The Biological Base of Anger

Research studies indicate that anger and fear may cause certain health issues, particularly those related to the cardiovascular system. In general, anger and fear are normal, healthy emotions. Anxiety is a form of fear that precedes an event and is based on a person’s worst thoughts of what might happen. However some anxiety allows people to perform better during speaking engagements or competitive events. So if it is not paralyzing or overly strong, anxiety can help performance. Anger can also serve people if it is appropriate and not destructive or violent. It warns a person to respond appropriately in dangerous situations and it motivates people to react to personal attacks or threats to their security. Anger challenges individuals to make changes that will help them achieve their goals. Even insults that anger people may actually motivate them to prove the other wrong by engaging in new or different behaviors.
Anger results from the relationship between the limbic system, the center of emotions in the brain, the sympathetic nervous system [SNS], the nervous system that controls the fight, flight, or freeze response, and consciousness, the mechanisms that control how people think about or perceive an event. When the emotional brain receives information from the part of the brain that perceives an impending threat, it sends signals to the body using biochemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemicals tell the body to respond to the threat. When the SNS gets the message it responds by eliciting the “fight or flight” response and triggering the release of hormones, such as adrenaline and norepinephrine, into the bloodstream.This internal flood of hormones is labeled by the brain as anger, fear, or both, and interpreted in a manner that causes people to fight to protect their lives or their beliefs.