Anger and rage are symptomatic of life. Everyone is prone from time to time to outbursts of anger and possibly even rage. It is hardly specific to bipolar disorder so why is bipolar rage an issue worthy of consideration.
Anger gives way to rage when one loses control, when the expression of anger becomes irrational, violent and manipulative.
Emotional extremes are symptomatic of bipolar so it is hardly surprising that bipolar disorder in children and adults should manifest itself in outbursts of rage.
Bipolar sufferers are often controlling personalities who feel inadequate by their own expectations or those of others. Rage episodes abusing others verbally and/or by physical violence are often in response to these strong emotions.
Briefly they gain control over those on the receiving end of the outburst, leading to a transient artificial sense of empowerment.
The outburst itself is generally not premeditated, its often triggered by some incident considered quite insignificant by observers but a climax to the build up of fear shame guilt or whatever strong emotion they are battling at the time.
As with most adverse bipolar behavior the recipients are usually those they are closest to, who love them dearly and by all accounts least deserving of such behavior.
If a pattern of bullying to manipulate and control others exists it’s probably worth investigation and seeking medical help. Hurling crockery, plates of food or for that matter any object at others is unacceptable no matter what the circumstances. Smashing the windscreen of a car parked in a space considered yours is not normal.
Often the rage outburst is followed by remorse and the perpetrators themselves will realize their lack of self control and the need to seek help. Especially if children are on the receiving end its essential to remedy the situation before any long term damage is caused.
Rage management in bipolar disorder is part of the treatment and can radically improve the quality of life for all concerned. Here are some good books that could be beneficial to those living with bipolar disorder. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness is a long standing very popular resource by Dr. Jamison who as both medical professional and bipolar sufferer brings a personal first hand account of bipolar associated violence.
Another well regarded first hand account is Welcome to the Jungle: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bipolar but Were Too Freaked Out to Ask
For children with bipolar and anger management issues The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood’s Most Misunderstood Disorder — Third Edition
Bipolar self injury is another area where the need for a sense of being in control manifests itself.