Anger cases on the rise among city's youth

Anger cases on the rise among city's youth

Life is particularly stressful for those between 17 and 35, and many are seeking help to keep their rage in check, doctors say

A road rage scene in Bengaluru. Behavioural health professionals say anger management cases in the city have risen by up to 50 per cent over the past decade. DH Photo

On Sunday, a call centre employee stabbed a shopkeeper to death near Mahalakshmi Layout.

The provocation? Shopkeeper Manjunath had sprinkled water on the road, and Akash, 24, riding a Royal Enfield to work for an early morning shift, skidded and fell.

Akash, who had partied the previous night, got into a scuffle with Manjunath as he insisted the water sprinkled on the road had caused him to skid.

He also stabbed Manjunath’s son and wife, but they were not as grievously injured as Manjunath. Police told DH people in the vicinity had supported Manjunath, and roughed up Akash prior to the stabbing.

This is not an isolated incident. Young people in Bengaluru are increasingly given to violent outbursts, doctors say.

Behavioural health practitioners notice those between 17 and 35 are particularly frustrated and angry. Pratima Murthy, professor of psychiatry, Nimhans, says more anger-related cases are being reported than ever before.

“There is aggression towards property and damage of property, but the aggression towards people is rising. Road rage is triggered by incidents such as overtaking, and violent incidents at toll booths are common now. We often get cases of individuals who need anger management as part of alcohol dependency,” she says.

Psychiatrists talk about two stages of anger--trait anger and state anger.

“Trait anger refers to people prone to getting angry, while state anger refers to reactions to situations provocative at a particular point. We see manifestations of both,” Pratima

“Anger can also be a manifestation of severe interpersonal hostility. Young adults between 17 and 35 are the angriest lot. For them, anger is triggered by anything from waiting in a line to not being served immediately,” she observes.

Dr Pallavi Arvind Joshi, consultant psychiatrist, Columbia Asia Hospital, notes that anger is a common reaction when one suffers from anxiety or depression.

More than 70 to 80 per cent of all patients experience anger management problems, she adds.

“In any situation where one is not happy, anger is the manifestation of frustration. Anger is commonly seen among individuals who feel helpless in situations, or suffer from personality disorders and are addicted to substance abuse. Often, addressing the underlying reason helps overcome anger too,” she says.

Not all cases she treats are directly related to anger. Only 5 to 10 per cent seek help for anger management. Companies send employees for treatment, and couples seek help to douse domestic conflagrations.

“There is effective medication for anger regulation and certain steps must be followed to destress,” she says. Stress is an inevitable part of urban culture and striking a balance is essential. She agrees young people, especially those between 20 and 25, tend to be angry and frustrated.

“They need to ask themselves if they are socialising well and are spiritual enough to strike a balance,” she says.

Patients with improper sleep patterns also tend to fly into a rage, says Ayesha Manappat, psychologist, Aster CMI Hospital.

“Youngsters are generally rude nowadays and think it is normal. Most anger-related crimes are committed by 17 to 27-year-olds. About 80 per cent of the cases we see are connected to anger,” she says.

Given a chance, they complain about their parents and everything around them, she rues. A majority of her patients are college students and young techies.

Stress caused by the graveyard shift and lack of sleep makes it hard for individuals to cope with day-to-day activity. Ayesha observes that over the past decade, anger-related cases have gone up by about 40 per cent.

Of all the cases that Dr Ravi Prakash, psychiatrist, Prakash Psychiatry and Psychology Clinic, Mathikere, addresses, about 30 per cent needed anger management.

“From road rage to stress outbursts at work, the cases vary. Young couples and employees being directed by their companies to get help are common. My patients are between 20 and 35 years,” he says.

He estimates the rise in anger-related cases in the past decade is 50 per cent rise. ‘That is alarming,” he says. 

However, by his reckoning, young people in Bengaluru are less angry than their counterparts in Delhi and other Indian metros.

Some recent cases
A cab driver followed and abused singer Vasundhara Das as she did not let him take a right turn at a signal. Another cab driver slapped a techie on Sarjapur
Road when she complained to a traffic cop about how he was disrupting
traffic movement. Three men attacked the driver of a Kerala-bound bus near Jnanabharati railway station, angry that they were not allowed to overtake.

A 15-year-old boy was beaten by up for coming in the way when four boys
were taking a selfie atop a hill at Chikkajala. The driver of a water tanker assaulted a 43-yearold techie on the Marathahalli bridge.  The techie was nvolved
in an accident and that led to a traffic block.

Angry, are you?
Here are tips that help you manage your rage:

  • Get regular physical exercise: it release endorphins and helps channel negative energy.
  • Increase milk and nuts in diet.
  • When extremely angry, have a glass of cold water.
  • Before reacting to a situation energy catharsis is advised: Go for a fast walk or try kickboxing with a pillow.
  • Write out an email or message to the person you are angry with, pause, and take a walk. In 10 to 15 minutes, ask yourself if you still want to send the message.
  • Maintain a journal. Write down what triggers anger for you. Accept things that can’t be changed.  

Most frustrated

  • Those who work irregular shifts and are sleep-deprived.
  • Techies and executives who can’t take criticism at work.
  • People too impatient to stand in queues or wait to be served.
  • Professionals who can’t get along with their colleagues.
  • Young people who find their spouses annoying.