Awareness is growing nationwide that young people–specifically men–are struggling with anger issues at an alarming rate. And while anger in young men is frequently written off as part of the growing-up process, for many, anger management issues serve as a warning sign that more serious problems are at play.
If your son is unable to control his anger and also has issues with drug or alcohol abuse, it is important for you, as a parent, to understand that these two problems feed off each other. Trying to address one without also addressing the other simply won’t work.
In this article, we’ll examine the close relationship between anger issues, mental health and substance abuse, as well as how dual diagnosis addiction treatment serves as the most effective path toward achieving recovery for young men.
Types of Anger in Young Men
Young men express their anger in a number of different ways. While experts differ in how they categorize the various ways anger manifests itself from person to person, some of the widely recognized forms of anger include:
Passive anger – Young men with passive anger issues do not usually express their feelings directly or aggressively. Passive anger very often takes the form of passive-aggressive comments, a brooding demeanor and social withdrawal.
Judgmental anger – Individuals experiencing judgmental anger become upset when they feel that others are not living up to their expectations. Young men with judgmental anger appear resentful, and overly critical of the people around them.
Overwhelmed anger – This type of anger arises when an individual feels like they are losing control over their lives and can no longer manage all of their responsibilities.
Self-inflicted anger – People with self-inflicted anger typically feel weak or irresponsible. These feeling usually result from a perceived failure to live up to their own expectations.
Volatile anger – This type of anger is typically directed toward others, and is characterized by aggressive and even violent outbursts that are out of proportion to the situation.
The True Causes of Anger Issues
Anger problems in men are very often caused by depression, anxiety, ADHD or other underlying mental illnesses. Anger issues are more serious than the fleeting feelings of anger that everyone experiences from time to time.
Prolonged and excessive anger is a warning sign of mental illness, as most healthy individuals don’t tend to carry their anger inside of them over long periods of time. Healthy individuals are also able to maintain control over their anger and limit the way anger influences their thoughts and actions.
For young men with mental health issues, feelings of anger constantly sit just below the surface and can manifest into action at the slightest trigger.
There are a number of reasons why young men with mental health issues may develop anger disorders. For instance, individuals suffering from ADHD may feel a sense of frustration over their inability to focus on and complete tasks. Over time, this constant frustration develops into anger, both toward themselves and others.
Mental Illness and Substance Abuse
Too many young men suffering from anger and mental health issues develop co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse. These men, unable to manage the symptoms of their mental illness, often turn to drugs and alcohol in an attempt at self-medicating. Unfortunately, doing so will only mask the underlying issues of anger and mental illness, and over the long term will cause these problems to become worse and worse.
Mental illnesses are rooted in a wide range of factors including genetics, environment and traumatic life experiences. For those at an elevated risk for mental illness, abusing drugs or alcohol, especially at an early age, can trigger the development of serious psychological problems.
Drug and alcohol abuse will also exacerbate the symptoms of an already existing mental health problem. Drugs and alcohol can do serious damage to the delicate structures of the brain, and when one’s brain is already suffering from the effects of mental illness, the combination can have disastrous consequences.
Addressing the Problem Early
Many parents wait too long before seeking addiction and anger treatment for their sons. The importance of early intervention cannot be overstated. While it may be comforting to believe that your son is just going through a phase and that they will outgrow their problems with anger and addiction, failing to act during their formative years can have serious lifelong consequences.
By choosing a course of treatment for your son that includes both addiction treatment and anger management programs for young men, you’ll be helping him enter adulthood with the tools he needs to achieve his full potential.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Men
The most successful addiction and behavior programs for young men include many different treatment protocols, such as:
Group therapy – Mutual support among a group of peers is an indispensable element of dual diagnosis treatment. It is important for young men to recognize that they are not alone in their struggles with anger and substance abuse; sharing these experiences in a supportive group setting can make that happen.
Individual therapy – Some issues are best addressed in a one-on-one setting with a psychiatrist, psychologist or licensed addiction counselor. Such expert guidance can help a young man gain a better understanding of who he truly is, as well as how his problems with substance abuse and anger management are, in reality, two sides of the same coin.
Family therapy – Because substance abuse and anger issues are often rooted in one’s home life, it is important to involve the patient’s family in the treatment process. A family therapist can help everyone involved identify troublesome behaviors, such as issues of abuse or codependency.
Aftercare counseling – After graduating from a dual diagnosis treatment program, it is important for a young man to learn how to put his newly learned skills into practice. Aftercare counseling helps young men discover ways to navigate life’s many challenges without relapsing into both substance abuse and anger-motivated behaviors.
Finding Help for Your Son
Remember, a key factor in successfully managing co-occurring substance abuse and mental illness is early intervention. So don’t wait! Reach out to the expert staff at Reflections Recovery Center today to learn how our addiction treatment programs in Arizona can help get your son started on the journey toward holistic, lifelong recovery.