A common question that I often get is “What are the main factors that often lead individuals back to jail/prison?” I have broken this question into five specific areas. One of the bigger issues revolves around uncontrollable anger and self-regulation.
Bill, a patient that I had been seeing for about six months, came to see me due to emotional dysregulation and frequent trips to the county jail. Bill had been doing quite well following the protocol/brain plan we had set forward. Unfortunately, Bill had an episode that lasted lees than 30 seconds that resulted in another one month trip back to jail
Bill and his roommate had a sudden disagreement about who should clean the living room. This discussion went from differing opinions to yelling and screaming at one another. Subsequently, a concerned tenant called the police. The police came to the premises and asked what had occurred. After finding out that Bill had a legal history, guess what? Bill ended up going back to jail with further charges.
Initially, Bill did not care that he was arrested. He was angry. He felt justified. That individual should have cleaned the room, not himself. A few hours later, though, Bill thought otherwise. “What the heck was I thinking? Why did I get so upset…about cleaning the living room? Was it worth getting arrested again? Now I have more legal charges and I have a lack of funds; how am I going to pay?”
Unfortunately, this theme appears all too frequently. Often, individuals with temporal lobe issues can have sudden eruptions of anger that are uncontrollable. Unlike others, individuals with temporal lobe problems often have a much higher intensity of anger during stressful times. Moreover, they often take longer to calm themselves. Where most individuals might feel back at a balance within 15 minutes, these poor souls often can be upset for stretches lasting as long as two to three hours.
Often, these emotionally dysregulated people start to tear away at their own personal core. “What is wrong with me? Why can I control myself better? “This seems hopeless.”
Fortunately, it is not their core that is the problem. It is their temporal lobes. Rather than succumbing to self-loathing, these angry and torn individuals need to find some creative, constructive, and nurturing ways to take care of their temporal lobes.
Fortunately, there is some good news for these types of individuals. First, this anger, thankfully, does not last. It will eventually diminish. Second, these individuals need to stop beating themselves up. Instead, they need to take some nurturing steps to help promote healthy temporal lobe functioning.
How can this occur? First, there are supplements on the market that can be supportive of temporal lobe functioning. Supplements such as Taurine, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6 all can help support temporal lobe functioning. Moreover, listening to calm music can be a great vehicle to get temporal lobes to call themselves more readily. In addition, taking walks and getting out of the stressful situation can also help temporal lobes get back to a more congruent homeostatic state.
Another technique I really encourage is to use the energy of anger constructively. When one is upset, there is clearly a great deal of intense power. Rather than falling prey to yelling, screaming, name-calling, throwing things, breaking things, and being aggressively physical, one can learn to harness the combustion of anger. How can one do that? Rather than suddenly erupting, use self-talk and say things such as “”You think that I am a failure, I will prove you wrong. So this moment thinks it’s going to defeat myself? Watch out-you’re going to see something a lot more effective and powerful. Don’t waste this energy; use it to create something bigger, better, and constructively empowering for your future.
In Escape, I strongly encourage the reader to pick in the area of self-improvement and grow. In areas such as self-regulation would be a great opportunity to begin. Find resources such as books, tapes, and seminars to defeat the power that anger has over yourself. (Excerpt from “Escape”; page 101)
In closing, don’t let anger defeat you. Instead, use the power of anger to push you forward to a bigger, better, and more constructive quality of life. Become the proactive winner.