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Anger Tied to Anxiety Disorders

Tuesday, 11 December 2012 11:16 AM

The next time you witness a case of road rage or watch someone’s temper boil over at the airport, you might want to consider this: Psychological researchers have determined anger is closely linked with anxiety and one may even feed the other.
The study, by mental health experts from Concordia University, suggests that for millions of people who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), anger is not merely a volatile emotion, but a symptom that can exacerbate their illness.
"This was surprising to me because irritability, which is part of the anger family, is a diagnostic feature of (GAD)," explained lead researcher Sonya Deschênes, who helped conduct the research published in the journal Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
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GAD is a serious mental-health condition whose sufferers worry excessively about everyday things — such as health, money, and relationships — often to the point of hindering their ability to function.
Deschênes and her colleagues at Concordia and Ryerson University in Toronto sought to examine how anger contributes to GAD by assessing more than 380 participants for GAD symptoms and their tendency to respond to anger-inducing scenarios. Study participants were asked to respond to such statements as, "I strike out at whatever infuriates me" and "I boil inside, but I don't show it."
The results indicated that the 131 study participants with GAD symptoms had higher levels of anger, in general. What’s more, hostility and internalized anger contributed to the severity of their GAD symptoms.
This suggests anger and anxiety are not only linked, but also that internalized rare — boiling inside without showing it — is a stronger predictor of GAD than other forms of anger.
A possible explanation for the link, Deschênes, is that, "when a situation is ambiguous, such that the outcome could be good or bad, anxious individuals tend to assume the worst. That often results in heightened anxiety. There is also evidence of that same thought process in individuals who are easily angered. Therefore, anger and GAD may be two manifestations of the same biased thought process.
"It's my hope that, by furthering our understanding of the role of anger in GAD, we can improve treatment outcomes for individuals with this disorder."
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Psychological researchers have found anger is closely linked with anxiety and one may even feed the other.
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 11:16 AM
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