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Anger signals your body to prepare for a fight. This reaction is commonly classified as "fight or flight." When you get angry, adrenaline and other hormones are released into the bloodstream. Then your blood pressure goes up, your heart beats faster, and you breathe faster.
Many people mistakenly believe that anger is always a bad emotion and that expressing anger is not okay. In reality, anger can be a normal response to everyday events. It is the right response to any situation that is a real threat. Anger can be a positive driving force behind our actions. Anger can also be a symptom of something else, depending on how often a person feels angry and how angry the person feels.
Hostility is being ready for a fight all the time. Hostile people are often stubborn, impatient, hotheaded, or have an "attitude." They are frequently in fights or may say they feel like hitting something or someone. Hostility isolates you from other people.
Anger and constant hostility keep your blood pressure high and increase your chances of having another health problem, such as depression, heart attack, or a stroke.
Teens who say they often feel angry and hostile also more often feel anxious, stressed, sad, and fatigued. They have more problems with alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, and eating disorders than teens who do not have high levels of anger.
Violent behavior often begins with verbal threats or relatively minor incidents, but over time it can involve physical harm. Violent behavior is very damaging, both physically and emotionally. Violent behavior can include physical, verbal, or sexual abuse of an intimate partner (domestic violence), a child (child abuse), or an older adult (elder abuse).
Violence causes more injury and death in children, teenagers, and young adults than infectious disease, cancer, or birth defects. Murder, suicide, and violent injury are the leading causes of death in children. Violence with guns is one of the leading causes of death of children and teenagers in the United States.
If you are angry or hostile or if you have violent behavior, it is important to find help. You can learn ways to control your feelings and actions.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
The risk of a suicide attempt is highest if:
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call911or other emergency services now.
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.
If you are angry, hostile, or violent, it is important to find help. You can learn ways to control your feelings and actions.
There are some things you can do to try to control any feelings of anger or hostility and avoid violence.
Call your doctor to evaluate your feelings if your anger, hostility, or violent behavior becomes more frequent or severe.
To prevent anger and hostility and to avoid violence:
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
While waiting for your appointment, it may be helpful to keep a diary of your feelings.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency MedicineDavid Messenger, MD
Current as ofMarch 20, 2017
Current as of: March 20, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
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