To learn about Bipolar Anger, there are studies that delve deep into its sources, including depression. Depression, as the old saying goes, is anger turned inward. Various studies have found anger attacks to be common in 40 to 60 percent of those with unipolar and bipolar depression. The rate is about the same for bipolar mixed states. Surprisingly, no studies appear
Mood specialists are careful to distinguish between occasional hot flashes of anger and the long-simmering irritability and rage—angry outbursts lasting over several days, during both manic episodes and agitated states of depression—that is symptomatic of bipolar disorder. During a manic episode, experts say, mood changes can swing from irritability to euphoria to depression—all within a 25-minute period of time.
“Instantaneous anger that lasts a few minutes and occurs twice a week is not bipolar, it’s being angry,” says David L. Dunner, MD, FACPsych, director of the Center for Anxiety and Depression in Mercer Island, Washington. “Irritability can be present during highs and lows, but irritability without elated mood makes me suspect the illness may not be bipolar.”
In other words, everybody gets angry. Just because you have a head-turning temper tantrum doesn’t mean you have bipolar disorder. Anger is a common response to both physiological illnesses like cancer and heart disease and mental illnesses such as intermittent explosive disorder, major depressive disorder and substance-induced mood disorder.
“As bipolar disorder receives more media attention, it’s easy for any type of abhorrent behavior to be attributed to it when in fact, this has to do with one’s temperament,” says Ronald A. Remick, MD, a consultant psychiatrist at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“Bipolar patients are not angry, hostile, irritable people with short fuses,” he emphasizes. “If people with bipolar illness have anger issues, they have anger issues.”
It is, however, a side of bipolar disorder that has long passed under the radar screen. Many people with bipolar say that uncontrolled anger has destroyed their marriages, families and personal relationships, ruined their careers and left them emotionally isolated.
“Anger is the real destroyer of our good human qualities; an enemy with a weapon cannot destroy these qualities, but anger can. Anger is our real enemy.”
– His Holiness the DalaiLama
Personal healing is a long and difficult, but eventually rewarding journey. But our own anger as a a bipolar sufferer is by far our own worst enemy. Nothing else comes close. Get your quick fix off the anger-mongers if you have to, but learn to appreciate that these people will not be by your side for long. That is because you will be making headway in your journey while they most assuredly will remain in the private little hells of their own making. Maybe you can spare them a kind thought. Unfortunately, I cannot. Their antics have resulted in far more hardship and suffering in our population than any injustices in the system they love talking about. Sometimes it helps just to say to yourself, I'm angry about that. In anycase, if anger is a big part of your bipolar disease, seek help from some very good anger managment programs offered by your health provider.