Wednesday, March 10, 2010

When Anger is an Illness

Here is an interesting piece from the Wall Street Journal. Of course, a little grace from God goes a long way in struggles with temper. But when is anger a sign of emotional disorder in need of medical and/or psychiatric treatment as well as grace? To quote:

Professional anger-management trainers say that in most cases anger isn't an illness but a normal human emotion that causes problems when it flares too hot, too often. They believe people can learn to manage their anger with practical skills.

"I don't want everybody who calls up for anger management to be assumed to have a mental illness," says Ian Shaffer, chief medical officer for MHN, a subsidiary of Health Net Inc., which runs employee-assistance programs for companies, including anger management. MHN's anger-management program takes the form of conference calls. After an individual evaluation, employees whose jobs are on the line because of anger issues are told to call an 800 number for a 90-minute group discussion with a facilitator twice a week for six sessions. All participants are anonymous. MHN says one in-house study found that three-fourths of the employees whose jobs were in jeopardy were in good standing after completing the program.

How can they tell if the employees aren't working at the computer or filing their nails during the sessions? "We can't—but we can tell if you're participating or progressing," says Dr. Shaffer, a psychiatrist. "People can sandbag you—bright people know what to say to make it sound like they are progressing," he says. "But at the end of the day, we go back and ask your supervisor if you're better."

Most anger-management programs stress "emotional intelligence"—the idea that understanding why you are frustrated or annoyed or upset, and finding a calm, constructive means to get your way, is far more effective than losing your temper.


1 comment:

Julygirl said...

Yes it is our natural response to many situations. For me what helps is replacing self righteousness with humility in neutralizing our anger response and coming to terms with it.