Relationship of anger and anger attacks with depression: a brief review

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2005 Aug;255(4):215-22. doi: 10.1007/s00406-004-0539-5. Epub 2004 Nov 12.


Anger is a common and potentially destructive emotion that has considerable social and public health importance. The occurrence of anger, irritability and hostility in depression have been known for many years, but the prevalence, significance for treatment and prognosis and the mechanisms involved remain poorly understood. More recently, anger attacks have been proposed as a specific form of anger in depression. They are characterized by a rapid onset of intense anger and a crescendo of autonomic arousal occurring in response to trivial provocations. Though the presence or absence of hostility, anger and aggression in depression has been a matter of controversy, anger attacks have been found to occur more often in depressed patients in comparison to healthy controls. Some studies have reported that depressed patients with anger attacks differ from those without such attacks in terms of clinical profile, comorbid personality disorders and certain biological variables. Serotonergic dysfunction may characterize this distinct subtype of depression - depression with anger attacks.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anger / drug effects
  • Anger / physiology*
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Depressive Disorder / classification
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Humans


  • Antidepressive Agents