What Are Anger Attacks?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2016
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Anger attacks, often somewhat similar to panic attacks, are characterized by uncontrollable feelings of rage or upset. These may be directed inward or at another person, and not everyone responds to anger attacks in the same way. Some people will yell or become violent towards others; some people will throw or break things; while still others might sit silently yet feel full of anger and aggression on the inside. Some people experience these attacks for seemingly no reason, while others might be touched off by a specific type of stressful or upsetting event. Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia, among others, are often associated with uncontrollable attacks of anger as well.

The physical symptoms of anger attacks can be easy to recognize once they've occurred once or twice. Generally, it starts with a tightening in the chest and an increased heartbeat. Some people feel shaky or even dizzy, and may start sweating or find that it feels like the body temperature increased dramatically, or that they start having chills. This all usually happens fairly quickly. The skin may also start tingling, and though anger might be the emotion an individual ends up feeling, it often begins as an intense anxiety or fear that loss of control will occur.


The next step in anger attacks is typically the feelings of intense rage. These feelings might have an easily identifiable cause, but in some cases it may be impossible to see where the anger is coming from. Some people might logically understand that they have no reason to be angry, but will still be unable to stop the feeling, which can be incredibly frustrating. The anger might come out in a variety of ways; some people will yell at others or even physically strike out at them. Others might strike out at objects, such as punching a wall, throwing something, or breaking something.

Some people will not outwardly display anger attacks at all, but will feel it inside in a very intense way. Not only is this quite upsetting, it can also be physiologically quite damaging to the body, as intense periods of stress can increase the risk of heart disease. Although these attacks are associated with certain mental illnesses, some are caused for no apparent reason, and people of certain personality types may just be more prone to them. Seeking psychotherapy may be helpful, and some people find that medication can help them to manage their attacks and prevent them from occurring. Often, developing the ability to foresee the onset of an attack is a key step learning to manage the problem.


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Discuss this Article

Post 5

Sometimes I felt like I was about to go into a panic attack and the only way to stop it was to punch or break things. I'm glad I know the name now.

Post 4

I suffer from depression and I am on zoloft. I get extremely mad over the least little thing and start cussing people out. This goes on for a few minutes and then it eases away and I feel okay again. I really hurt the people around me and I truly don't mean to. How can I overcome these anger attacks and more importantly, explain to those people that the awful things I say are not said intentionally, but it is the rage of the anger attacks.

Post 3

At least I now have a name for what I am constantly experiencing.

Post 2

I get these a lot but it goes way beyond this. I go crazy like I can't hear or feel anything but pain. Pain is the only thing that calms me down. I overheat. By that, I mean my body gets hot and I lose it.

Post 1

I've heard of panic/anxiety attacks but never anger attacks. I definitely get these -- a lot! I often don't know why exactly, I just feel so mad, and I want to throw stuff or punch somebody or yell and call people names and just spread violence and misery. I don't do any of those things.

As the article mentioned, some of us just sit there quietly stewing with intense tornadoes inside. Now that I know this is outside of "normal" I'm going to try to do something about it. Thanks, Wisegeek!

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