When overwhelmed by strong negative emotions like frustration and anger, do you drink and use drugs? You might find the use of substances a relief, but the effect of drugs or alcohol is only for the short term. Once that sense of relief has passed, it often becomes tempting to use these substances again.
The temporary feeling of relaxation after a few drinks may make you want more. However, the reality is, what is underlying your frustration and anger has not been dealt with. Repeated attempts to use drugs or alcohol may lead to dependence and addiction, resulting in more distress and aggressive behavior.
Reckoning With Frustration and Anger
Has it crossed your mind that there might be natural, non-substance-based ways to manage emotions like frustration and anger? As you consider this possibility, it is essential, to begin with, the basics of our understanding of human emotions.
However, this understanding requires some unlearning because we are taught to avoid negative emotions, such as anger, pain, fear, sadness, frustration, and disappointment. Very few of us have been taught either by parents or by teachers to reckon with these feelings effectively.
In real life, it is hard to face oneself and come to terms with your negative emotions. Both adults and children may suffer traumatic stress experiences that lead to lingering feelings of frustration and anger. If untreated for a prolonged period, these emotions may accumulate to more stress and aggressive behavior.
Drugs and Alcohol Make Things Worse
It is commonly acknowledged that frustration, anger, and aggression are closely related to substance use. The two sets of behavioral patterns may be mutually reinforcing.
One study shows that effective treatment of anger and related impulsive aggression before the onset of substance use may prevent or delay substance use disorders. If you suspect that you are developing a tendency to self-medicate using drugs and alcohol, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you tend to drink alcohol or use drugs to change how you feel?
- When frustrated or angry, do you crave drugs or alcohol?
- Has your anger problem improved when you were using drugs or alcohol?
If you answer yes to these questions, it is recommended that you consider getting help from a mental health professional. The reality is, long-term substance abuse to ease frustration and anger may also worsen the situation. When you don’t drink or use drugs, you may not be able to relax socially. Gradually, you lose the natural mental capacity to manage your emotions or socially engage without resorting to drugs and alcohol.
You may hope that the root problems of distress go away after using substances to dull your senses and emotions. However, our body and mind often do not react like that, and substance dependence only strengthens these negative emotions. This vicious cycle has been repeatedly proven to do damage to your long-term emotional health.
How to Manage Your Frustration and Anger
To reckon with the emotional states of frustration and anger is part of self-compassion and self-care. Negative emotions are not your enemies. They are part of the experience of being human. What you can do is to be fully aware of these feelings, reckon their presence from inside you, and allow yourself some time to process them.
For example, when you feel a burst of anger, pay attention to how your body reacts along with this anger, and breathe through this awareness. Silent meditation can help this immensely. Try not to block out this awareness but rather acknowledge it as a natural response to certain situations.
Imagine patting yourself on the back, saying, “Okay, I am angry right now, and it is a normal feeling, and I just need a moment to let myself be with this anger.” You can also consider choosing one of your favorite competitive sports, allowing the energy of your frustration and anger to be channeled out through physical exercise.
Talk to a Professional
Talking to someone you trust may best relieve frustration and anger. Getting attention and empathy from another human being can be the most helpful way.
However, if you struggle to find trustworthy relationships, you should consider talking to a mental health professional who has experience counseling people on anger management. In everyday life, you may follow a few simple steps:
- Collect your thoughts before you say things
- Express emotions of anger when you have calmed down
- Identify the sources of anger to people you trust
- When frustrated or angry, give yourself a timeout to break from the tension
- Practice some relaxation drills, such as meditation or repeating calming words.
Joining a support group can also help you unlearn relying on substance abuse for situations that trigger frustration and anger. Finding people who share similar experiences may motivate you to seek progress. It is essential to know that you are not alone. Attending a 12-Step program may give you the support you need to get out of the vicious cycle.
Have you been relying on drugs or alcohol to get relief from strong emotions like frustration and anger? Are you finding these ways of relief less effective and more damaging to your mental and physical health? Do you wonder if there are natural ways to unwind your frustrated, angry mental state? If so, it is time to seek help. At Laguna Shores Recovery, we have a team of mental health professionals who have the experience to help people out of this cycle. Do not let drugs and alcohol dictate how you handle your emotions. Feeling and processing these intense emotions can be a rewarding learning process. Laguna Shores is a full medical and residential facility offering a range of treatments, including diagnosis, therapy, 12-Step support groups, and treatment plans. Call us at (866) 906-3203, and our experienced staff can help you regain self-compassion, emotional stability, and freedom from substance abuse.