Traumatised children will become angry adults – Experts

9th April 2023

Angry adult

By Sodiq Ojuroungbe

Mental health experts have said adults that suffered trauma as children are more likely to have anger issues, stressing that severe trauma increases the likelihood of aggressive behaviour.

Their stance was in reaction to a study presented at the European Congress of Psychiatry, Paris, France, which suggested that there was a relationship between childhood traumatic experiences and anger.

The mental health experts noted that people with depression and anxiety, who must have experienced traumatic childhood, are more likely to become angry adults.

According to them, all types of childhood trauma, with the exception of sexual abuse, were linked to higher levels of rage, higher prevalence of rage attacks, and antisocial personality traits in adulthood.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, the experts, a specialist in Psychiatry, National Health Service, Southampton, England, United Kingdom, Dr. Jide Jeje, and his counterpart at Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Samuel Aladejare, said all forms of anger were related to emotional neglect, psychological abuse and physical violence.

Dr. Jeje, while noting that anger can be a good way to express feelings, said it can become unhealthy when the person is unable to control it.

He said there have been cases where childhood trauma led to a mental health condition known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He said, “Some people see anger and aggression as the same thing. In fact, anger is an emotion that we feel, while aggression is how some of us behave when we are angry.

“Childhood Trauma has been known to cause not only anxiety and depression but also anger and irritability. Unresolved trauma from childhood can manifest as anger and antisocial personality traits in adulthood.

“Children who have experienced trauma may internalise their anger instead of expressing it when they feel powerless against adults who inflict the pain.

“In extreme cases, trauma experienced can lead to a mental health condition called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some of the signs of PTSD include reliving the event (having flashbacks or nightmares), avoidance, anxiety, depression, anger, problems with trust, self-destructive or risky behaviors, and withdrawal.”

Dr. Jeje noted that unresolved anger had been linked to physical health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease.

He said, “Some people don’t see their anger problem as an issue; instead they see other people or things as the problem.

“If you ever find that you have a problem with regulating your emotions, in particular anger, there are few things to do that could help and they include learning how to do breathing and relaxation exercises.

“Regulating your breathing can help slow down your heart rate and you may eventually find yourself in control of the situation at hand.

“It is always helpful to have a journal where you can document situations that happened and how they made you feel, including the degree of intensity of the emotions you felt at the time.

“Walking away from the situation that has made you angry, breathing in some fresh air, and even doing some exercise like going for a walk have been shown to help.


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