Do I need medication for anger?

Sometimes, I think about my angry moments and how reactive I am. I do have Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), and my past trauma has left me with a fear of abandonment. It’s challenging to figure out what’s going on with me when I lash out at people. It is frustrating because I lose it  at the people that I love and I hate that. I don’t want to do this anymore, but how do I stop? I don’t want to be angry, and struggle to control those feelings.

Fighting with my man

Just today, my boyfriend and I got into a disagreement because he didn’t pick up his phone. Due to my fear of abandonment, that truly freaked me out. I got scared. I lashed out and told him that he was ignoring me, but in reality, he was just cleaning his house. I got angry. Instead of responding, I reacted, which is something that people talk about in Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT. DBT is useful for emotional regulation and people that have anger management problems. It is commonly used as a treatment option for people with mood disorders such as Bipolar Disorder and for people with personality disorders, like Borderline Personality Disorder. People with these disorders can benefit from DBT because it helps you regulate your emotions and, boy, I need that in my life.

Can meds help anger?

I often wonder if I’m on the right medications because my anger takes over sometimes and I see red. Now, I’m not violent, but I do struggle with maintaining composure when I get upset. I want to stop allowing this to happen. I want to make sure that I don’t hurt people when I get angry. In addition to C-PTSD, I have Bipolar Disorder. I notice that, for me, something that comes along with my diagnosis is paranoia. When I’m mad, it’s usually because I am paranoid. I know that it doesn’t sound like it goes together, but hear me out. When I get paranoid, I feel that people are doing something behind my back, which makes me angry. The paranoia feeds into itself and becomes a cycle, but the truth is that paranoia isn’t based in reality. It’s bizarre because it feels real, but it’s not.

Behavioral therapy

I’m a firm believer in changing your behavior in therapy. If a person struggles with expressing anger in an appropriate way, meaning that they can regulate it, then they need to see a therapist who will help them be mindful of their actions, and then work to change them. That’s why I’m excited to start DBT groups, and learn the techniques. I need a mental health professional to guide me through the process of regulating my anger, and expressing it in a healthy manner. I’m tired of feeling shame after I lash out in anger; it makes me feel self-critical and question my worth.

Am I on the right cocktail of medications?

I’m trying to figure out if I’m on the right mood stabilizer or if this paranoia is something that I will have to manage long-term. If I want to work on my anger, it’s certainly something that I can focus on in DBT. I will be going to DBT groups, but maybe I need something more. I’m not sure that medication would “solve” my anger problems, but perhaps the right medication would help. So, my first step is to start attending a DBT group. The second step is to talk to my personal therapist, who will specialize in DBT and emotional regulation. Most importantly, the last step is to be mindful. If I am angry, I need to take a deep breath, walk away, and come back to the situation when I’m ready to handle it.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to communicate my feelings to the person that I’m angry with and say “you know what, I need to take a break and I will come back to this conversation later.” So, do you take medication to manage your anger? If so, how does it impact you?