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Anger is a feeling that can range from mild irritation to intense annoyance to rage. It may be a natural response when possible harm is anticipated or when another person has done something wrong or harmful.  Unaddressed anger can lead to problems such as frequent arguments, road rage, poor thinking and decision making, and work problems. Anger at home could even evolve into domestic violence to include child abuse.

Anger, especially chronic or long-lasting anger, can lead to physical health problems, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • High cholesterol
  • Chronic pain
  • Heart disease
  • Stomach problems
  • Muscle pain and joint problems
  • Early death

Steps towards anger management:

  1. Learn the differences between anger and aggression. People often confuse anger with aggression. Anger is an emotion, where as aggression is a behavior. It is possible for someone to experience anger without behaving aggressively. Aggressive behavior includes things like verbal threats or physical violence. Aggressive behavior tells people, “My feelings are more important than yours.”
  2. Understand the three phases of aggression.
    • The Escalation Phase: During the escalation phase, anger is building. Cues or warning signs that indicate that anger is building include; physical sensations, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
    • The Explosion Phase: During the explosion phase, anger is released in the form of verbal or physical aggression.
    • The Post-Explosion Phase: The post-explosion phase involves the negative outcomes that have resulted from the behavior that occurred during the explosion phase.
  3. Having an anger control plan. This can help you manage anger effectively by preventing the anger from reaching the explosion phase. An anger control plan includes tips and tools, such as:
  • Awareness of cues or warning signs that indicate anger is building.
  • An Anger Meter, which is to monitor anger levels with zero being calm and ten being out of control.
  • Taking a time-out until you can manage your anger.
  • Learning about and using relaxation techniques to stop and reverse the escalation of anger.
  • Talking to helpful “coaches” to share your thoughts and feelings you had when angry.

How do you know if you have anger control issues? When should you consider getting help from a health care professional? If you’re concerned about symptoms you’ve been having, consider taking the self-assessment for anger.  It’s an anonymous tool that provides results and recommendations for next steps and includes some self-help materials, along with other resources.

Welcome to the Anger Assessment

Completing this questionnaire should take about five minutes. When you've completed the assessment, your results will be returned along with some resources you're sure to find helpful.

Because your privacy is of utmost importance, we do not collect any personal health information (PHI). For more information about the use of PHI and your personal privacy, please visit the Defense Privacy, Civil Liberties, and Transparency Division of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Important Note

While this tool can help you determine if you need additional help, only a health care professional can provide an accurate diagnosis.

Please check, "I Acknowledge" below to confirm that you have read and understand these statements as they have been presented to you.

I often find myself getting angry at people or situations.

When I get angry, I get really mad.

When I get angry, I stay angry.

When I get angry at someone, I want to hit or clobber the person.

My anger interferes with my ability to get my work done.

My anger prevents me from getting along with people as well as I would like to.

My anger has a bad effect on my health.

Your score is in a range typically associated with low anger.

Your responses do not reflect unhealthy anger.


If you think that anger could be getting in the way of work, school, or enjoying life:

  • Consult with your health care provider if you have questions (or find a doctor on the TRICARE website).
  • For immediate help, visit the Veteran Crisis Line for text support or call 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1).
  • Learn about other health issues that often relate to anger: stress, sleep, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and substance use. For help calming your mind, listen to the “Military Meditation Coach” podcast to try a variety of meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation exercises.

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

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