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  1. Anger Management
  2. Anxiety
  3. Summertime Sinker
  4. Procrastination

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Anger Management | Dr. William Winter is a child and adolescent psychiatrist.
Will Winter, MD, FAAP

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Anger happens when:
We feel that something unjust has occurred
We can't get what we want
We feel helpless/trapped/not in control

Anger happens when you have an expectation and reality doesn't meet it.

So how do you make it better?

This requires self-soothing skills. At some point, after realizing that you don't have a choice, you accept the new reality and the anger goes away.

Here's the point. Anger happens in a flash.

At the beginning, anger is a non-issue. Then, after the inciting incident, (not shown here but seen in the graph in the video) things quickly escalate until we are as angry as we can possibly get. This can take seconds, a second or possibly less...

The point is, you do have a fraction of a second to take a deep breath and think: "Do I really want to get angry?" At that point, your brain may want to go on autopilot and get angry- but what you have to do is interrupt that. It may feel very unnatural. But you have to do it and people get better at it with practice.

You see, people often think "Anger management" means "holding it in" or "dealing with it." It doesn't. It means not getting angry in the first place.

Ok. Let's say you weren't able to head it off at the pass. Now you've let the horse out of the barn, so to speak. On the Anger scale from 1 to 10, you're a 10. How long will it take you to get back to baseline?

Hmm. I don't know. Maybe an hour. Maybe hours.

That's right. Maybe hours. Maybe it will ruin your whole day. The point is, anger happens in a flash and then you're stuck with it.

Now, just because it is really hard to get rid of it at its height doesn't mean we give up. It means that we must strengthen your ability to self-soothe.

So why would someone choose to be angry, consciously or not?

Well, anger gives someone the illusion of power.

When you are angry with someone, or angry at the world in general, in your mind, they wronged you and it is their job to make it better.

The benefit of being angry is that it allows you to, figuratively speaking, sit back, fold your arms, and say, "You owe me." Mr. Angry is allowed to sit like a king on his throne and await an apology. He is conveniently released of all responsibility. It is somebody else's responsibility to make it better.

Or, you may believe yourself temporarily entitled to act in an unacceptable way.

The Disruptive Behavioral Disorders seen in children, i.e. Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder- are fueled by anger. Without anger, these could not exist.

Although people will seek help for a variety of problems, anger is often at the root. We all get angry from time to time. But when it is to the point of dysfunction, intervention is necessary.

So how can you help?

Well, talk therapy is very important. If a child is acting out either by words only or by words and actions (i.e. dangerous actions), it is important to talk with the child with the goal of improving insight and judgment. CBT, that is, cognitive behavioral therapy, may be quite helpful. Family therapy is often crucial. If warranted, pharmaceutical intervention may be indicated on a temporary basis. This step happens only after thorough discussion with the family.