Anger management issues have typically been an issue for people suffering
from substance use disorders. But until recently, anger management
has been overlooked by many mental health professionals or treated
as a separate issue from substance abuse. The reality is that substance
abuse and dependency frequently coexist with feelings of anger, aggressive
or assaultive behavior and domestic violence.
Anger and substance use are often interrelated. Drugs and alcohol
can trigger anger and aggressive actions, as their use impairs judgment
skills and often increase impulsive actions. Anger may trigger the
use of substances as people try to numb out their feelings with substances.
Individuals who have experienced traumatic events as a child or an
adult often feel chronic angry and may turn to drugs or alcohol. For
these individuals, their “anger management” technique
involves the use of alcohol or drugs – but it is actually a
risky form of self-medication.
When substance abuse and anger occur together, it demands dual recovery
– that is, the problems involving substances, anger and how
the two issues interact with each other are usually best addressed
at the same time. At Emerge from Anger, we include dual recovery methods
in all of our program offerings.
DUAL DIAGNOSIS / CO-OCCURRING DISORDERS
A dual diagnosis is defined as the presence of one (or more) psychiatric
disorders, (for example, depression or anxiety), AND one (or more)
substance use disorders. The term, dual diagnosis, is used interchangeably
with other terms such as co-occurring disorder, concurrent disorder,
co-occurring illness, co-morbidity and dual disorders. A person with
a dual diagnosis has two or more separate, yet interrelated disorders
that may interact in a various ways, making diagnosis and treatment
A substance use disorder can mask an underlying psychological disorder.
A psychiatric disorder can hide an underlying substance use disorder.
Substance intoxication or withdrawal can resemble a psychiatric
Substance abuse may interfere with obtaining counseling services if
a person cannot remain sober long enough to attend psychotherapy.
A person may self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs to cope
with a psychiatric disorder.
A dual diagnosis can increase the risk for suicide and/or violence,
as the substance abuse and the psychiatric disorder can work together
to increase depression, anxiety and impulsive actions, while decreasing
judgment skills, coping abilities and problem-solving.
Dual diagnosis calls for a program of dual recovery where both the
substance abuse and the psychological condition are treated at the
same time. At Emerge from Anger, we understand the complex needs of
dual recovery and incorporate a dual recovery approach in all of our