Please Explain: Anger

Friday, April 01, 2011

Anger is one of the forces that has sparked protests across the Middle East, from Egypt to Libya to Syria. It can be a motivating force, but it can also be destructive and damaging when it goes unchecked. On this week’s Please Explain, we’re taking a look at the roots and consequences of anger. Dr. Philip Muskin, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, and Dr. Howard Kassinove, Professor of Psychology and Director, Institute for the Study and Treatment of Anger and Aggression, and author of Anger Management: The Complete Treatment Guidebook for Practitioners and Anger Management for Everyone, explain when anger becomes a problem and how anger management works.  


Dr. Philip Muskin and Dr. Howard Kassinove
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Comments [24]


Every form of anger can only be controlled by Christ Jesus. That is why we need to surrender totally to His Lordship. He is the only one that has the solution to any form of anger as we can imagine.Give Jesus a chance to diagonise your heart and you will be glad you did. Is your anger bringing shame and persons tend to isolate you, the doctor is just by the side meet Jesus now, testimony becomes yours.

May. 13 2011 10:34 AM
cyn from nyc


Apr. 02 2011 01:50 AM
Cynthia from PI, nyc


Forever I've quipped, "Dysthymia, thy name is Cynthia."

In my world, anger is a good day.

I think your guest will get this.

Apr. 02 2011 01:38 AM
Louis from Bayside

Yes we should not repress anger as that is obviously unhealthy but expression of anger is just as destructive as it hurts others. That the doctor perscribed verbalizing anger as a solution is awful advice. The degree to which you are angry will determine the degree to which you hurt someone. The real solution is to have a change of heart which cannot be found in a chemical in the brain...

Apr. 01 2011 02:02 PM
telegram sam from Staten Island

He just lost me. My generation (40 years old) grew up on violent cartoons, video games, movies, and TV and yet crime, including assault and murder, has never been lower. Why aren't we all running around constantly acting out?

Apr. 01 2011 01:58 PM

What does testerone have an effect on anger

Apr. 01 2011 01:57 PM
Meredith from Brooklyn

Is there a chemical difference between being angry at yourself vs being angry at others? What is a good exercise to get over being angry at yourself?

Apr. 01 2011 01:57 PM
Meredith from Brooklyn

Is there a chemical difference between being angry at yourself vs being angry at others? What is a good exercise to get over being angry at yourself?

Apr. 01 2011 01:55 PM
Louis from Bayside

How does one drowning person help another?

Apr. 01 2011 01:55 PM

Anger from high self esteem or from high ego seems quite different.

Apr. 01 2011 01:55 PM
Julie from Harlem

Could you please talk about the role of antidepressant withdrawal and anger?

Last year while traveling overseas I was suddenly cut off from Zoloft (Sertraline) and Welbutrin (Bupropion). It took about a month for me to get this straightened out, but during that time I had severe bouts of anxiety and was constantly getting into (verbal) fights.

Apr. 01 2011 01:54 PM

Why are today's conservative so angry? In the 60s & 70s, the liberals were angry. Is it because the new generation of young people were raised with an unrealistic notion of entitlement? Or are they frustrated because the "conservative" leaders in the US and Europe have made so many promises that they can't deliver?

Apr. 01 2011 01:53 PM
Louis from Bayside

Do these doctors think the mind is created by the brain? I feel anger in my heart not in my head (not the muscle that pumps blood -- my heart chakra). Although the body and mind are obviously related wouldn't it be better to address the causes of anger which are to be found in the mind itself. Love and anger are felt in the heart so this sounds like a heady approach to matters of the heart.

Apr. 01 2011 01:52 PM
Jack from Manhattan

What is the best ways to try to control anger?

Apr. 01 2011 01:52 PM
Laura from Princeton

As an adult adoptee, I have found many adoptees have a difficult time expressing anger because there is a visceral fear of experiencing rejection and adoptees start life with a rejection from the biological family that trigger feelings of physical vulnerability. As an adult, this physical vulnerability is no longer such a threat, but the memory of the threat experienced as an infant can provoke powerful emotions throughout the life of an adoptee and anger is often suppressed since adoptees might link expressing anger with rejection from another person. What are ways to appropriately and safely express anger and decouple anger from physical vulnerability? How can we retrain the brain as adults to encourage healthier forms of emotional expression?

Apr. 01 2011 01:51 PM
Belle from Brooklyn

I would respectfully disagree, a healthy high self esteem has no need to control others and or others opinions of him/her...I also would like to add that I feel anger has to do with control, this was not yet mentioned.

Apr. 01 2011 01:50 PM
Steph from Chapel Hill

Can your guests talk about impulsiveness, the internet, and anger. I find that many people tend to post horrible things out of initial anger, but would not say these things if faced with other people. Have any studies been done on the whether the internet exacerbates anger or acts as a release.
Thank you.

Apr. 01 2011 01:48 PM

I had a stroke a number of years ago. Within a couple of weeks I was talking with someone and when they said something that irritated me and all of a sudden I just exploded for no reason and felt like I lost control. I felt like someone had laid a white hot piece of metal across my back. I almost never got mad and this was completely out of character. This occurred 10-15 times and then I returned to "normal".

Apr. 01 2011 01:48 PM
Olivia Koppell from Bronx, NY

Can you please comment on the role of the mass media in our culture - which it seems to me rewards anger and aggression - look at the TV shows, movies, even ads that have such violence in them. Kids are being given angry role models.

Apr. 01 2011 01:46 PM
Louis from Bayside

How could anger be a positive motivating force if it views its object as intrinsically bad? Where can you go from there? To me it only seems like retaliation follows. Just because a subset don't result in visible agression doesn't mean there aren't subtler forms of retaliation such as not speaking to a person or the verbal zinger.

Apr. 01 2011 01:46 PM

In the parking space example, my anger comes from disappointment, sadness, and incomprehension that another human being would be deliberately rude. It is an intense feeling. Especially since I feel helpless---I can't force people to be decent!
I think powerlessness is involved in a lot of anger situations, actually. Feeling manipulated or deceived, miscommunication with a loved one, etc.---they all involve feelings of not being entirely in control.

Apr. 01 2011 01:44 PM
CBrown from Brooklyn

I took a philosophy class on anger when I was in college. The professor, John Giles Milhaven, argued that anger was a positive force, but it was an expression of self-esteem, that you are reacting to, in the words of Seneca, an offense against our sense of 'excellence,' that we get angry at those who are somehow treating us worse than we feel we should be treated. One would have no reason to become angry if you had low self-esteem, and didn't feel worthy of respect or consideration.

Apr. 01 2011 01:39 PM
Tara from Jersey City

Hi Lenny,

Can you do a please explain on "mattresses." What is the best thing to sleep on.


Apr. 01 2011 01:24 PM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Fairfax Cty, VA

Why are today's liberals so angry? In the 60s & 70s, the conservatives were angry. Is it because the new generation of young people were raised with an unrealistic notion of entitlement? Or are they frustrated because the "liberal" leaders in the US and Europe have made so many promises that they can't deliver?

As for "anger" in Mideast dictatorships, that is certainly understandable, but don't mistake indigenous anger for the demonstrations which were orchestrated by professionals in the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qa'ida for the sole purpose of creating Islamic states.

Apr. 01 2011 12:29 PM

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