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What Are the Treatments for Anxiety, Irritability & Anger?

author image Michelle Bolyn
Michelle Bolyn is a licensed mental health professional and has worked since 2006 as a therapist. Bolyn has been writing mental health, wedding-related and relationship focused articles since 2007. She is published on and Bolyn received her master's degree in social work from New York University.
What Are the Treatments for Anxiety, Irritability & Anger?
Constant worrying and anxiety often produces feelings of irritability and anger.

Everyone experiences anxiety, irritability and anger. A parent might become anxious when his daughter goes to her first dance in high school or might feel angry when his son brings home a poor report card. When these emotions start to affect a person’s life, ability to succeed at work or school and maintain healthy relationships, the person may need professional help.

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One of the main symptoms of anxiety is irritability, because constant worrying can lead to fatigue, relationship problems and issues concentrating. People who suffer from an anxiety disorder often snap at loved ones, argue over small things and have trouble relating to coworkers. Medication is often recommended for severe anxiety. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, there are four main categories of medication used to treat anxiety, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants. Except for the benzodiazepines, all of these medications are antidepressants. Medication can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, which will also help reduce feelings of irritability and anger.


Counseling or talk therapy is another form of treatment for anxiety disorders, anger and irritability. Cognitive behavioral therapy--the most common form of therapy used to treat anxiety disorders--focuses on changing negative thinking to positive thinking, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cognitive behavioral therapists work with their clients to help them recognize how their thoughts affect their behaviors and emotions, and they give their clients specific behavioral techniques to reduce their negative symptoms.

Alternative Treatments

People who suffer from anxiety, anger and irritability can try alternative treatments if they don’t want to take medication or if they are looking for something to supplement medication and therapy. Alternative treatments include yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy and art, music and dance therapy. Kava, a plant found in the South Pacific, may reduce anxiety and improve a person’s mood. Medical professionals use biofeedback to help their clients learn how to control their physical responses. Someone who feels anxious will experience a rapid heartbeat, muscle tension and trouble breathing. Biofeedback teaches patients how to regulate these physiological functions.

Anger Management

If a client reports intense and extreme anger as one of his main problems, therapists often teach the person anger-management techniques and give the client homework assignments to lower anger. Some anger-management techniques include taking a timeout when angry, exercising to reduce irritability and practicing relaxation techniques, according to the Mayo Clinic. One anger-management technique clients are encouraged to use includes constantly monitoring levels of anger. For example, the client might be told to ask himself, on a scale of one to 10, how angry he is regularly. If the anger is past a four on the scale, the client should use an anger-management technique to reduce the anger before it gets out of control.

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