Though some addicts do not exhibit aggression, many violent crimes are committed while the perpetrator is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Why? In some cases, there is a strong connection between substance abuse and aggression. How are these two things related? Where can an addict turn for treatment for anger issues as well as addictions in Florida?

The Long-Standing Issue of Anger and Aggression

Many patients suffering from addictive disorders have also struggled for years with problems related to anger and aggression. While this is not relevant to everyone, Dr. Sidney Cohen at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute discovered that anger was enough of an issue in these groups to warrant further study. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Dr. Cohen published research and articles related to substance abuse and aggression.

Recent data also confirms that there is still an ongoing issue of aggression and addiction. The SAMHSA National Household Survey on Drug Use reveals that 40 percent of frequent cocaine users also report engaging in some form of violent behavior. Anger and aggression may play a role as a causal factor in drug use or could be the result of the chemicals’ effect on the body and mind.

Few people make the connection between feelings of anger, aggressive acts, and a substance use disorder. A recent study released by the Intramural Research Program (IRP) at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) confirms that there is such a link. Their findings revealed that, in mice who were exposed to protocols that mimic the addictive behaviors in humans, some of the subjects developed signs of aggression.

Researchers found that roughly 70 percent of the male mice in the experiment pressed a lever that indicated aggression toward smaller mice. Approximately 19 percent of the subjects were categorized as “compulsive aggression-seeking” subjects that were likely to continue pressing the lever in an aggressive move even when that meant they would forgo food.

Researchers concluded that a certain set of conditions could allow a portion of the mouse population to develop compulsive aggressive behavior. These are some of the same motivational circuits in the brain that addiction disrupts and there are similarities in humans.

How Anger Impacts Addiction and Recovery

An addict may experience feelings of anger due to a traumatic event, such as the loss of a loved one or prior sexual abuse. Addicts do not have healthy methods for dealing with emotions, and may even blame themselves or others for their circumstances. If you are using drugs or alcohol to mask feelings, the anger and resentment will build up over time, and even further aggression is going to be the result.

If you find that you are overwhelmed by a sense of anger, resentment, and hopelessness, you are not alone. You can not only break free from the bond of addiction but also find release from anger and its destructive consequences. Sometimes anger and aggression are linked to a mental health condition such as bipolar disorder or major depression.

When you attend a qualified Florida drug rehab, you will receive a personalized and integrated treatment program that is delivered by a multidisciplinary team of medical providers and therapists who work together to treat the whole person. This approach to holistic treatment will allow you to address your substance abuse issues, any co-occurring disorders, and learn valuable anger management techniques. Contact us now to find out how we can help you begin your road to a peace-filled recovery.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.