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anger and depression

How anger and irritability can disguise depression

Anger is such a weird emotion and it's totally not anger's fault. It's just existing for valid reasons but shows up when we feel like it shouldn't. The thing with anger is that in many cases it acts as a coat for an underlying emotion hiding that for some reason or another isn't ready to be revealed.

But sometimes anger is hiding something bigger than a fleeting emotion. Emma McAdam, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and host of the YouTube channel, Therapy in a Nutshell, posted a video explaining how anger and irritability can actually be a symptom of depression.

The video really breaks down how the media portrays depression versus some of the lesser known symptoms of depression. When people think of depression, they often imagine someone that's extremely sad all the time and struggling to do basic skills. But depression can show up hidden behind other symptoms like irritability, insomnia, loss of appetite, and lack of focus.


"Depression isn't just feeling sad. It's a whole body experience that can impact every aspect of your life," McAdam says.

The therapist points to research that shows that rage or anger is reported by 30% to 40% of people as part of their depressive symptoms. With one researcher even going as far as calling the anger people feel with their depression as anger attacks. One of the reasons McAdam lists for anger showing up in people with depression is externalization.

"Some people externalize these feelings, so instead of pointing their pain inward they project it outward onto other people and situations, McAdam reveals. "It can feel really comforting to blame others for your pain."

"So when depression shows up as anger or irritability, it's often because the person is grappling with these feelings of despair or worthlessness, and the way they manage these feelings is through hostility or aggression," she adds later.

Watch the video below to learn more: