Anger is a normal emotion and we can feel anger for a variety of reasons: a job goes badly or our partner acts in a thoughtless manner. But although it is perfectly normal to get angry some of the time, there are some people who find it very difficult to control their frustration and rage, and they kick off at the smallest of triggers. In this instance, some kind of anger management is needed. This can take the form of psychotherapy or group counselling sessions, and in some cases, anger management medication can help to supplement the anger management program.
What types of anger management medications are available?
Since anger is typically a symptom of another underlying mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety, medication for anger management is often prescribed to treat the various other problems a patient may be suffering from.
The most commonly prescribed types of anger management medication are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) anti depressants. These increase serotonin levels in the brain and can reduce the symptoms of uncontrollable anger, frustration, and underlying feelings of depression, thus leaving the patient feeling a lot more tranquil and at peace with the world. SSRIs include Drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft.
Anti Depressant Medication
Different anti depressants are more effective for some people than others, so you may find that you need to try more than one type of anti depressant before you are prescribed the drug that works for you. There are also a number of side effects associated with anti depressants such as nausea, insomnia, weight gain and sexual dysfunction.
Anti Anxiety Medication
Anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines can be prescribed to help reduce the occurrence of anger and frustration, but these should only be taken under strict medical supervision as they are highly addictive. Common benzodiazepines include Valium, Ativan and Xanax.
Anti-psychotics and mood stabilizing drugs, including lithium, might be prescribed for anger management issues if the underlying cause of the problem is bipolar disorder. They cannot “cure” anger issues, but they do help to stabilize the mood swings that can lead to frustration and inappropriate outbursts of anger.
Medication for anger management for kids
Many of the anger management medications an adult might be prescribed are not suitable for children. SSRIs such as Prozac and Zoloft have been found to increase the risk of suicide in young people aged between 18 and 24. Anti depressants are also addictive and should only be given to children with anger management issues under close medical supervision.
Some children might be prescribed low doses of other medications to help control their anger problems. Anticonvulsants such as Tegretol and Depakene can be useful in treating children subject to uncontrollable temper tantrums. Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin and Dexedrine are also sometimes prescribed for anger problems.
However, whilst medication can be a very useful addition to an anger management treatment program, drugs for anger management must never be considered a stand alone treatment and other forms of therapy should always be attempted before resorting to medication.