GAD May Cause Anger Which Makes Anxiety Even Worse

People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may experience heightened levels of anger, and this emotion can worsen symptoms associated with the disorder, according to a study recently published in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

Graduate student Sonya Deschênes and her colleagues at Concordia University in Montreal examined how specific components of anger affect GAD. They studied hostility, physical and verbal aggression, anger expression, and anger control in more than 380 participants.

The researchers found that those who exhibited GAD symptoms tended to have higher levels of anger associated with anxiety and worry. Additionally, hostility and inner anger increased the severity of GAD symptoms. Deschênes explained:

“When a situation is ambiguous, such that the outcome could be good or bad, anxious individuals tend to assume the worst. That often results in heightened anxiety. There is also evidence of that same thought process in individuals who are easily angered. Therefore, anger and GAD may be two manifestations of the same biased thought process.”

“If anger and hostility are contributing to the maintenance of symptoms, and these are not targeted during treatment, these people may not be benefiting as much from that treatment. It's my hope that, by furthering our understanding of the role of anger in GAD, we can improve treatment outcomes for individuals with this disorder.”

Source: Examiner, EurekAlert Press Release
Photo: Pixabay


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