Anger Management In Action: Handling Anger on the Road

Road Rage 3Anger on the road is seen everywhere! Could road anger be a medical condition?

Headline: “Road Rage may be due to medical condition called Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)”

What is the science behind this?
The study, reported in the June (2006) issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry was based on a national face-to-face survey of 9,282 U.S. adults who answered diagnostic questionnaires in 2001-03. It was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Results? About 5 percent to 7 percent of the nationally representative sample had had the disorder, which would equal up to 16 million Americans. That is higher than better-known mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The average number of lifetime attacks per person was 43, resulting in $1,359 in property damage per person. About 4 percent had suffered recent attacks. Many of these anger attacks violated both civil and criminal laws.

Is it real?
This study has created much controversy regarding exactly what is “medical” about angry road rage and how it differs from plain bad, inconsiderate behavior. Undoubtedly, criminal defense attorneys will be arguing in both civil and criminal courts that indeed it is a medical condition!

Are all cases like this due to Intermittent Explosive Disorder? Very Unlikely! Some are and some are not. This is why it is important to have a professional assessment of each case of “road rage” to determine the underlying cause, such as IED — or some other problem.

Other causes that could come into play would include: alcohol or drug intoxication, stress, depression or bipolar disorder and, of course, bad, selfish or inconsiderate behavior. A good attorney will refer you to a doctor who specializes in diagnosing mood disorders to determine the specific cause in each situation of apparent road rage.

Road rage vs aggressive driving
The person who weaves in and out of traffic, tail gates, or cuts in front of you may not be showing “road rage” per se, but inconsiderate aggressive driving. He is not angry at you; he probably doesn’t even know you exist, being preoccupied with his own selfish needs.

IED seen in other life areas
It is also important to remember that persons who do indeed suffer from Intermittent Explosive Disorder may explode in many other situations besides road rage. Often they “blow up” at spouses, children, co-workers, or customer service employees.

Remedies for road rage
If road rage is indeed due to IED, there are two treatments that can help both adolescents and adults: (1)medications , and (2) cognitive training. The medications usually involve SSRIs (a type of anti-depressant). In my opinion, most people who show rage on the road do not need medication, but some do and will benefit greatly from them.

Cognitive Training means learning to think differently about driving, aggression on the road, and other drivers including knowing some of the 22 home remedies for ringworm. Cognitive training is an important element in many anger management programs, which a few states now require for “road rage” behavior and/or aggressive driving.

Some anger management classes and programs teach specific cognitive and behavior skills to control aggressive, inconsiderate, and dangerous driving behaviors. These skill include:
Managing life stress better, including time-management skills.developing empathy for other drivers, learning healthy “self-talk” phrases, and adjusting expectations of others on the road.

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Aggressive Response Triggers More Road Rage

According to new research published by the Response Insurance Company:

Fully one-half of drivers who are subjected to aggressive driving behavior on the road respond with aggression of their own, thus risking a more serious confrontation.

when a driver gets the finger, is cut off or tailgated, 50% of the victims respond with horn honking, yelling, cutting-off, and obscene gestures of their own.

“Road rage is a two-way street,” noted Ray Palermo, director of public relations for Response Insurance. “It takes two people to fight. So, if you are subjected to aggressive driving, often the best way to ensure it does not get any worse is to just ignore it.” You can read more about this here www.firststepdetox.com

Download a free podcast on how to deal with road rage and aggressive driving by clicking here.

Road Rage Website Bad idea

Want to give an “award” to a good driver?

How about warning a driver that his/her driving is rude or dangerous?

Maybe you just want to flirt with someone you saw on the road.

Perhaps you want to report to someone that something is wrong with their vehicle which is causing a physical hazard.

All this is now possible at www.platewire.com.
It works by your posting their license plate number on the website and then sending one of the above in a message called a “wire.”

We think it is generally a bad idea (although the “award” part might be a good idea) because it is always better to allow the proper authorities to handle bad or dangerous driving issues, rather than taking matters into your own hand. After all, you never know who you’re dealing with out there(so you might be putting yourself in danger).

Also, holding on to your anger until you get to a computer to make a report is not good for you.

Better to ignore dangerous or rude drivers and simply get on with your life. Even if you post something negative about someone, chances are they won’t see themselves as the problem; research shows most aggressive drivers think the other guy is at fault.

Instead, we recommend you relax, listen to music, don’t make eye contact, avoid making hostile or rude gestures toward them, and think rational thoughts.

Click here for free article on other ways to handle road rage and aggressive drivers.

The AngerCoach Show – Episode 2 Aggressive Driving & Road Rage

This month’s episode deals with aggressive driving and road rage. Aggressive driving not only endangers people’s lives, but puts immense stress on our relationships with others. We talk about practical ways individuals can reduce stress and calm down while on the road, as well as ways of mitigating road related disagreements.

We host Dr. Leon James from the University of Hawaii. Dr. James is an expert in the phsycology of driving behavior and now serves on the Govenor’s Impaired Driving Task Force. You can contact Dr. James online at www.drdriving.org.

Please note: This anger program and these anger tips are not meant to substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or advice. If you have intense, serious or chronic anger problems, or you have to deal with someone else who does, you should immediately consult a mental health or medical professional for help.

Road Rage to Work Sets Negative Tone For Day

A new survey puiblished by CareerBuilder.com confirms what we have suspected for a long time: most commuters admit to experiencing road rage while traveling to and from work.

This may include yelling, horn-honking, and hand gestures which give your estimation of the IQ of the other driver!

The survey, based on more than 2200 workers from June 6th-June 16th, 2006, showed that 59% of workers said they had road rage during their commute.

This frustration and anger obviously sets a negative tone for the work day and causes 20% of workers to say that they would take a job with a pay cut in exchange for a shorter distance between their home and their workplace.

Rather than arriving at your workplace upset and stessed, try the following tactics to reduce your angry feelings:

1. Give yourself more commute time. Leaving 15 minutes earlier can save a lot of stress.

2. Ignore bad drivers on the road. You may become upset because of your expectations of the drivers – try to accept that some people are just bad, rude, or inconsiderate drivers.

3. Don’t take bad driving by others personally. It has nothing to do with you as a person.

4. Try to shift your attention elsewhere. Listen to music or to talk radio.

Aggressive Driving Has High Costs

News item: “A 32-year-old Payson man learned that lesson the hard way Sunday. He was driving down a street in Orem (Utah) with his wife and children when he exchanged angry words with a local man. The Orem man pursued the family and tailgated their Chevy Suburban. In the heat of the moment, the Payson man stomped on the brakes. In the collision, his wife suffered neck injuries. Both men were cited for reckless driving and disorderly conduct.”

As this news story illustrates, the cost is often very high to losing one’s temper and not controlling anger on the road and elsewhere.

Costs can be calculated in financial as well as emotional and social terms. This man has to live with the fact that he injured his wife and probably traumatized his children.He also has to live with himself and perhaps his lowered self-esteem.

As we teach in our anger management classes, aggressive driving is often a “dance” with both parties participating and thus escalating each other’s anger.

Rather than “dancing,” it is better to ignore the poor driving of the other person rather than retaliating. Hostility begets more hostility, as this driver found out.

A very useful anger management tool to use in these situation is changing “self-talk” to calm oneself down. Self talk allows you to put things in perspective and think rationally rather than emotionally with medisavvy. Click here for a free article on using self-talk and other anger management tools to deal with aggressive driving.