What is typical anger?

We all get angry–anger is 100% typical. Typically, anger goes away in under 30 minutes. But when it is frequent (eg, present many times a week), or lasts for long periods (eg, lasting many hours instead of minutes), it can take us away from our experiences. Additionally, sometimes we have fewer tools to cope with feelings of anger when compared to adults.

For instance, we expect to feel angry when things don't happen the way we want, or we have to do something that we don't want to do. Feeling the urge to cry, yell, stomp feet, and kick are all typical reactions when feeling angry.

There are a lot of times when our anger is directed towards our caregivers or family members, since those are the people closest to us. We are usually more careful with our peers because forming strong peer relationships is a high priority and if we are irritable and blow up at people, others generally do not want to be our friends.


When should I pay special attention to anger?

Irritability, which is the name we give to the proneness to get angry, may indicate a number of issues. First, it may be an expected response to deal with injustice, prejudice, discrimination, abuse, or neglect. So, before thinking there might be something wrong with us, we can think about what might be happening around us that might be associated with our angry feelings. Second, it may indicate the presence of another problem such as depression and anxiety. And finally, it may be a problem on its own.

When anger causes disruption to our lives, or to others around us, due either to frequency or intensity, there is cause for concern. Irritability is typically an indicator of something that is going on in our lives, and that we need support. Irritability often accompanies:

  • Persistent sadness.
  • Feeling anxious.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Academic difficulties.
  • Trauma.


Persistent anger is generally a cause for concern when:

  • Mood is irritable with peers and in the classroom.
  • Anger persists for a long time.
  • Anger feelings are frequent.
  • The urge to hit, break something, kick, or bite is intense and almost uncontrollable.
  • Irritability comes out of the blue.


What can I do if I struggle with persistent anger?

It can be hard and frustrating to deal with persistent anger. If you understand that you struggle with it, there are a few things you may try:

  • Ask a trusted adult for help. Trusted adults are usually our caregivers, other family members, or someone else who is responsible for taking care of us. Let your trusted adults know about your difficulties. They can be helpful for assisting you and helping you get any additional help you may need.
  • Try to understand what triggers and maintain your irritability.
    •  Is it because you have little control over your urges or impulses?
    •  Is it because there is a problem you feel like you can't solve?
    •  Is it because it is difficult to receive a no?
    •  Is it because it is hard to tell adults what you need?
    •  Is it because you are not sure about what is appropriate or not in a given situation?
  • Find ways to deal with stressful emotions . You can take deep breaths, seek comfort with something you like or go to a quiet and safe place when you feel upset.
  • Exercise, eat well and do things you enjoy. Maintaining physical wellness and practicing pleasant activities may improve your mood and be useful distractions at times.
  • Remember the good things about you. When we feel angry, it is common to also feel bad about ourselves. Try to remember the nice things about you, your strengths and also what makes you interesting. Everyone is unique in some sort of way.
  • Acknowledge and recognize the progress . When you make progress, it is important to acknowledge it. Compliment yourself for every effort you make to overcome your persistent anger.


If you have already tried some or most of these suggestions and the problems you are facing persist, it may be time to ask a trusted adult to seek out professional support. 

Anger that is too frequent, intense, present in many different contexts, discrepant from those experienced by others the same age, and that negatively interferes with our daily lives, may indicate the possibility of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD).


What kind of professional support can I seek out for help?

It is not unusual for us to feel embarrassed, inadequate, or guilty if we are struggling with persistent anger. But, if you think you are facing this difficulty, support and guidance are available now.

Pediatricians or family physicians can help to address initial concerns and refer to specialized professionals. Also, whenever possible, a consultation with a mental health professional may be helpful.

The public system provides services through the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Centers of Multidisciplinary Assessment, Counseling, and Support (KEDASY).


Where to find more information

Specific, detailed, and clinical information on Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder can be found at [clinical short guide at the program website].

If you want to know more about the closest available services for educational and public health systems for children and adolescent assistance across the country, go to our Services Mapping webpage here.

You can also find more information by pointing your phone camera at the QR code below or by clicking here.



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