How to Know the Difference Between Rage and Anger

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Is He Losing It?

Is someone you know losing control? Are you in a relationship that scares you? Does your teenager throw things or shove you against a wall when he doesn’t get his way? Does he take his anger out on a younger sibling? Does your husband fly off the handle when he’s mad? Does he threaten you? How about the coworker who screams out in anger and storms out the door when he’s challenged?

Am I Losing It?

Are you worried about your own temperament? Do you feel powerless when you’re angry? Have you maliciously cut someone off in traffic while shrieking out your window? Have you ever lost control during an argument and resorted to physical violence?

What is Anger?

Anger is a common emotion that we all experience from time to time. Frustration or a lack of patience can lead to anger. You may be at your wits end with your boss, your coworker, or your husband. You can feel the anger building up when your boss asks you to meet an impossible deadline, or when your colleague takes the credit for your hard work in the weekly sales meeting.

You get furious when your husband leaves his clothes in a heap on the bathroom floor, or forgets to take the trash out for the fifth time this week. You respond by yelling, pouting or slamming a door, but you compose yourself quickly. Anger is an emotion that can be controlled. If you have trouble controlling your anger or find yourself getting angry more frequently, an anger management class can help you maintain control before your anger turns to rage.

What is Rage?

Rage occurs when anger cannot be controlled, resulting in violence, destruction or a senseless act of desperation. This extremely dangerous reaction to frustration, perceived pain, or feeling threatened is not normal. Rage is an aggressive, explosive behavior that can lead to incarceration, self- destruction or even death. When a person is experiencing a period of rage, he cannot think clearly, or consider the consequences of his actions.

Domestic violence, child abuse, gang warfare, and rioting are the result of anger that has escalated beyond control into a frenzied rage. Victims of post- traumatic stress disorder report feelings of anger that escalate into rage without provocation.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of rage, a mental health professional can assess the situation and provide the treatment necessary to regain control. Frequent outbursts of uncontrollable rage can ruin lives and disintegrate families. Don’t be afraid to get help for yourself, or to encourage a troubled friend or loved one to seek the guidance of a trained professional.

How to Know the Difference Between Rage and Anger: ""
Cite this page: Nugent, Pam M.S., "How to Know the Difference Between Rage and Anger," in PsychologyDictionary.org, February 18, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/how-to-know-the-difference-between-rage-and-anger/ (accessed July 25, 2017).
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