Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a behavioral condition that affects millions of adults and children. While most members of the public understand that ADHD symptoms include acting impulsively, succumbing to distraction, and being hyperactive, a lot fewer people know that some ofADHD’s less-discussed but equally challenging symptoms include aggressive behavior and outbursts of anger.
The AMA says that about half of the children who have ADHD exhibit at least some hostile or negative behavior. There are a smaller but significant number of children with the disorder who act out aggressively against animals or people, break rules on purpose, and engage in vandalism.
Anger and ADHD is a very significant issue that needs to be dealt with because of the negative behavioral patterns it encourages. Angry behavior can lead to disciplinary action in school, interfering with the educational process and causing poor academic performance. Anger issues also make it harder for ADHD children to socialize normally. Finally, combining impulsive tendencies with a habit of expressing anger destructively is a recipe for a host of self-destructive and dangerous outcomes.
Basically, the other behavioral issues that are common in ADHD sufferers are all serious problems when combined with aggressive tendencies, leading to an increased risk to both the sufferer himself and those around him.
6 Strategies For Better Management Of Aggression And Anger In ADHD Cases
* Know Your Triggers
The first step to retaining control is being familiar with the situations that test it most sorely. Look for common situations, scenarios, and people that tend to lead you to angry thoughts. When you encounter one of the triggers you’ve already identified, respond to it with standard stress relief techniques. Examples could include concentrating on deep breathing, counting to ten, or visualizing a constructive response to your current situation.
* Find A Larger Context
Before you let angry impulses take over, try to stop and ask yourself if it’s going to help anything when you’re looking back on the issue from a greater distance. This is a great place to take time out and look at what events are going to follow on after you react confrontationally and compare them to what will happen if you use a more moderated response.
* Move Your Body
Anger is not just mental; aggressive thoughts cause changes throughout your body chemistry. Most notably, your bloodstream gets flooded with adrenal hormones in anticipation of a “fight or flight” situation. You can get the physical changes under control and get back in balance by indulging in a little exercise. This will also encourage the release of endorphins, a potent class of mood-elevating hormones that are great for wiping out aggressive urges and making you feel like you’re in control again.
* Homeopathics can help
Homeopathic ingredients such as Arsen iod (30C), are an excellent way to promote balance during anger outbursts, plus help suppress annoyance when confronted with emotionally challenging and frustrating circumstances.
* Get More Sleep
For ADHD sufferers of all ages, the struggle with anger issues and aggressive behavior is only made that much more difficult by a lack of sleep. It’s very important for both adult and child ADHD sufferers to get plenty of rest.
* Communicate More
Expressing your emotions violently and bottling your feelings up inside are both very poor coping strategies. Why not deal with your anger by releasing it in a safe setting, speaking to someone you trust to be supportive and non-judgmental? A friend or trusted counselor who can be relied on to listen to your issues and offer you good advice is a tremendous asset for ADHD sufferers.
Open communication isn’t always a useful strategy for childhood ADHD sufferers because they may lack the experience, vocabulary, and / or language skills to communicate their issues in the way that an adult would. There are still therapeutic techniques that can provide a similar constructive “release valve” for negative feelings. Art therapy, which encourages children to draw and paint, is one great example.
Managing the angry impulses that are often a part of ADHD is a definite challenge. Things can become even more difficult for parents and educators if oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is also involved. ODD is primarily characterized by chronic aggressive behavior and premeditated outbursts. A combination of ODD and ADHD usually calls for professional expertise.