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What Is an Anger Addiction?

By Alex Terris
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An anger addiction is a condition in which the sufferer becomes unable to control, or even enjoys, becoming angry at another person. This is usually because the person has a feeling of power when he gets angry. Most people with a rage addiction also blame others for anything that goes wrong in their life, because this allows them to become angry. An anger addiction can have an extremely negative effect on a person’s relationships, because loved ones are often the recipients of the angry outbursts.

Nearly everyone gets angry in certain situations, but some people have an addiction to anger that has a negative effect on their lives and the lives of those around them. It can be difficult to tell the difference between someone who is simply very stressed and quick to anger, and someone who has an anger addiction. A person who gets angry regularly without considering the consequences is exhibiting a common sign of such an addiction, as is a person who has a constant focus on what other people are doing wrong and denying that there is a problem with his own behavior. A person with such an addiction also may behave unpredictably when angry.

There is still some debate about what causes an anger addiction to start. It is thought that it may occur when a person learns he is more likely to maintain control of situations through anger. If, for example, a person realizes that people tend to give him what he wants or allow him to have control when he gets angry, then this can create a positive reinforcement cycle. Over time, this may result in an addiction.

A person — whether male or female — with an anger addiction often goes through a cycle of anger and guilt. In most cases, he will direct anger toward a loved one. This can cause relationships to become strained and a strong feeling of guilt when the anger passes. If the person has a true anger addiction, however, the feeling of power exceeds the feelings of guilt, which is why the cycle is difficult to break.

Treatment for an anger addiction focuses on helping the person break the anger cycle. Blaming others, often unfairly, for personal problems is a common sign of an anger addiction, because it allows the person to become angry on a regular basis. One of the first steps in treatment for such an addiction is to teach the person how to take responsibility for his actions.

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Discussion Comments
By burcidi — On Jul 24, 2013

What if an anger addiction is part of a larger problem, like a psychological condition? How can someone with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia work through their anger?

By ysmina — On Jul 23, 2013

@fify-- Does anyone else in your family suffer from an anger addiction, especially your mom, dad or people you grew up with?

I have an anger addiction and I think that this is something I developed as a child due to my father. My father also had anger issues and since I looked up to him, I think I chose to be like him to get my way in life. After ruining every good relationship in my life (much like my dad), I've come to terms with my anger addiction and I'm getting therapy. It has been very tough and I still have a long way to go but I feel that I've finally found the right way. I hope your brother does too.

By fify — On Jul 23, 2013

My brother has an anger addiction but he refuses to get help. He actually doesn't think that there is any problem with him and his behavior. He always has an excuse for his anger. He thinks that he is rightfully angry because people are stupid and never do things right. He is always right and perfect.

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