Anger is a common emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. However, for some people, anger can become a problem that interferes with their relationships, work, health, and well-being. This is especially true for people who struggle with alcohol addiction, as alcohol can lower inhibitions, impair judgment, and increase aggression.

If you or someone you love is an alcoholic who has difficulty managing anger, you may be wondering what you can do to cope with this challenge. Let us explore some of the causes and effects of anger in alcoholics, and offer some strategies for finding a peaceful path.

Why do alcoholics get angry?

There is no simple answer to why alcoholics get angry, as each person has their own unique history, personality, and triggers. However, some of the possible factors that contribute to anger in alcoholics are:

  • – Alcohol withdrawal: When an alcoholic stops drinking or reduces their intake, they may experience physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal, such as anxiety, irritability, mood swings, insomnia, and depression. These symptoms can make them more prone to anger and frustration.
  • – Alcohol-induced brain damage: Chronic alcohol abuse can damage the brain’s structure and function, affecting areas that are responsible for impulse control, emotional regulation, memory, and reasoning. This can impair an alcoholic’s ability to cope with stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, and control their impulses.
  • – Unresolved trauma: Many alcoholics have experienced trauma in their past, such as abuse, neglect, violence, or loss. These traumatic events can leave deep emotional scars that affect how they perceive themselves and others. They may also trigger feelings of shame, guilt, fear, or anger that are difficult to process and heal.
  • – Co-occurring mental disorders: Some alcoholics also suffer from mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These conditions can exacerbate the negative effects of alcohol on the brain and mood, and increase the risk of anger and aggression.
  • – Environmental stressors: Alcoholics may face various stressors in their lives that trigger or worsen their anger, such as financial problems, legal issues, family conflicts, work pressures, health concerns, or social isolation. They may also feel threatened or criticized by others who try to help them or confront them about their drinking.

How does anger affect alcoholics?

Anger can have serious consequences for alcoholics and their loved ones. Some of the negative effects of anger in alcoholics are:

  • Increased alcohol consumption: Some alcoholics may use alcohol as a way to cope with their anger or to numb their emotions. However, this can create a vicious cycle where drinking leads to more anger and more drinking. Alcohol can also make anger more intense and unpredictable.
  • Impaired relationships: Anger can damage the trust and intimacy that are essential for healthy relationships. Alcoholics who are angry may lash out at their partners, friends, family members, or co-workers verbally or physically. They may also withdraw from social contact or avoid conflict resolution. This can lead to resentment, isolation,and loneliness.
  • Poor health: Anger can take a toll on the physical health of alcoholics as well as their mental health. Anger can increase blood pressure, heart rate,
  • and inflammation in the body. It can also weaken the immune system and increase the risk of various diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes,and cancer.
  • Legal troubles: Anger can lead to impulsive or violent behavior that can result in legal consequences such as arrests,

fines,or jail time. Alcoholics who are angry may also get into fights,assaults,or accidents that can harm themselves or others.

  • Low self-esteem: Anger can erode the self-esteem and self-worth of alcoholics. They may feel guilty, ashamed,or regretful about their actions when they are angry. They may also blame themselves for their problems or feel hopeless about changing their situation.
  • What can alcoholics do to manage their anger?

Managing anger is not easy,but it is possible with the right support and strategies. Here are some steps that alcoholics can take to manage their anger:

  • Seek professional help: The first and most important step is to seek professional help for both alcohol addiction and anger issues. A qualified therapist or counselor can help an alcoholic identify the root causes of their anger,develop coping skills,and address any underlying mental disorders or trauma. They can also refer an alcoholic to other resources such as support groups,Medication, or rehabilitation programs.
  • Practice self-care: Taking care of oneself physically, Emotionally, and spiritually can help an alcoholic reduce stress and improve their mood. Some self-care activities include getting enough sleep,eating well,exercising regularly,meditating,praying,or engaging in hobbies or interests.
  • Learn to recognize and express emotions: Many alcoholics have difficulty recognizing and expressing their emotions in healthy ways. They may bottle up their feelings until they explode or deny them altogether. Learning to identify and name one’s emotions can help an alcoholic understand what triggers their anger and how to deal with it. Expressing one’s emotions in constructive ways such as talking,

writing,or crying can also help release tension and prevent anger from building up.

  • Use relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques can help an alcoholic calm down and lower their physiological arousal when they are angry. Some relaxation techniques include deep breathing,progressive muscle relaxation,visualization,or listening to soothing music.
  • Use cognitive techniques: Cognitive techniques can help an alcoholic challenge and change their negative or distorted thoughts that fuel their anger. Some cognitive techniques include reframing, reality testing,positive affirmations,or rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT).
  • Use behavioral techniques: Behavioral techniques can help an alcoholic modify their actions and reactions when they are angry. Some behavioral techniques include time-out,counting to ten,walking away,or using assertive communication.
  • Seek social support: Having a strong social support network can help an alcoholic cope with their anger and feel less alone. They can reach out to people who are supportive,understanding,and non-judgmental such as family members,friends,

Mentors, or peers. They can also join a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery where they can share their experiences and learn from others who have similar struggles.

  • Avoid triggers: Alcoholics can also try to avoid or minimize situations or people that trigger their anger or tempt them to drink. They can plan ahead for potential conflicts or stressors and prepare alternative responses or solutions. They can also set boundaries with people who are abusive,manipulative,or disrespectful and limit their contact with them.


Anger is a normal and natural emotion that can be useful in some situations. However, for alcoholics, anger can become a destructive force that harms themselves and others. By seeking professional help and using various strategies, alcoholics can learn to manage their anger and find a peaceful path to recovery.