Why is Dad So Angry All the Time?

Tips on Difficult Behavior

This article is adapted from the Family Caregiver Handbook.

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“The stress of an illness or disability can lead to a care receiver’s behavior becoming difficult. His personality and behavior may change because of the emotional and physical changes he is experiencing. A person who has always had a difficult personality may become even more difficult.

Steps to take:

Make an appointment with the care receiver’s doctor to rule out any medical reason for difficult behaviors.

This is especially important if an unusual behavior comes on suddenly. Behavior changes may be due to:

  • Medication side effects
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Depression
  • Dehyration
  • Other physical issues that may be medically resolved

Urinary tract infection and dehydration may need urgent treatment to prevent serious outcomes.

When it’s not a medical issue, behaviors are often the result of anxiety and frustration on the part of the person getting care.

Anger and excessive complaints over what seems like minor things can happen when someone is losing or has lost control over parts of his life. He may be desperately looking for things he can still control.

  • Don’t downplay his feelings, such as saying “It’s no big deal”
  • Make an effort to respect demands that may seem minor to you but are very important to him.
  • Do give him more control by saying something like “You seem really frustrated. What can we do next time to make it better?”
  • You can help him talk about his anger: “What is making you feel so bad?” “You seem upset. Can I help?”
  • Find something to agree about as you respond to a complaint.”