Volatile Anger: Causes, Symptoms & How to Deal with It?

Anger is a common emotion that manifests in various ways across a broad spectrum. Angry people may sometimes feel frustrated, irritated, or outraged. While some forms may appear subtle, others may seem uncontrollable or volatile, resulting in unintended consequences. An angry outburst is often unexpected and occurs when someone becomes frustrated quickly over a situation or an event.

If volatile anger is not treated, it can lead to intense emotional outbursts, leading to violence. This article will guide you more about volatile anger and how it affects human health.

Volatile anger is defined as an outburst of extreme rage that occurs unexpectedly. It happens occasionally, and the “volatile person” may remain angry after the incident has passed.

Like a volatile substance, the emotion manifests itself as a blast of behaviour that occurs suddenly and surprises everyone.

Causes of Volatile Anger

Triggers of volatile anger can include a situation, an individual, a personal issue, or past trauma. In addition, substance abuse is frequently a contributing factor in volatile anger.

According to research, men exhibit more volatile anger symptoms than women. Some people show volatile anger symptoms as teenagers or children. Risk factors that can trigger volatile anger include living environments, genetics, and a history of mental illness.

This type of anger has no known cause. For example, people may have stayed at home with people who lacked emotional control or where verbal and physical abuse occurred. One of the most significant causes of anger is lack of emotional support and it can lead to volatile anger.

Children exposed to violent or aggressive situations may develop anger issues as they age. An imbalance of brain chemicals may also cause anger problems. Some people who struggle with anger may have different neurochemistry and function than others who do not struggle with anger.

Symptoms of Volatile Anger

Emotional symptoms of volatile anger include irritability, anxiety, and rage. A person’s thoughts and feelings may overwhelm them. Some people may have difficulty managing their thoughts or even consider hurting others or themselves.

However, saying hurtful things and getting upset does not indicate having problems controlling your rage or emotions. Anger is a natural emotion that everyone experiences from time to time.

To assess an anger disorder diagnosis, a therapist or psychiatrist may look for emotional and physical signs of anger and behavioral patterns, like a sudden mood change.

For example, recognizing that your anger is volatile may include violent bouts of rage that occur spontaneously and regularly. You also might act as if it is never your mistake and blame others.

Here is the list of common symptoms associated with volatile anger:

  • Episodes of angry outbursts
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Rage
  • Headaches
  • high blood pressure
  • Tingling
  • Sinus pressure
  • Chest tightness
  • Fatigue

Many people experience physical signs of volatile anger, and they may be unaware that the reason for the symptoms is anger. However, when these symptoms go untreated, they cause alterations in the body, leading to various health risks.

How Can Volatile Anger Affect a Person’s Physical & Mental Health?

People experiencing irrational or volatile anger may be more likely to harm others or themselves during an episode of volatile anger.

In addition, these strong emotions may cause the individual to act out in ways that cause property damage or relationship problems – this type of rage should never be tolerated.

Physical Health

Volatile anger, if not dealt with on time, can have a negative impact on your physical health, causing high breathing rates, high blood pressure, nausea, muscle tension, dizziness, muscle pain, and headaches.

These effects of volatile anger can make it hard to complete daily tasks and contribute to generalized rage at life.

Mental Health

Anger can be dangerous to your mental health if it is expressed inappropriately. Reactions such as holding back anger, having violent outbursts, or exploding in rage, may have negative emotional and physical consequences.

Harmful effects of volatile anger include mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and self-harm. In addition, people with long-term anger issues tend to make poor decisions, take more significant risks than others, and are more prone to abuse substances.

Other Disorders with Volatile Behavior

People who express their rage in a volatile manner may trigger a wave of anger within minutes or seconds of being triggered. When this type of rage persists, it may be a symptom of a mental disorder. These are some examples:

Intermittent Explosive Disorder: It is a mental disorder marked by volatile anger episodes. If a person has a minimum of three episodes of volatile rage like breaking objects, emotional outbursts, physical abuse, or road rage, he may suffer from IED.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder: Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder is a type of mental disorder that is most common in children. It is distinguished by severe anger, irritability, and frequent temper outbursts.

An angry mood almost daily, at least three episodes of severe verbal or physical outbursts per week, and disruptive short-tempered moods are all symptoms of DMDD.

Borderline Personality Disorder: Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental disorder characterized by extremely unstable behaviors and moods. Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder find it hard to control volatile anger, exhibit impulsive and reckless behavior, and have unstable interpersonal relationships.

11 Successful Strategies to Manage Volatile Anger

  1. Deep Breathing
  2. Go Exercise
  3. Opt for Anger Management Course
  4. Talk To a Therapist
  5. Start Journaling
  6. Use I-statements
  7. Listen To Music
  8. Find Social Support
  9. Challenge your thoughts
  10. Change your Surroundings
  11. Practice Meditation

You must be wondering how to deal with volatile anger. Dealing with volatile anger can be challenging and time-consuming, but once you include the following strategies in your daily life, it will become much easier to control your rage.

1 – Deep Breathing

Discover natural ways to relax. Deep breathing is one of the relaxation techniques. For example, your breathing may become faster and shallower when you’re angry. Slowing and deepening your breathing is a simple way to reduce your anger.

2 – Go Exercise

Sometimes treating your volatile anger can be simpler than you think. Take a healthy run, a brisk walk, or engage in another favorite physical activity as your anger builds before it explodes. Stimulating your neurochemicals can make you feel more relaxed and happy than before you exercised.

3 – Opt for Anger Management Course

If your anger is volatile, you should seek medical attention. Then, choose an anger management course to learn how to release anger in the healthiest manner. Suppose your job nature does not allow you to attend physical classes. In that case, you can enroll in an anger management program.

4 – Talk To a Therapist

Talking to a therapist can help you identify what causes your anger and how you usually respond to these triggers. With the assistance of a therapist, you can also learn new ways to deal with volatile anger.

5 – Start Journaling

Journaling can enable you to relax and practice mindfulness while also allowing you to evaluate your thoughts. In addition, this may assist you in becoming informed of any triggers or patterns associated with your anger.

6 – Use I-Statements

Criticizing and blaming others may only exacerbate the tension. Instead, use specific “I” statements to describe the problem respectfully. For example, instead of saying, “I’m upset because you did not take out the trash today,” say, “I’m upset because you never bother to take out the trash.”

7 – Listen To Music

Anger management may benefit from music therapy. Anger management programs for teenagers and adults frequently include music as a significant therapy component. Many people may feel better after listening to music. Music can either calm an individual’s nerves or increase emotional awareness.

8 – Find Social Support

Treatment for volatile anger includes social support and developing a connection. First, invest in a group of people with whom you can be honest and open. Simply expressing your anxieties and frustrations to people you trust will assist you in gaining an outlook to control your emotions.

9 – Challenge your thoughts

Challenging your thoughts may help to change negative patterns of thought and flip them into positive ones, encouraging sensible reasoning when perceiving assumptions and reacting to events. Compatible methods may aid in avoiding the worst-case scenario while remaining realistic and healthy.

10 – Change your Surroundings

Sometimes it’s our surroundings that irritate and annoy us. So change your surroundings and take a break. Schedule some “personal time” for moments that you think are incredibly rough and stressful.

11 – Practice Meditation

Simple relaxation techniques, such as meditation, can assist in shifting the thoughts away from rage and frustration during triggering situations, particularly with consistent practice. For example, suppose you’re in a relationship with a hot-tempered partner. In that case, it could be a smart option for both to practice meditation.


Anger is an emotion, and everyone goes through it at some phase of their lives. However, it can be good for you, your community, your relationships, and the world when it is under control.

However, if you are struggling with volatile anger and do not treat it, it can harm your life and lead to a regretful life.

Therefore, we recommend you seek professional help and incorporate some anger management techniques such as exercise, meditation, journaling, etc. It will help you control your anger and live a peaceful and healthy life.

Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC

Dr. Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC specializes in anger management, family conflict resolution, marital and premarital conflict resolution. His extensive knowledge in the field of anger management may enable you to use his tested methods to deal with your anger issues.


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