Home Health Constant anger may predispose people to hypertension, stroke – Psychiatrists warn

Constant anger may predispose people to hypertension, stroke – Psychiatrists warn

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Constant anger may predispose people to hypertension, stroke – Psychiatrists warn

Mental health experts have said getting angry at the slightest provocation heightens the risk of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and stroke, especially in those who are already living with health conditions that affect their cardiovascular system.
The experts said anger could affect both the physical and mental health of individuals who are in the habit of getting angry always.

The psychiatrists noted that anger could affect the immune system and the mind, which might lead to slow recovery from some general illness, including malaria.

Further drawing attention to the health risks of anger, the mental health experts, during an exclusive interview with PUNCH Healthwise, noted that anger could predispose an individual to depression and anxiety disorder.

According to the American Psychological Association, anger is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something when deliberately wronged.

A Senior Registrar in Psychiatry at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Samuel Aladejare, said when someone is angry, the body will work under stress.

The expert, who is also the Lagos Regional Coordinator of the Asido Foundation, noted that anger can create negative ripple effects throughout the body.

According to him, anger is a secondary emotion, adding that there are other underlying issues that result in anger.
Dr. Aladejare, said people get angry for different reasons, which might include disappointment, rejection and being overwhelmed by circumstances around them.

“A number of factors usually underline anger. Some people feel may feel disrespected and get angry.  Anger in itself is not a primary emotion; it is usually a secondary emotion, meaning there are issues behind it.

“It is important to know this because when we start talking about the solutions and how these things could be controlled, then we have to go back to those primary emotions or primary factors that underline anger as emotion itself”,  he said.

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Giving insight into the health implications of anger, Aladejare stated, “When something happens to people and they get angry, the natural response comes from the brain.

“Everything that we do comes from the brain, even the emotion of anger is signalled by the brain and when that happens, there will be certain chemicals or hormones that will be released.

“These stress hormones will prepare the rest of the body for stress.  They start from the brain and then send a signal to the kidneys, which now release the stress hormone called cortisol into the system.

“Also, you have the body becoming warmer because blood will come towards the surface of the body. So, you have the blood pumping much faster.”

Dr. Aladejare further disclosed that the heart will be working faster within the time, making the person to breathe faster than usual.

“So you virtually have the whole body on overdrive. The areas that are supposed to relax will take a back seat as the stress response is taking place.

“The eventual effect of this is that it will increase pressure in the brain and the person may be feeling dizzy after some time. The person could have a headache for showing that emotion.

“When this happens more frequently, there could be constant headaches, pressure in the head, and pain around the eyes.  Then you can have conditions like hypertension coming up because anger shoots up the blood pressure”, he said.

The psychiatrist further pointed out that anger could worsen the outcome of people with breathing problems, adding, “People that already have breathing issues like asthma, could be triggered by anger.

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“Anger could lead to more serious health issues like stroke. Again, there is a general link between the body and the mind, such that a healthy mind could help the body even when it is sick.

“So, in conditions like depression, for instance, it had been shown that the whole immune system reacts as if it is fighting an infection.  So, if the mind is constantly in that angry state, the person could be susceptible to various illnesses as well.

“The person may not heal quickly from any general illness. It might take the person a long time to get well because their state of mind is not settled.”

He also said that persistent anger could cause sleep problems, adding that anger is a risk factor for heart attack.
On how to prevent it, Dr. Aladejare advised people not to always react quickly to issues but to take time to reflect on them before reacting.

According to him, it is a personal therapy that one can adopt.
The expert also said regular exercise could help those with anger problems, noting that exercise loosens the body and releases good chemicals.

“Regular exercise makes a person become less irritable. Exercise is another of making the body less stressed. People should listen to music and take out time to relax. Adequate sleep is also important”, he advised.

Dr. Aladejare also suggested that people should seek help from mental health experts when the anger is getting to a point where it affects their work, relationships and people around them.
Another Psychiatrist, Dr. Oluwatoba Babarinsa, said anger has been associated with a personality disorder.

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He said anger was linked to high-risk trauma from childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Dr. Babarinsa, who is a Psychiatry Resident at Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, said although anger has not yet been found to be hereditary, adoption studies have shown that there could be a genetic predisposition to anger, as it has been found that children of parents that often exhibit anger will also turn out to be angry always.

The psychiatrist observed that alcohol consumption and drug abuse have the tendency to induce anger as well.
He noted that anger is destructive but can be channelled into positive venture like using it to fight crime.

“Anger is abnormal when it is unprovoked and out of proportion. There are lots of stimulants in our environment that can induce anger, even alcohol is associated with anger. Alcohol and other substances have been implicated strongly as causes of anger. ”

The American Psychological Association says people use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings.
“Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behaviour.

“Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure or depression”, the association stated.
 

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