Mental health is taking a beating. World events are causing anxieties. Massive resignations are taking place across the country. People are feeling the weight of, for one, COVID-19, in an unprecedented way. Among the mix of emotions is anger — and in the online world, that anger is multidimensional and measured in a test.
What is Multidimensional Anger?
Turns out, anger isn’t as straightforward as you may think. That it’s about antagonism toward someone or something. That it manifests instantly as aggression or that it has one definable expression. Multidimensional anger covers the many elements associated with the complex emotion — because anger is complex.
The concept of multidimensional anger inventory is relatively new. UCLA psychologist Judith Siegel came up with it after observing several dimensions of anger during a review of a scientific literature on anger and coronary heart disease. Dr. Siegel noted how some people had a hostile outlook even without experiencing intense anger whereas others were easily angered from a limited range of situations.
Why is it necessary to dig into your angry reactions?
It’s important to understand the why you’re roused to anger and how it unfolds because it’ll help you figure out how to manage it. Anger management is one way to safeguard your mental health, especially in deeply challenging situations.
Today’s generation offers the convenience of social media in helping you recognize anger through the multidimensional anger test.
How Accurate is the Multidimensional Anger Test?
What is this multidimensional anger test?
This type of anger test, which has been making the rounds on Twitter, helps you reflect on your experiences with anger. It poses 38 questions, which are meant to determine your susceptibility to the emotion. It does so by comparing your responses with the population average.
Designed by IDRLabs, the test on multidimensional anger is based on the multiple empirical dimensions that Dr. Siegel has mapped out on her work. The questions allow you to reflect on the following scales of anger:
- Mode of expression
- Hostile outlook
- Range of anger-eliciting situations
Each dimension is further broken down into elements, like hostile outlook comes out as two separate dimensions: anger-in and anger-out.
The questions are posed as phrases in which you’ll choose if you “agree” or “disagree.”
The multidimensional anger test simplifies Dr. Siegel’s work by breaking down the facets into:
It covers frequency, duration and magnitude of anger.
It covers the scope and breadth of situations that are likely to trigger your rage.
It refers to how you see the world; those who score high tend to be cynical.
If you score high here, you may be known for your temper.
If you score high here, you tend to feel guilty about expressing your anger.
Since the test seems to cover a lot of ground and IDRLabs says it’s peer-reviewed scientific research, does that mean it’s accurate about your anger? No guarantee is given that the results will be accurate. Like every trend that springs from social media, don’t take it as gospel. But you could use the results to keep yourself in check.
Maybe you’re not noticing your responses to your anger. Maybe the situations described in the anger test give you pause about whether you agree. What you get out of the test may help you come up with strategies on how to calm down when frustrations build up.
What are the Ways to Deal with Anger?
Anger isn’t all bad. It’s a natural response in some cases and expressing it may even be healthy; repressing anger could develop into a heart attack or bronchitis. Research has even found that feeling this emotion increases creativity, optimism and effective performance.
It becomes a problem only when you don’t have the ability to control it. It affects your relationships when you become abusive. It impacts your physical and mental health, manifesting as increased blood pressure, muscle tension, stress, guilt and the like.
Anger suppression reportedly makes chronic pain worse whereas uncontrollable anger or hostility has been linked to peptic ulcers, high blood pressure and stroke.
Anger is classified into three types: passive aggression, open aggression and assertive anger. The last one is the healthy way to deal with anger, allowing you to react to tense situations the right way:
- Understand the difference between events you have control over and ones you can’t change.
- Delay your response. When you’re angry, pause and take a deep breath. When you take a moment, you give yourself several options to respond to an emotionally charged situation.
- State your concerns clearly and without taking on a tone that will demean the other person.
- Ask yourself, “Is my anger helping the situation or escalating it?”
If the above steps seem like a mountain you can’t climb, start your journey to anger management with the following:
- Minimize stress in creative ways
- Practice relaxation techniques (meditation or yoga)
- Consider behavioral therapy for professional support
- Look into anger management classes that offer virtual and in-person options
Is There a Medicine for Anger?
Some people may be able to manage their anger through therapeutic strategies, from cognitive behavioral therapy to counseling. Others may be able to do well with relaxation techniques. But if your anger seems to tip the scale toward explosive or uncontrollable, you may need a physician to prescribe the appropriate medication.
In an ideal world, control and management of anger is better done without medication. But if it becomes the main influence to your behavior and it compromises your cardiovascular health, it’s time to seek professional medical advice.
According to the DSM-5 or the World Health Organizations ICD-10 manual, a person’s anger is not an official diagnosis. This means the FDA has not approved any medication for anger issues. What your doctor can prescribe are medicines to treat the following conditions, which could cause anger:
- Bipolar disorder
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
These underlying conditions may be managed through:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (e.g., citalopram fluoxetine and sertraline)
Midazolam and lorazepam
Lithium, olanzapine and risperidone
Every medication will come with risks and side effects, and each person’s condition is different. So it’s vital for your health to seek medical advice. The right doctor or therapist will come up with a treatment option involving medication that’s tailored to your anger issues.
What Body Organ is Affected by Anger?
Strong emotions have a corresponding physical impact. When it comes to happiness, it’s the heart. When it comes to fear, it’s kidneys and the heart. When it comes to anger, it’s the liver, heart, lungs and the brain. Prolonged periods of anger will weaken your immune system, raising your cortisol levels, blood pressure and adrenaline. A weakened immune system exposes you to infections.
An explosion of anger may also lead to, potentially, brain aneurysm or heart attack. On the other hand, not being able to express your anger could affect your state of mind and aggravate stress. Passive anger has been linked to depression, which creates a whole other slew of health problems.
In all, unchecked and unmanaged anger not only diminishes the quality of life but shortens it as well.
Control, Don’t Suppress Your Anger
Anger management is part of looking after your mental health. In a time when the world doesn’t seem to be headed in a good direction, it’s natural to feel the frustration, a loss of control and faith. It’s healthy to express your emotions, even when you feel it may not be received well.
When you do express anger, make sure it’s well within reason. Is there is a benefit to expressing it? Will it lead to a healthy outcome?
If you want to take a temperature of your anger arousal and spectrum, the multidimensional anger test could be a good start.