Impact Of Anger On The Health

Anger is an emotion which is defined as an intense feeling in response to frustration, disappointment, and hurt. Experiencing anger is not same as everyone, it varies from one person to another and not everyone handles anger in the same way. Experiencing anger is not a bad thing and it has both positive and negative effects. Anger can be positive till the point it helps and motivates you from being mistreated but when an anger becomes out of control, it can have so many negative impacts on the life and health of an individual.    

According to Dr. Harry Mills, Anger is not an emotion we are born with, rather one that is learned. There are a number of ways through which we can learn to become angry.

According to psychologists, there are four types of thinking that become the source of anger and the types are as follows:

  • Emotional reasons – People who get angry at emotional reasons often become irritated at small and innocent things they hear from other people. They perceive such comment as an attack on themselves and become angry.
  • Low frustration tolerance – Most often, stress reduces the tolerance for frustration and when an individual experience low tolerance, they see normal things as a threat on themselves. This triggers anger. Factors that can reduce the tolerance level in an individual include stress, anxiety, physical pain, drugs and alcohol.
  • Unreasonable expectations – Sometimes people make unnecessary demands and when the things doesn’t go their way, they often get frustrated or angry.
  • People rating – Sometimes when people witness other people pointing on others or making derogatory statements on other people,  it makes them angry.

Normally, when an individual becomes angry he or she experience some psychological symptoms such as an increase in breathing rate, sweating, shaking of hands, goosebumps, face turning red, and an increased blood pressure.

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Effects of Anger on the brain

Numerous studies have shown that anger can be harmful to the body and to the mind. Various researches have been conducted on how anger impacts an individual psychologically and physiologically. Anger has an effect on various body functions, but it affects the brain first.

When an individual experiences anger, the brain causes the body to release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Whenever the brain sense any threat or harm, various nerve fibers within the brain release chemicals throughout the body. An elevated cortisol level in the body causes neurons to accept too much calcium through their membrane and an overload of calcium can make the cells die. Also, cortisol has negative effects on the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Hippocampus is one of the most important parts in the brain and it plays a critical role in the formation and storage of new memories and connecting the emotions to these memories. The prefrontal cortex is also an important part of the brain and this part of the brain is involved in cognitive behavior, decision making, and personality changes.

Anger also has an impact on the heart and when an individual experience anger the blood pressure rises and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Due to the anger, the body releases various chemicals that can lead to the formation of a clot and an increased risk of developing various heart diseases.

Coronary heart disease is one disease that can be occurred due to an increased and frequent anger. Coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease is a chronic disorder which occurs when the plaque builds up inside the arteries and leads to partial or complete blockage of the arteries that supply oxygen rich blood to the heart muscles. The area of the plaque can rupture and when this happens, it can lead to the formation of a blood clot on the surface of the plaque which can completely block the flow of oxygen rich blood and leads to heart attack or major chest pain.

Effects of Anger on the immune system

Numerous researchers have suggested that there is a relationship between anger and the immune system. An uncontrolled and frequent anger lowers the immunity. Anger is associated with stress and aggression that can make immune system overactive and results in an increased risk of autoimmune diseases.

Anger is associated with the release of hormones or chemicals such as cortisol which have a wide range of effects on the immune system. An immune system is a defense system in the body. It protects the human body against bacterias, fungus, virus, and foreign invaders. Whenever any problem happens in the immune system, it affects the entire human body. The immune system not only fails to protect the body but it can also attack the body. It mistakes the healthy cells of the body as a foreign invader and attacks the healthy cells of the body.


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Jim Carson

Jim Carson is the writer for the mental health section of He is certified in clinical mental health counselling and has conducted cognitive behaviour therapy for war veterans struggling with PTSD. Professionally and personally, Jim is an astute observer of human behaviour that reflects well in his work.