Anger Management and Alcohol Abuse

Anger and Alcohol Abuse

When you are stuck in the cycle of alcohol abuse, you and the people around you have to deal with the wide range of emotions that fuel your destructive behaviors. If you are unable to cope without alcohol, you will likely notice that anger is one of your most prevalent emotions. Dealing with anger can be difficult when you are trying to escape alcohol addiction, but coping with emotions is an essential part of becoming and staying sober.

Causation about Alcohol Abuse

Inability to manage anger often stems from excessive alcohol use, says Buck Black, a clinical social worker who operates a private psychotherapy and anger management practice in the LaFayette, Indiana area. Alcohol damages parts of the brain that control emotions, making it more difficult to keep anger in check. Alcohol also breeds anger because you typically experience family, work, financial and health problems as a result of your alcohol use.

Pre-Recovery concerning Alcohol Abuse

Anger therapy is typically ineffective in pre-recovery–the stage in which you are unwilling or unable to quit drinking alcohol, says Black. You cannot effectively deal with negative emotions while one of the root causes–alcohol–is still present. Anger also tends to surface when you quit drinking, because of the physical and emotional stress of the withdrawal process.


Inability to cope with anger issues is a common cause of relapse, according to the Anger Management Training Institute. Mismanaged anger not only makes it difficult for you to cope without drinking while in recovery, but also strains relationships with friends and family members that could otherwise provide you with recovery support.


After you have quit drinking, there are several approaches that can help you manage anger. According to Patricia S. Potter-Efron, author of “Anger, Alcoholism and Addiction: Treating Individuals, Couples and Families,” you should be evaluated by an anger management professional to determine which of the three treatment approaches–ventilation, reduction or management–is best for addressing your anger.


There are simple steps you can take to prevent acting on angry emotions as soon as you begin a substance abuse treatment program. Meditation is an effective tool for curbing anger, according to the Anger Management Training Institute. Avoidance of stimulants such as nicotine and caffeine can also reduce the severity of anger flare-ups. Also, keep a written log detailing the events and stimuli that trigger angry emotions, and actions that help you deal with anger as it arises.

New study to examine relationship between anger and alcohol abuse
New study to examine relationship between anger and alcohol abuse. Research suggests that alcoholics are more likely to experience emotions such as annoyances, frustrations and anger compared to non-alcoholics.

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Anger and Alcohol Abuse