Anger and Bipolar Disorder

Although anger is a symptom of bipolar disorder it is rarely reported as a problem by the patient.

Since irritability often occurs during a manic state, the patient often sees it as intense drive or focus rather than an emotion in itself.

In contrast however, when a friend or family member of the patient is asked to describe symptoms of their manic state the words irritability, rage, and short tempered are often reported to the exclusion of everything else.

The bipolar patient may show symptoms ranging from mild irritation to intense fury and may blame the state of emotion on outside stimulus or interference of their goals.

Anger becomes dangerous when it is not recognized and dealt with. Bipolar patients often bottle their tempers which can result in hypertension, high blood pressure, depression, and displacement.

Depression can be defined as anger turned inward, and is not a passive state. Although depression is internal, it is an active sadness or dread that is draining, distracting, and exhausting to the person experiencing it.

Displacement is a show of rage that surfaces in unexpected situations and often at innocent by standers. This is often the result of long term denial of the emotion, or "stuffing one's problems" and not attending to the issues that are causing them.

It is important for bipolar patients to recognize that not every problem has a solution, but one can work on a plan to cope.

Some things that can help with your plan are:

Cognitive Therapy

Learning your thinking habits and how to challenge distorted beliefs that are learned in childhood can be very useful when dealing with irritation. Practicing Cognitive Therapy exercises as part of your Ongoing Treatment Plan can work to help you recognize destructive thoughts as they occur and the work with them which will significantly reduce overall occurrences of anger over time.

Assertiveness training

Poor communication can be a big source of irritation among bipolar patients and their loved ones. AssertivenessTraining can help by teaching you to communicate with others in a non-threatening way using whole messages and upholding your rights as well as the rights of others.

Relaxation Techniques

Dealing with emotions does not mean that a person must immediately react to any given situation. Sometimes a few well placed Breathing Exercises Can buy you a few seconds to assess the situation and deal with it properly while at the same time dealing with the physical reactions to irritation that you may be experiencing.


Studies have shown exercise to be effective against many physical and mental health issues, and is prescribed in conjunction with most treatments and therapies for just about everything.

In the case of depression, studies have shown regular exercise to be more effective against onset and relapse than Zoloft.(a popular depression and social anxiety medication.) And patients have reported that it creates a sense of control over their illness.

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