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What Are the Common Causes of Sudden Anger?

M.C. Huguelet
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Most people have experienced a burst of sudden anger more than once in their lives, and for some, it can be a weekly or even daily occurrence. While an almost endless array of situations and small incidents can potentially send someone into a rage, it is important to understand that sudden anger is often not caused by an immediate trigger, but rather results from an underlying physical or psychological issue. Common physical causes include medications, improper diet, illness, and lack of sleep. Bursts of anger can also be the result of psychological issues like depression, stress, or even anger addiction. While it is normal to experience a fit of anger once in a while, it is important to be aware of one’s response to it, and to seek help if anger becomes uncontrollable.

Some days, almost anything can fill a person with sudden anger. While it is normal for majorly upsetting or distressing events such as being fired from a job or getting into a car accident to provoke anger, in some cases even the smallest incident, such as being treated rudely by a cashier, can throw a person into a rage. When it comes to bursts of anger provoked by seemingly inconsequential incidents, it is important to understand that it is often not the immediate situation, but rather some underlying issue, that is at fault.

Often, an underlying physical issue can increase one’s likelihood of experiencing sudden anger. For instance, a new medication may cause excessive irritability and moodiness, which can easily pave the way for angry behavior. Lack of sleep, illness, and improper nutrition can also set an individual on edge, potentially making it more difficult for him to control his emotional responses than usual.

Similarly, underlying psychological issues can also make an individual especially susceptible to sudden anger. Stress resulting from work, financial problems, relationship issues, or many other possible causes can lead to the feeling that one’s emotions have spun out of control. Acute or long-term depression may also manifest itself as anger. Additionally, some individuals have a psychological addiction to the emotional and physiological rush that accompanies a bout of anger.

It is natural to experience sudden anger from time to time, and such episodes should not be a major cause for concern if they are infrequent and if the individual in question is able to process his anger in a constructive, non-violent manner. In some cases, an individual might find that sudden anger causes him to lose control of his demeanor. Those who cannot control their anger may run the risk of damaging their personal and professional relationships, and consequently they should seek the help of a physician or counselor.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
M.C. Huguelet
By M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide range of publications, including The Health Board. With degrees in Writing and English, she brings a unique perspective and a commitment to clean, precise copy that resonates with readers. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By Glasis — On Jan 02, 2014

In addition to the disorders listed in the article, sudden, unexplainable bursts of emotion are common in people with anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder.

If you have a psychological disorder that triggers this sort of anger or other emotions, you are most likely aware that you are acting irrationally, but don't know how to stop.

Meanwhile, those who are addicted to anger, so to speak, often experience blackout episodes, where the anger prompts violence acts the person doesn't remember committing.

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide...
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