When talking about depression certain symptoms and descriptions come to mind.
For the most part, depressed people can be described as disinterested, unmotivated, sad, tired and so on.
In other words, depressed people are not typically ones that tend to express themselves or feel strongly towards anything in particular.
It makes sense, that’s just the way depression is.
Except for when it isn’t.
As it turns out, depressed people can be quite irritable, argumentative and angry at times.
This isn’t by chance, either – there is a clear-cut connection between depression and feelings of anger and frustration.
Does depression make you angry?
Anger does not fit well with the stereotypical “depressed person” profile.
Anger is not among the symptoms of depression, and many people go through difficult depressive episodes without ever feeling particularly angry or frustrated.
But then there are those who do, and there are quite a few of them.
Although anger is not a symptom of depression in and of itself, studies show that there is a certain connection between the two.
One study that was published in 2013 tracked depression sufferers over a period of 30 years.
Overt anger and irritability were present in 54.5% of the participants, making them more argumentative, aggressive and even assaultive in some cases.
In an older study from 1998 researchers have observed that about one-third of the participants experienced sudden episodes of anger.
Although there are no concrete statistics or estimations, data does suggest that people diagnosed with depression tend to be angrier than most, even if they don’t show it.
But why is that? What makes depressed people so angry?
Depression sufferers are angry at themselves
Sigmund Freud once said that Depression is anger turned inward.
This might seem like an overly simplistic explanation, but it isn’t necessarily wrong.
Anger can play a substantial role in many different emotional disorders.
One study from 2016 described anger as making the symptoms of a disorder more severe and worsens treatment response.
The study also concluded that anger is an important and understudied emotion in the development, maintenance, and treatment of emotional disorders.
In other words, anger can have negative effects on emotional disorders.
But what about depression specifically?
Another study from 2013 suggests that turning our anger inwardly contributes to the severity of depression.
This kind of anger can be purely reactive and can be caused by specific people, events or thoughts.
How to stop being so angry and irritable
Being angry does you no favors.
Anger and irritability alienate other people, damage your health and negatively affect your performance in many different things.
This problem needs to be dealt with, but how can you make it stop?
After all, your feelings of anger and irritability are directly related to your depression.
Due to how closely these anger issues are related to depression, some anger management methods may be more effective than others.
1) Find what makes you angry
Anger and irritability are not constants.
You don’t just feel angry all the time. No matter how many anger issues you have, it’s just physically impossible.
The truth is that people react to certain things in different ways.
Some things can make us happy, sad and yes, angry. Trying to find exactly what these triggers are makes perfect sense.
For example, some people absolutely can’t stand being ignored.
You’re in a group of people and are trying to contribute to the conversation – but no one is listening!
If you are not so sure what exactly makes you angry then I recommend that you keep an “anger journal”
Write an entry each time that you feel angry, and try to figure the cause of your anger.
Once you become aware of them, dealing with your own thoughts becomes that much easier.
The best way to do so is to actively challenge them – Keep questioning the reasons for your anger, is it really worth getting angry over this? What will it accomplish? Will this problem even matter in the near future?
In case your anger stems from things that are more difficult to control, such as a co-worker that really gets under your skin, it might be best if you try to avoid them altogether.
It won’t help you in the long run but for now it might be for the best.
2) Express yourself
Sometimes venting your anger might be just what you need.
After all, if anger that is turned inward contributes to the severity of depression, why not just let it out?
Expressive writing, for example, has proven to be a great way to deal with both anger and depression but that isn’t to say that this is your only option.
Far from it, actually. There are many different ways for you to vent your anger.
Here are a few more ideas that you might find helpful:
- Find someone to talk to about your problems
- Try painting, songwriting, sculpting or any other form of creative expression
- Vent your frustrations physically – Either by exercising, practicing martial arts, or doing manual labor around the house/at work.
By channeling your anger into something productive you can not only stop being bothered by it as much, but you will also feel less depressed and dish out some of your best work.
3) Rest and relax
Stress, both mental and physical, can take its toll on your health.
Not only in the way that your body works, but also in how you think and behave.
Irritability and anger are common symptoms of stress and anxiety and they can definitely contribute to your depression.
The best way to deal with these feelings is to just take a break.
For example, if your stress at work contributes to your anger try to take a few days off.
Even if you can’t afford to stop working so hard, at the very least you can take better care of yourself.
Sleep deprivation can make you angry, frustrated, irritable and anxious. Meaning that you can help yourself deal with these problems simply by getting enough sleep every night.
Not only that, but stress is a known cause for depression, so you are definitely not doing yourself any favors by pushing yourself the way that you are.
In this day and age we tend to take pride in how busy we are, but getting enough rest is not a luxury – it’s a necessity.
4) Learn to deal with negative experiences better
As I have said earlier, repressed anger contributes to depression.
One study from 2009 described this issue in the following way:
“Anger in people with depression often stems from narcissistic vulnerability, a sensitivity to perceived or actual loss or rejection. These angry reactions cause intrapsychic conflicts through the onset of guilt and the fear that angry feelings will disrupt relationships. These conflicts lead to anger being directed inwards, further lowering self-esteem, creating a vicious cycle.”
To put it simply, people with depression often feel as though the world is out to get them. They see themselves, and maybe they are, victims.
Be it through loss, rejection, or the idea that bad things are happening to them (even if that’s not the case at all).
This, in turn, makes them feel guilty and afraid. After all, they don’t want to come across as whiny and difficult to others.
Instead, they repress their feelings, which only makes them angrier and less pleasant to be around.
This is a vicious cycle of anger and hate, and aside from expressing your anger the only other way to deal with it is to accept the fact that bad things are going to happen to you.
Rejection, failure, and loss are part of life and everyone experiences them.
Accept this fact and move on – You’ll be much better for it.
5) Use your anger to become more productive
When we are angry our emotions tend to run high, making us unable to think clearly or to make rational decisions.
This can get us into a lot of trouble and we may end up doing things that we’re very likely to regret once we sober up.
But what if I told you that anger can be helpful?
As it turns out, anger isn’t necessarily bad, and it can even help you in certain situations.
in a series of studies from 2011 that was published in “The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology” it was discovered that angry people experience an increase in their ability to think creatively.
This shift in thinking makes them excellent problem solvers.
For example, if your co-worker said or did something that made you angry then channeling your anger into your work can not only increase your productivity in many cases, but can also distract you from your anger and help you calm down.
Alternatively, anger can be channeled into writing, artistic pursuits and academic work among many other things.
If you’re already angry you might as well use that anger to benefit you otherwise it would be a waste.
Let go of your anger
It’s not uncommon for people with depression to feel frustration, irritability and even outright anger.
These feelings sometimes seem random, other times you might think that you are over-reacting, without understanding what’s going on with you.
These feelings are completely normal given your situation, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of them.
Anger can be dealt with and so can depression – it just takes time.
When it comes to self-help I recommend trying the Destroy Depression Program.
In this program, you will find everything that you need to know how to overcome your condition.
It won’t be easy though, and it will take time, but if you are serious about overcoming depression then you should definitely give this program a try.
For any further questions please feel free to send me an email.