Angry Teenager: A Sign of Hormones or Deeper Issues?

Teens are known for being moody and defiant–to an extent. For most teens, they are testing the limits of their independence and learning how to adapt to hormone changes. Anger is understood as a secondary emotion that is caused by an inability to process uncomfortable primary emotions, like fear and sadness. Your angry teenager may not know how to identify or manage any negative emotions, not just anger. Confronting their anger outbursts may add fuel to the fire, but addressing underlying anger management issues may help them to gain control over their emotions and repair strained relationships.

Is it just a hormonal phase?

Wondering if your anger teenager’s behavior is normal can be a rhetorical question, although it naturally arises as conflict increases. You wonder if you are overreacting or if there’s a reason you should be concerned. Hormone surges during puberty are attributed to intensified emotions and mood swings and most teens lack the emotional intelligence to manage their anger appropriately.  Teens also face a great deal of stress and struggle with making rational decisions. They are more impulsive and rebellious as they try to figure out who they are and who they want to be. They are more likely to get defensive when adults appear judgmental their decisions and try to point them in a different direction. Hormones may make teens more likely to react inappropriately to situations, but consistent outbursts of anger may not just be a phase.

Could there be deeper issues going on?

While teenagers do go through a fair amount of phases, there’s a point where it’s no longer a phase and more of a cause for concern. An angry teenager can grow into an adult with severe anger issues if not properly dealt with. As a secondary emotion, feelings of anger are easier to identify and admit. Teenagers tend to internalize stress rather than dealing with it face-on and that pent up emotion tends to come out sideways when it starts to boil over. They are more likely to look for others to blame, develop a cynical outlook on life, or doubt their own abilities to manage stressful events. Many teens hold onto their anger as part of their identity and avoid digging below the surface, even to understand their own anger.

Signs that your teenager is struggling with anger management issues, not just hormonal changes may include:

  • Frequent aggressive outbursts, including heated arguments, threats of violence, or physical violence
  • General stubbornness and irritability
  • Conflict in personal relationships
  • Frequently expresses hatred toward themselves and others
  • Increased mental health issues, like depression or anxiety
  • Self-destructive behavior

How Elevations Can Help

Elevations RTC is an all gender residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18 that focuses on the intersection of mental health issues and risky and impulsive behaviors. We understand that angry outbursts may be influenced by a variety of underlying issues and use a multidisciplinary approach to address how anger affects their mental health and relationships. We provide intensive psychiatric medical care, educational support, group therapy, and experiential learning to help students learn more about their own behavior and set goals for their personal success. Elevations is relationship-based and emphasizes building social skills and self-esteem to move forward and develop healthier coping skills.

For more information about how Elevations helps teens understand underlying causes of their anger, call . We can help your family today!


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