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Most people who haven’t had much experience with depression or just simply don’t know much about it may assume that depression is just immense sadness. However, the diagnosis of major depressive disorder comes with a myriad of unexpected symptoms.

One of those symptoms is unfortunately anger. In fact, in many cases, people don’t even realize they have depression until they go seek help for the anger. One nurse, named Ebony Monroe, who spoke with NPR had a similar experience.

“If you had told me in the beginning that my irritability was related to depression, I would probably be livid,” Monroe explained to NPR. “I did not think irritability aligned with depression.”

Even the diagnostic manual for mental disorders doesn’t have anger as a symptom of depression, even though various studies have found links between the two.

Dr. Mark Zimmerman took a large-scale survey of patients who were entering a Rhode Island Hospital outpatient psychiatric ward. One of the questions they asked was about the level of anger they had experienced the week before.

According to Zimmerman, “Two-thirds of the individuals reported notable irritability and anger,” continuing, he explained, “and approximately half reported it at a moderate or severe level.”

This isn’t the only study that has been carried out to show the links between depression and anger. Another massive study was carried out and looked at 500 people who had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder. What the study found was that over half of them had experienced “overt irritability/anger.”

Scientists believe that anger is caused by depression for a few different reasons. The first is anger that is turned inward. When people are depressed, they often are strongly critical of themselves. The inner critic makes it very hard for them to move past feelings of shame, which lowers their self-worth.

And the interesting thing about emotions is that when we continue pushing feelings like anger down, eventually they come out.

Another reason scientists have found that anger could come out as a result of depression is what they refer to as anger turned outward. Being depressed puts a person in a place of stress. Stress causes stress hormones, which can place us in a mode of fight or flight. Because of this, many people who have depression end up lashing out at others, or even being hostile.

Thankfully, there are treatments available, including medications, therapy, and counseling. More often than not, depression can be quite easy to treat, especially the angry form of depression.

With that being said, if you notice that you are feeling angrier than normal, and it’s making it difficult for you to function, I would most definitely seek out a good professional to help you find peace.