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Articles – By Subject
Rage: What is Rage?
Rage: What is Rage?
Anger is a healthy and natural human emotion. It acts as a signal to empower us to “ward off” what we perceive as an attack or threat to our well-being. Anger can be a good thing. It gives you an opportunity to express negative feelings, for example, or motivate you to find solutions to problems. Anger itself is not a problem; however, rage is ineffective management of anger and will eventually cause difficulties. One out of five Americans has an anger management problem, including rage. Mismanaged anger is the major cause of conflict in both personal and professional relationships.
Rage and Common Symptoms:
Anger is not a black and white issue; rather, it is expressed in shades of gray. Anger occurs on a continuum between rage and calm; depending upon circumstances and other influences, all people experience some gradation of anger between these two extremes. When anger responses tend toward darker gray to black, rage and anger mismanagement are most likely an issue.
The signs and symptoms of anger also fall on this continuum and include:
- clenching your jaws or grinding your teeth
- stomach ache
- increased and rapid heart rate
- sweating, especially your palms
- feeling hot in the neck/face
- shaking or trembling
- feeling like you want to get away from the situation
- easily irritated
- sad or depressed
- wanting to striking out verbally or physically
Some Other Possible Related Symptoms:
- rubbing your head
- cupping your fist with your other hand
- getting sarcastic
- losing your sense of humor
- acting in an abusive or abrasive manner
- craving a drink, a smoke, or other substances that relaxes you
- raising your voice
- beginning to yell, scream, or cry
Rage and Brain Function:
Research repeatedly demonstrates that changes in functioning of the limbic system affect emotional responses as intense anger, fear, reasoning, and impulse control. The limbic system is housed deep in the brain’s interior; when it does not function correctly, the result may be rage, anxiety, or depression.
The prefrontal cortex is vital to effective management of anger, as it represents a vital organizational part of the brain where critical judgments are formed. There is a delicate balance in the functioning between the limbic system, including the amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex. When any of these areas of the brain malfunction, the chemicals released to transmit electrical impulses in the brain from one neuron to another are affected. Thus, impulsive, uncontrollable, or even violent behavior can result.
There is also connection between the frontal lobes and emotions. Damage to the left frontal lobe can result in a lack of emotional expression; damage to the right frontal lobe can lead to uninhibited, uncontrollable or exaggerated emotional responses, including severe anger and violence. The frontal lobes appear to help us distinguish between different emotions and recognize and express emotions appropriately.
With the qEEG or Brain Map as an assessment tool, we can see the electrical activity of the brain. We can then determine where and how the dysregulation occurs allowing us to develop treatment protocols to put the brain back into balance without medication.
Rage and Treatment Options:
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CHANGING BRAINS. CHANGING LIVES.
Dr. Stephanie Golder, MA, ThD, Stephen Minister, Hemispheric Life Coach
Mindy Fritz, MS, LCDC, BCN Associate Fellow