Yelling at someone with anxiety (A brief guide)

In this guide, we will discuss “Yelling at someone with anxiety”, what it means to someone with anxiety to be yelled at and how to prevent it. 

Yelling at someone with anxiety

Yelling at someone with anxiety could potentially make them feel worse and it can be considered a form of verbal abuse.

The real problem is that there is no physical evidence about it but there is a psychological imprint, “wounds” or “scars” that may increase the chance to develop anxiety and/or depression.

However, anxiety disorders are considered serious mental illnesses, the same as having diabetes or heart disease.

Some people even consider yelling more scolded as in being physically abused.

This can be very traumatizing depending on certain characteristics such as the volume of someone’s voice, the tone of voice, their body language or facial expressions, the duration of the yelling and its content such as name-calling, insulting, humiliating, among others.

As Jacobs from NAMI explains, “being frequently yelled at changes the mind, brain and body in a multitude of ways including increasing the activity of the amygdala (the emotional brain), increasing stress hormones in the blood stream, increasing muscular tension and more.

Being frequently yelled at as children changes how we think and feel about ourselves even after we become adults and leave home.

That’s because the brain wires according to our experiences—we literally hear our parents’ voices yelling at us in our heads even when they’re not there.”

The term effects of yelling at someone with anxiety, or someone yelling at us, include exacerbating their anxious response, basically resulting in them fearing you.

In addition, we usually associate being worried or scared but some may also feel angry or irritable, in an attempt to gain control of the situation.

Someone yelling at us can be considered a trigger of our anxiety. 

Therefore, as Holland explains, “Anxiety triggers can be different for each person, but many triggers are common among people with these conditions. Most people find they have multiple triggers. But for some people, anxiety attacks can be triggered for no reason at all.”

For instance, some may consider being late to work (even five mins) and being received by your boss, a trigger for their anxiety.

It is very useful then, to identify your triggers so you can manage your anxiety.

Anxiety triggers (examples)

There are several possible anxiety triggers that could develop contribute to developing an anxiety disorder.

Here are some examples:

  • Health conditions: being diagnosed with cancer or a chronic illness can be very upsetting, stressful and difficult to cope with. This can be a very powerful trigger because of the emotional reaction and the burden it can carry. However, you can manage this type of trigger by being proactive and follow your doctor’s instructions.
  • Medications: there are some medications that have been associated with or linked to developing anxiety. This is mainly because some are said to cause feelings of uneasiness, or they may even make you feel unwell.  

However, always consult with your doctor about any side effects that may contribute (or worsen) to developing symptoms related to anxiety.

  •  Caffeine: it has been widely studied and accepted that caffeine can worsen anxiety symptoms especially in people that have panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, being the most sensitive to the anxiety-inducing effects of caffeine (Healthline).
  • Financial problems: if you are worried about having debts, unexpected bills or not having enough money to cover your expenses. However, it is important to learn how to manage it if too overwhelming, by seeking professional advice. 

How can I identify the triggers?

Identifying and understanding the triggers of your anxiety can help you work towards managing them.

Here are some tips that can help you identify them:

  • Journaling: having a journal and tracking your anxiety can help you identify what happens before, during and after an episode. This allows you to identify what are the things or situations that make your anxiety spike and how your behavior could be maintaining it (e.g. avoiding places, people, situations). 
  • Seeking professional advice: either going to therapy or counseling, you can get some help to identify your triggers and how you can effectively treat what causes your anxiety.
  • Being aware: awareness about the symptoms, your thoughts and behavior can allow you to identify your triggers and set up an action plan to manage your anxiety. 

Symptoms of anxiety

When anxiety kicks in, there are some specific symptoms you can easily identify, but anxiety could be experienced differently and symptoms could differ from one person to the another.

Here we have a list of some of the most common you can identify:

  • Intense fear or worry
  • Muscle tension
  • Sweating
  • Faster heart rate
  • Fater breathing rate
  • Difficulties when falling asleep
  • Difficulties concentrating or making desicions
  • Tingling sensation in your face, hands or feet
  • Restlessness
  • Being irritable or angry

Are there any valid reasons for yelling?

When someone is angry, they may argue yelling is the only way they can be heard.

However, there are no valid reasons for yelling, but it is important to understand what are the reasons for yelling but more importantly, is to remember not being reactive when this happens.

When someone is angry, a common reaction is to start yelling but it is important to consider even though you feel you may deserve or you may have done something for the other person to start yelling at you, it is simply not the way and definitely not your fault.

No one deserves to be yelled at, no matter what you think you have done. 

Moreover, yelling is really a reflection of their emotional instability even if they try to camouflage it by showing their strength, dominance, and control over others.

If we analyse this behavior in-depth, we can actually see how many people that yell, do it under situations they don’t really have the coping mechanisms to deal with them in a much more effective way. 

Another reason can be associated with losing control over the situation.

People tend to be overwhelmed by what they are feeling and thinking and when emotions are too overwhelming we tend to lose control.

Also, yelling is a way of letting someone know we feel disrespected or how our opinions are so different there is no way they could get into an agreement. 

Childhood experiences

In most cases, our behavior is molded by previous experiences either when we were just a child or interactions with others (e.g. friends or a partner).

This means that we could have been raised in a harsh environment where we saw how our mother used to do everything our father said when he got angry and started yelling.

Fear is a powerful emotion and it is actually helpful to prevent us from being harmed or being in threatening situations. 

When someone yells at us, our brain reacts by sending a signal known as the “Fight or flight” response.

Consequently, hormones are released into our bloodstream and our muscles get ready to fight the threat, run away from it or simply freeze hoping the threat will go away on its own. 

How does yelling impact someone with anxiety?

Yelling at someone with anxiety will clearly make them feel very uncomfortable and frightened.

Our brain is wired in a way it perceives loud noises as potential threats, activating our flight or fight response.

In turn, the physical reactions and emotional responses that come with being yelled at are automatically associated with the person (a perceived potential threat) and generates an intense fear response.

Then it is not astounding if the person reacts avoiding you or even starting a conversation with you, because that situation caused great emotional and physical discomfort and will try to avoid feeling it again in the future.

Why is this blog about Yelling at someone with anxiety important?

As discussed, yelling at someone with anxiety will generate physical and emotional discomfort where the person may even resort to avoiding you or being apprehensive to interact with you in order to prevent any other situation where yelling may be involved.

Remember that yelling may be considered verbal abuse and should be avoided. 

Moreover, people with anxiety disorders can actually learn to cope by identifying and understanding what triggers their anxiety, to be able to act accordingly and set up an action plan.

However, if your anxiety is too overwhelming and you can’t cope on your own then it is recommended to seek professional advice.

Please feel free to comment in the comments section!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Yelling at someone with anxiety

Does yelling cause anxiety?

Yelling can cause anxiety, especially if you are constantly exposed to yelling when you are a child.

When your parents yell at you, it is normal to feel hurt, scared and even sad about it.

In addition, yelling can also lead to depression if left untreated due to the constant verbal abuse someone has to endure.

What should you not say to someone with anxiety?

There are a few things you should not say to someone with anxiety, for example:

“It is all in your head.”
“Just calm down, it is not a big deal.”
“Everything is going to be OK.”
“I know how you feel…”
“Have something to drink, it will make you feel better.”
“There are other people suffering from much worse situations.”
“Stop worrying.”
“Think positively.”
“You are being ridiculous.”
“It can’t be that bad, you will be fine in a minute.”

Does anxiety cause anger outbursts?

Anxiety can cause anger outbursts but as a response or reaction over feeling frustrated towards yourself, at your current situation (especially feeling like not being able to do anything to change it) or towards other people.

How do you relax someone with anxiety?

You can help relax someone with anxiety by:

Reminding them you are there and you will stay with them until they feel better.

Assuring them there is nothing to be afraid of.

Let them know that this is just temporary and shall pass.

Encourage them to breathe deeply and slowly, so they can manage the physical symptoms.

Try to have a conversation with them about what they will do later or something you know motivates them to distract them from their anxiety.

What yelling at a child does?

Yelling at a child has been suggested by researchers and scientists to make them more prone to being more aggressive (physically and verbally), having more behavioral issues, making them feel insecure, with low self-esteem and poor self-image.

Yelling at a child has more negative effects than what you think it really does to “help” you, especially if you intend to make them do what you say or prevent them from misbehaving. 


Jacobs, H. (2018, Feb.) The Problem With Yelling. Retrieved from

Patel, A. (2017, Aug.) When anxiety turns into anger, experts say you shouldn’t ignore it. Retrieved from

Holland, K. (2018, May.) What Triggers Anxiety? 11 Causes That May Surprise You. Retrieved from

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