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In the last section, we discussed Positive Responses to Anger. The two types of responses we discussed were active response and passive response.
In this section, we will discuss anger and depression. I find that the key points in the relationship between anger and depression are intrapersonal dynamics and the vicious cycle.
♦ #1 Intrapersonal Dynamics
Lori, age 51, suffered from agitated depression. She had sudden emotional outbursts. Lori stated, "I was an architect for fifteen years. The damn company I worked for downsized me out of my job. I used to be happy. Now I’m either blue or so damn angry I can’t think straight. When I get mad like that, I go to my basement and fume. After a while, I start getting real sad, and then mad all over again. I’ve started spending hours down there because I don’t want to take it out on my family like I used to. That’s what got me here. Feeling down and angry at the same time makes me violent." Have you had experience treating an anger management client with depression like Lori?
♦ #2 The Vicious Cycle of Anger and Depression
Three Stages of the Vicious Cycle
--Stage Two: Second, anger can change the behavior of a depressed client. Lori’s depression was characterized by passivity and inaction. Lori’s anger caused her to act in ways which were self-serving and self-protective. However, when angry, Lori felt like her former, non-depressed self. The fact that anger can eliminate feelings of depression temporarily lead to Lori’s continuous aggression.
--Stage Three: Third, depression altered Lori’s perceptions. Altered perceptions resulted in mood changes. Lori became cynical, then she became paranoid. For example, Lori was angered by house guests. Lori stated, "I hate coming home to a house full of people. My family knows that. They probably invite people over to piss me off so I’ll hide in the damn basement and they can be rid of me. No wonder I’m so screwed up!" As you have probably experienced, altered perceptions such as paranoia can lead to anger. I stated to Lori, "You may be caught in a vicious cycle of anger and depression perpetuated by your perceptions."
♦ Cognitive Behavior Therapy: 3-Step Order on Chaos Technique
--Step One: First, I asked Lori to make a schedule of household activities she could perform instead of retreating to the basement. For example, Lori’s schedule included fixing broken appliances, painting her house, organizing her record collection, and refinishing some furniture.
In this section, we have discussed anger and depression. The key points are intrapersonal dynamics and the vicious cycle of anger and depression.
In the next section, we will discuss self-inflicted anger. I have found that clients may self-inflict anger in four ways. These four ways are compromising morals to gain acceptance, work becomes all-encompassing, developing poor health habits, and substance abuse.
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