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Understanding ‘Snaps’ Of Rage

  Anger Issues can rear their head in many different ways. Often buried in our day-to-day life, they can emerge on the road, during a night out or even at the workplace. Though many people brush off these sudden bursts of emotion, the “snaps” (as they are often called) could be the sign of a bigger internal struggle. Recently The Independent delved into the science behind losing control, using a writer who has overcome his own rage and found tools to cope.   R. Douglas Fields openly spoke of his own anger issues throughout the Independent article. Outside of being a writer, he is also an acclaimed neuroscientist; proving that rage can strike anyone across any profession. Fields described several incidents from his past, including one where violently attacked a man he believed had wronged him.   “I am a neuroscientist,” he starts off writing. “And after witnessing my violent reflexes explode without conscious deliberation, I was propelled on a quest to understand the disturbing behavior of suddenly ‘snapping’ aggressively – to freeze that moment in time and look inside the brain to find out what is happening when sudden rage erupts without conscious control.”   Going back to his scientific training, Fields revealed that neural circuits may be to blame for snaps of sudden anger. Calling out the hypothalamus region of the brain, he likened certain stimulations to what an animal may do when it’s feeling threatened. It is essentially an unconscious reaction that can result in violence and extreme tension. Fields goes on to say that environmental factors may play a big part in it all, using traffic frustration and road rage as an example.   Fields believes that the modern world can set off many triggers for snaps of rage. And if you happen to be dealing with unresolved emotional issues or addiction problems, those senses can be heightened. Essentially the more inner tension that is built up, the more of a chance of an explosion.   “The modern world – with all its increasing congestion, hectic pace, stress and constant bombardment of our senses with arousing stimuli – puts our brain’s threat-detection mechanism on high alert, making it more likely to go off in response to a trivial provocation,” Fields added. “Alcohol, drugs and mental illnesses that the brain never encountered until recently all act on the brain’s threat-detection circuitry, releasing the brakes on our rage circuit. You can see why people seem to be angrier and more violent – snapping in anger every 20 minutes or so on the road, and at other times throughout our day.”   So yes, science certainly plays a big role in it all. But dealing with the inner triggers can also be extremely beneficial when it comes to avoiding sudden snaps. Our advice is to always seek out help, if you feel your anger issues are getting out of control.