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Anger can be a symptom of depression. For many people, they wouldn’t associate the emotion with the mental health condition, as depression is usually linked to sadness.

In this blog, we will look at the connection between anger and depression, provide advice on managing these strong emotions, and outline the treatment options available to those who need additional care and support.

Why can anger be a symptom of depression?

Typically, a person with depression will view themselves and the world around them through a negative filter.

Their thoughts and views will be tinged with negativity. Past events and memories will be recalled in a negative light and when thinking about the future, they will tend to think that the worst possible scenarios will happen.

This daily process of viewing the world in a negative light can cause people with depression to feel sad and hopeless. For others, it can also result in another emotion - anger.

Whether or not a person experiences anger when they are depressed usually depends on a number of factors including their background, genetics and social and cultural factors.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Overwhelming feelings of sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Feeling anxious
  • Feeling of guilt
  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling flat and having a lack of interest in activities
  • An inability to concentrate
  • Frequent and uncontrollable tearfulness
  • Low energy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleep disturbances

When a person with depression experiences anger, they may also display the following symptoms:

  • Having a short temper
  • Frequent irritability
  • Verbal and physical violence towards other or themselves
  • Frequent road rage
  • Being sensitive to criticism
  • Being critical and angry towards themselves

If a person with depression appears to be turning their anger on themselves, this can result in self-harmful behaviours and professional help will be needed.

How can these symptoms be managed?

There are some strategies that can be used to help people defuse their anger. These include:

  • Removing yourself from a situation or trigger that is causing you to feel angry or irritable
  • Re-focusing away from anger by slowly counting to 10, whilst taking deep breaths in and out
  • Releasing excess energy by going for a run or a brisk walk
  • Reaching out to a trusted family member or friend who you can talk to and who will understand how to best support you

What are the treatment options?

For somebody experiencing symptoms of depression and anger, it would be recommended that they complete a tailored therapeutic programme.  This would give them the opportunity to develop a better understanding of their condition and its symptoms and also provide them with the tools they need to manage their symptoms going forward.

At Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai, there are different types of therapy available which would be helpful. These include:

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)

CBT aims to help you change particular ways of thinking and behaving so that you are less affected by any destructive thoughts and beliefs you have been holding onto.

CBT enables you to recognise your depressed or angry thoughts and feelings, and teaches you ways to move past them, so that they start to have less of an impact on you.

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)

As a treatment method, DBT is effective in treating people who experience the intense emotions.

DBT helps you to tackle any dysfunctional thought processes that are contributing to your anger and depressive thoughts. This type of therapy teaches you new and healthy techniques to help you practise emotional regulation going forward.

Seeking the right support

If you or a loved one is struggling with the symptoms of depression and anger, and you feel that you need to seek the support of a professional, our experienced psychiatrists and psychologist are committed to delivering expert treatment.

If you would like to find out more information about the treatment programmes that we provide at Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai, you can call us on (+971) 4 245 3800 to speak to one of our administrative team, in confidence, or submit an online enquire form.

Tanya Dharamshi, Counsellor

This page was clinically reviewed by Tanya Dharamshi (BSW, MSc Psych, Counsellor, DHCC, UAE). Tanya brings 18+ years of counselling experience in trauma, crisis intervention, child abuse, substance addiction, attachment disorder, depression, anxiety, stress, bereavement, couples therapy, mood disorders, chronic illness and adjustment disorder. View Tanya's full profile here.