad and hopeless that they struggle to get out of bed in the morning. Depression is usually associated with sadness, isolation, suicidal thoughts, a lack of appetite, etc. But though that’s one way that depression manifests itself, that’s not the only way.
Though irritability and anger aren’t listed in adult depression’s core symptoms, it is listed as a core symptom of depression in children and adolescents. And some researchers say that we should add irritability to the list of depression’s symptoms.
“Why would someone who happens to be irritable and angry when depressed as an adolescent suddenly stop being angry at age 18?” Dr. Maurizio Fava, a professor at Harvard Medical School, asks NPR.
People assume that depressed adults with anger issues have bipolar disorder or a personality disorder, but Fava says that 1 in 3 of his patients report losing their temper often. He also found that these temper problems usually subside with antidepressants. Several studies have also found links between irritability, anger, and depression.
“It’s probably more helpful to think of depression not as an illness of mood alone, but rather as an impairment in the regulation of our emotions,” writes Dr. John M. Grohol of PsychCentral.
What can you do to get better?
Dr. Grohol recommends practicing mindfulness, especially with the help of a qualified therapist. You could also try consulting books or even mindfulness apps: Best Free Meditation Apps For Millennials: 9 Essential Tools For Mindfulness And Stress Relief
But we all need to understand that depression is complex, and can affect people in different ways. Sometimes, depression is easy to spot and diagnose. Sometimes, it’s almost invisible. If you notice you or a friend experiencing pervasive bouts of anger and irritability that’s far from the norm, reach out and get help.
(Featured image: Unsplash)