Rage Storm Neurologically Gifted

Rage 1: About Rage


As an adult who has Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders, I have an intimate understanding of rage through experience.  I understand the frustration of shouldering the burden of getting through every day filled with tremendous and constant challenges due to my disorders and associated symptoms.  These demands not only test one’s patience continually, they test one’s ability to be still, to perform routine tasks and even to relax.  If unable to calm themselves during times of  stress, the sufferer may “boil over” emotionally, and release their frustration through angry outbursts.

(See our post Mental Health Challenges in Neurological Disorders for more about stress)

People with neurochemical disorders including Tourette Syndrome and ADHD, often have a low frustration tolerance.  They are usually predisposed to poor self-control in the manner of impulsivity and rage.  This is especially true in children with neurological disorders.  Children are just learning the coping mechanisms and strategies to assist them with daily struggles due to their disorders as well as managing the common unpredictable stress life brings.  Dealing with the day to day of managing their symptoms, (which are always waxing and waning), drains away their mental energy to cope with anything else. They can easily become overburdened with stress.  Add to this, an under equipped skill set to calm themselves, and outbursts of rage can occur at even the smallest challenges.

At times, the release of this frustration goes beyond the person’s control and the combined behaviours that occur are termed rage.  Specific biochemical and hormonal changes occur within the body and brain including the “flight or fight” response.  Rational thought, perception and reasoning stop functioning.  Learned strategies for calming are no longer useful.  The person will often say or do things they would not have ever thought of doing.  Often, the person may have no memory or have an altered memory of events that occur during a rage.  Shame and depression may also follow rages as the person wonders how they could have acted so poorly and so out of control.  It is important for the individual to recognize that the actions that occur during a rage are beyond their control.  Feelings of shame post rage will accumulate without this understanding and make the individual more prone to rage.  It is also important to understand that despite the involuntary nature of rages, there is help, there are strategies and people manage them effectively.  But how?

Managing burden NeurologicallyGifted.com
Image courtesy of jesadaphorn : FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Referring to my own experiences with rage and TS+, I have always believed that an adult is ultimately able to control their rage.  Developing the ability to do so requires maturity and the ability to take personal inventory (asking yourself, “How am I doing right now?  How are people reacting to what I am saying?”).  Children can eventually learn to take control, but it requires a great deal of training and understanding.  I believed that with coping mechanisms for stress, strategies for relaxation, self awareness and education, rage could be controlled.

Unfortunately it is not quite that simple.

Continue Reading on Page 2: A Story About a Boy

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2 thoughts on “Rage 1: About Rage”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It’s a difficult thing to understand that many psychological problems require an adequate system of consequences to provide motivation to change ones own behavior. Have you considered something like structured conflict as a means to control rage and closely associated aggression, as well as a means to learn when some forms of aggression are appropriate?

    As a person with TS I am familiar with the bottomless pit of rage that is always lurking around in the back of the mind waiting to influence my reactions to things I don’t like. One thing that helped me over the years was getting involved in online debate and developing an understanding of things like logical fallacies and other sorts of failures of logic and reasoning. Challenging someone with respect to their thinking is an act of aggression and by carefully focusing it and the associated rage on arguments instead of people I gain regular practice in how to use rage and aggression instead of letting it use me.

    1. Nathan’s learning needs are far more rudimentary. He has ODD so just about everything in our home is challenged. Neither his mother nor myself have the emotional energy to search out new challenges. I think it will be something we work on in later years, if his development allows. We have used structured conflict as a method to teach Nathan natural consequences for his behaviours, and/or allow him to experience the feelings others have due to his actions.

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