Anger is a powerful emotion that only worsens generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), associated with excessive and uncontrollable worry, for millions worldwide who suffer from the condition, says a Canadian study.
It often interferes with a person’s ability to function normally. Such Individuals anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about health, money and relationships.
Concordia University graduate student Sonya Deschenes investigated the subject after conducting a literature review for her doctoral research, supervised by psychology professor Michel Dugas.
Some of the studies she came across showed that anger and anxiety were linked. She noticed that this relationship was poorly understood, the journal Cognitive Behaviour Therapy reports.
“This was surprising to me because irritability, which is part of the anger family, is a diagnostic feature of generalised anxiety disorder,” she explains, according to a Concordia statement.
Deschenes and colleagues at Concordia and Ryerson University, Toronto team assessed more than 380 participants for GAD symptoms and their tendency to respond to anger-inducing scenarios, by testing responses to such statements as, “I strike out at whatever infuriates me” and “I boil inside, but I don’t show it”.
The study found that in the 131 participants who exhibited GAD symptoms, higher levels of anger and its various dimensions were tied to worry and anxiety. Furthermore, hostility and internalised anger contributed to the severity of their GAD symptoms.
This suggests not only that anger and anxiety go hand in hand, but also that heightened levels of anger are uniquely related to GAD status. What’s more, internalised anger expression — boiling inside without showing it — is a stronger predictor of the GAD than other forms of anger.