A hungry man, they say, is an angry man! Though there's abundant evidence that indicates that moderate expression of anger has a survival value, one may not be far from the truth to suggest that chronic or extreme anger is one of the greatest enemy of humanity in this present highly sophisticated technological world. But, the "Doubting Thomases" may still ask, " What is anger?"  The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines the nomenclature "anger" as "a strong feeling of wanting to harm or criticize someone because they have done something unfair, cruel, offensive etc."


Anger expressions are varied and common in every nook and cranny of our society in recent times. Violent crimes such as terrorism, armed robbery, cyber attacks, domestic violence, child abuse, vulgar and unpalatable language on our  media landscape, frequent strike actions as well as demonstrations/labour unrest are all manifestations of extreme anger in our society.

What causes anger?

The causes of anger are weird and sometimes beyond human comprehension. According to Biblical history, "An unseen force popularly known as Devil or Satan is behind much of the harmful episode of anger on the planet Earth". The explanation to this view is that, at the start of humankind's history, a rebellious spirit creature called "Satan", which in Hebrew means "resistor" or "adversary" turned against the Almighty God. Many theologians are of the view that most anger is orchestrated by Satan and can only be resolved through prayer and fasting. Do you agree? Well, opinions, they say, are  like noses!

Ironically, scientists admit that the phenomenon of anger is still  poorly understood. There is however, an agreement among mental-health professionals that all of us react to certain "anger triggers" and that anger is implicated in most cardiovascular infections including hypertension/high blood pressure as well as heart attacks. To add more insults to injury, anger is implicated in the rampant completed and attempted suicide cases we continue to witness in a daily basis.

What is an anger trigger?

An anger trigger may be something that frustrates or annoys someone. These triggers often result from injustice or unfairness meted out to people in society. Anger triggers can occur when we feel slighted, such as through insult or disrespect. Additionally, an imagined threat to a person's authority or reputation can stir up feeling of anger. Many psychologists are of the view that frustration leads to hostility and that, any organism in-elastically frustrated may result in anger expression as a defense mechanism.

Interestingly, anger triggers are individualized events and hence vary from person to person. They differ with age and gender and even from one culture to another. Reactions to these triggers also vary. For instance, some people seldom get angry and quickly get over an affront while others are easily provoked and may hold on to anger for days, weeks, months or longer. Medical experts caution that chronic/extreme anger is highly injurious to personal health.

Ironically, it is conspicuous that our modern technological driven society is filled with potential anger triggers and sensitivity to these triggers may be rising astronomically. One reason is the thoughtless, me-first spirit that is ever present in our day. When self-centered people do not get their own way, anger is often the result.

Apart from that, technological addiction and cyber attacks leading to poor internet services/accessibility may result in more frustration and anger going forward.

There are equally other reasons why anger may be a growing problem across the globe including:

 Parental example- One's parents have a profound influence on personality development throughout childhood and adolescence. Psychologist Harry L. Mills opined that, "from a very early age, people learn to express anger by copying the anger behaviour they see modeled around them.  If a child is raised in a hostile environment where tempers flare over trivial matters, the child is, in effects, being trained to respond to life's problems with anger". What then happens to the vulnerable Ghanaian child in this era of political vigilantism and vulgar display of naked insults on our media landscape??? I sometimes wonder what would be happening in the graves of eminent personalities such as our nation's founder Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. K. A Busia, Dr. Hilla Limann, Prof. J. E. A Mills among others. As for those who are still with us here on this wicked planet such as Jerry John Rawlings, J. A Kufour, John Dramani Mahama and President Nana Akuffo Addo, the least talk about them, the better as these selfless state-men continue to be victims and witnesses of  the ugly part of our body politics. God saves Ghana !!!

Cramped cities - Historical statistics had it that in the year 1800, about 3% of the world's population lived in urban areas. In 2008, it jumped to 50%, and by 2050, it is expected to reach 70%. The result is that, as more and more squeeze into crowded cities, the levels of anger and frustration are likely to rise. Crowded cities bring other sources of stress, including air and noise pollution, scarce housing, cultural clashes and high crime rates. As the sources of stress increase, people who have the tendency to get frustrated, angry and lose patience more easily. In Ghana today, the story is nothing to write home about as many people in our major cities like Accra, Kumasi, and other places increasingly struggle for basic amenities such as water, sanitary facilities, electricity and general space. What a hell !!!

Economic despair- The world's economic meltdown has sparked widespread stress and anxiety. According to the 2010 joint report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the United Nations International Labour Organization, over 210 million people across the globe are estimated to be unemployed. Sadly, most of those holding a job do not fare much better. Further research by the International Labour Organization indicates that work related stress is a global epidemic. "People are afraid for their jobs and are quick to assume the worst", says Lorne Curtis, a management consultant in Ontario, Canada. As a result, victims are defensive and more inclined to argue with their supervisors or other employees.

Entertainment industry- Many psychologists are of the opinion that though most youths who are routinely exposed to violent acts on television do not grow up to be vicious criminals, the entertainment media often portrait violent anger as an acceptable way to deal with adversity. This unfortunate state of affair usually leads to the emergence of a new generation of people who are desensitized to violence.

In conclusion, Frustration, prejudice and injustice are implicated in the phenomenon of anger in society and everything possible must be done in managing anger in humanity. People get angry when they face barriers that limit their access to jobs, education, housing and other basic necessities. In a highly polarized political environment like ours where political affiliation, money, goats, cows and other materialistic considerations are the new determinants or entry requirements for jobs/appointments,  frustration/anger is in the ascendancy.

Watch out for Anger Management in my next article!

David Banaaleh (Kingdave ),

Founder/CEO Generational Advocates for Psycho-solutions  (GAPS)

Mobile no. 0247113859

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Our Vision

To make psychology one of the tools for nation building by bringing it to the doorsteps of all and sundry as successfully done in other jurisdictions.



blockquoteWe are so made, that we can only derive intense enjoyment from a contrast and only very little from a state of things.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

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