What is the link between depression and anger?

Anger as a Symptom of Depression

Depression-related anger can be a reaction to the perceived hopelessness of a situation or even frustration over recurring states of depression [source: MacManamy].

A problem that offers no effective solutions or positive outcomes is going to produce its fair share of frustration and anger. For similar reasons, anger is also a common stage of grief [source: Chakraburtty]. As is the case with depression, grief-induced anger is the result of a feeling of hopelessness and despair.

Sometimes, though, the depression-anger link can seem to work the other way around. Think of the common saying regarding depression: "Depression is anger turned inward." When you feel angry, that feeling is often derived from a sense of hurt, and an angry person may seek to pass that hurt on, or take drastic action to change the anger-inducing situation.

However, when it's externally directed, anger doesn't effect fundamental change in the perception of your situation. Instead, that anger may eventually be directed inward, toward a newfound object of hatred: yourself. At that point, self-pity can't be too far behind as you dwell on the inherent unfairness of life, or on the hopelessness of the situation.

Depression-related anger -- just like other signs associated with depression -- can diminish or even completely disappear by treating the underlying cause: depression. It may also be useful to learn some anger management techniques. Instead of acting out in anger in response to what seems like a hopeless situation, make a plan to change your situation.

A good first step is to speak with a professional counselor. There are other positive steps you can take, too: eating well, exercising, avoiding alcohol or drugs, and reaching out to family, friends or any other available network of social support.

Most importantly, view uncharacteristic anger as a potential warning sign of a greater underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

Keep reading for lots more information on anger and depression.

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