Anger is a complicated concept that is not very well understood by many. Anger can be negative as well as positive in certain circumstances. Everyone has experienced anger in their life time it is impossible to avoid. The management of anger is where it can cause problems. The term anger has been around for a very long time, and there is a scale to measure how angry someone is. When anger is better understood more resources will be available. It is in everyone’s best interest that more research be done to understand anger and how it affects the human body and one’s health.
Historical to Current Perspectives
Anger has been around since the evolution of the species. According to Merriam-Webster the word anger originates in the 14th century from Middle English. “Anger is a residue of our biological past, which under more civilized circumstances we can control only imperfectly” (Averill, 1983). Anger is expressed by facial expressions, body language, and acts of aggression verbally or physically. Ancient Greek philosophers, Galen and Seneca thought anger as a kind of madness. “A common medieval belief was that those prone to anger had an excess of yellow bile or choler” (Anger n.d. Reference.com). Anger was attributed to witch craft, and possession from the devil. People were expected to repress their anger. If anger was expressed uncontrollably people were shunned, isolated, or even punished. Rituals and exorcisms were sometimes performed. Trephination was performed on persons viewed as mentally ill. Trephination is drilling a whole into the skull to release evil spirits. Sometimes even lobotomies were performed to heal the patient. “Psychotropic drugs were not available until the 1950s” (Faria, 2013).
During periods of recalling anger, the amygdala reacts then the orbital frontal cortex tries to stop the reaction of anger. People who have high levels of anger have physiological changes in their brain. “Participants with high trait anger, regardless of anger expression style, display higher left frontal asymmetry than participants low in trait anger” (Stewart, Levin, Sass, Heller & Miller, 2008).
In 1988, Spielberger invented the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory also known as STAI, (Azevedo, Wang, Goulart, Lotufo & Bensenor, 2010). This is a combination of two different scales placed together to create five separate subscales including state anger, trait anger, anger in, anger out, and anger control. The STAXI scale measures the frequency anger is expressed. The test involves 44 items rated on a four point scale. This scale has been used in several studies assessing cardiovascular disease.
Currently, anger is not a diagnosis in the DSM-IV. Numerous researchers deem anger be a DSM diagnosis. The most common management of anger is cognitive behavior therapy. Exposure techniques have shown promise in helping people cope with their anger. “Systematic desensitization and anger management...