I AM sure most will agree the pandemic has given us a fair amount to shout about, but is expressing out frustration through screaming a useful tool, or might it do more harm than good?

Scream therapy was first popularised around the 1970s by American psychotherapist Arthur Janov. He argued that most upset and distress were due to repressed feelings, from as far back as childhood.

Janov’s theory gained popularity because of celebrity clients including John Lennon. A drawback of scream therapy was that it argued against the benefit of most other treatments with a proven track record, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

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When we scream, we evoke the flight or fight response. This results in increased amounts of the brain chemicals dopamine and noradrenaline. There may be some benefit to this in the short term, providing temporary release, hopefully in a setting where no one else will become distressed.

However, repeated screaming has the potential to worsen both physical and mental health.

Yet despite this, and indeed in the absence of strong evidence of its benefit, it has gained popularity. Groups have congregated in car parks to indulge in scream therapy and we have seen the advent of axe rooms and rage rooms.

Anger itself is not a harmful emotion. It comes out of a sense of injustice, and can spur us on to make changes for the better. Yet rage is when that anger is channelled in an uncontrolled manner, with the potential to cause harm not only to the aggressor but also those around.

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Anger can be a manifestation of low mood or depression. More traditional theories argue that for those suffering with anger issues, it is important to understand why you feel this way.

As well as establishing the cause of your anger, it is vital to recognise your triggers, which can often be fairly minor.

Lastly this needs to be put into perspective, so that your response, if any, is seen as proportionate, and you do not fly off the handle. It may not be as simple as turning the other cheek, but descending into a blind rage will likely have significant consequences and undoubtedly worsen your health.

This doesn’t mean that scream therapy may not have its place. Certainly, its advocates are strong in their feelings about its benefits. It just may not be for all.

Positive coping strategies with definite gains, and less potential for harm, include exercise, meditation and indulging in hobbies.

Most of all, it you are struggling, do not ignore the signs. Your routine GP is adept at recognising and treating mood disorders, and there is always someone on the end of a telephone, day or night, if you are in crisis.