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Bipolar and Why I'm So Angry All the Time

November 22, 2023 Natasha Tracy

Some people with bipolar seem like they're so angry. Sometimes, I'm one of those people. I don't take this feeling out on other people, but that doesn't mean I don't feel the anger intensely. Let's discuss why bipolar makes me so angry.

Bipolar Making People So Angry

Some studies show people with bipolar disorder are aggressive compared to others.1 This isn't quite the same as angry, per se, but it can feel very similar. Some researchers also say that anger itself "is a prominent clinical feature of bipolar disorder."2

I've heard people with bipolar themselves often say they're angry and sometimes even fly into rages. Those around people with bipolar disorder confirm this is true.

Irritability is also a specific symptom of mood states like mania and hypomania

None of this answers why people with bipolar disorder are so angry, but it does show that they are.

Bipolar Makes Me So Angry

For me, bipolar and anger are inexorably linked. Anger, irritation, and aggression usually hit me after I've been awake for a few hours. I find myself frustrated with everything, to the point of actually growling at my computer. I live and work alone, so this isn't a problem for anyone else, but that doesn't make it comfortable for me. I find all the anger with bipolar grates against my soul. It's wrong. It's not me. And yet, it surrounds me.

Why Are People with Bipolar So Angry?

There are so many possibilities as to why people with bipolar disorder are so angry. Here are a few:

  • Anger may be innate to bipolar disorder and worsened by things like substance abuse, which is common in those with bipolar.3
  • Anger may be related to a comorbid condition a person has (like borderline personality disorder).
  • Anger may be related to a mood state like hypomania or mania.
  • Anger may be a side effect of medication. 
  • A person may feel angry that they have bipolar disorder and about the effects bipolar is having on their lives.
  • Depression may be manifesting as anger.

And those reasons are just off the top of my head. In short, there may be many reasons a person with bipolar disorder is so angry.

I think I'm angry for a combination of reasons. I think it's partially the medications, partially an innate trait because of bipolar, and partially because being angry just seems easier than being depressed all the time. The thing about anger is that it comes with energy that I can use to do things, as opposed to depression, which comes with a lack thereof. This makes anger useful. 

I hate that I find anger useful. I hate that I need it to get anything done.

How do you find anger in bipolar disorder?

Sources

  1. Látalová, K. (2009). Bipolar disorder and aggression. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 63(6), 889–899. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-1241.2009.02001.x

  2. Dutra, S. J., Reeves, E., Mauss, I. B., & Gruber, J. (2014). Boiling at a different degree: An investigation of trait and state anger in remitted bipolar I disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 168, 37–43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2014.06.044

  3. Preuss, U. W., Schaefer, M., Born, C., & Grunze, H. (2021). Bipolar Disorder and Comorbid Use of Illicit Substances. Medicina, 57(11). https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57111256

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2023, November 22). Bipolar and Why I'm So Angry All the Time, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2023/11/bipolar-and-why-im-so-angry-all-the-time



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

James
January, 5 2024 at 6:17 pm

I have Bipolar. The criteria did not include much about anger, per se, so in my search I found your site. I also used anger for the energy as well. I used to have the amusing thought that I was “tapping into the dark side of the Force.” I found that I would ruminate so much that it became out of control and would make me irritable all day and every day. It ruined some relationships. I would overreact to percieved slights with anger as well. For some time I thought I might have borderline. My psychiatrist ultimately did talk to me about my anger and “small” mood swings and said it was part of bipolar.

Ema
December, 19 2023 at 2:03 pm

Hi Natasha
I hate it too. I feel like anger turns me into a monster. I'm not around people most of the time (I work online), so it doesn't affect anyone but me. I'm sad about my lack of control over anger. It often comes from frustration with some technical problem I encounter.
I live it as a failure to rise above the pettiness of it all.
My only consolation is that usually, it doesn't last long!
Ephesians 4:26-27 MSG
Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry.

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