What Is the Name of the Brain Chemical Released When You Are Angry


What is the name of the brain chemical released when you are angry? Although the short answer is epinephrine and nonepinephrine -also referred to as adrenaline and nonadrenaline- there is much more to it than that.


You may be familiar with epinephrine under the name adrenaline, which is oftentimes credited with a sudden burst of energy or strength. In actuality, epinephrine is one of the chemicals rapidly produced by the adrenal gland when a person experiences frustration, anger, or other form of stress.

The human body has a relatively predictable reaction to a rush of epinephrine:

  • A marked increase in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Pupil dilation
  • Increase in blood sent to the skeletal muscles

All of these physiological reactions are designed to assist the person in reacting to whatever is causing the anger. This is also commonly referred to as the "fight or flight" reaction, which readies the person to either engage in an aggressive act or get away from the situation. It is interesting to note that the chemical reaction of anger is the same chemical reaction to fear.If you are wondering what is the name of the brain chemical released when you are angry in scientific terms, here is the actual formula: (HO)2C6H3CH(OH)CH2NHCH3.


Nonepinephrine is secreted from the adrenal medulla and is related to alertness. In fact, this is the chemical that is actually related to the so-called "adrenaline rush" that can be common when intense anger is present, which can sometimes lead to acts of aggression in certain situations.

Decreased nonepinephrine is a characteristic of people who are depressed. An increase in nonepinephrine as a result of anger is characterized by:

  • The constriction of blood vessels
  • The contraction of heart muscles
  • The dilation of the lungs

This chemical gives the person the sudden burst of strength and motivation that may be needed in order to defend themselves against an attack, which can include both physical and emotional attacks that can result in anger and possible aggression. The chemical formula for nonepinephrine is (HO)2C6H3CH(OH)CH2NH2, which is very similar to the chemical formula for epinephrine but is not exactly the same.

What Is the Name of the Brain Chemical Released When You Are Angry

Anger takes on a different meaning when the person in question has a psychological disorder prompting the anger. When a person suffers from a paranoid or delusional disorder that leads to anger, it may be much more than simple chemical reactions causing the anger. In fact, many people who suffer from one of these disorders have a much higher likelihood of also suffering from an additional mental disorder or substance abuse -oftentimes referred to as comorbidity- which may prompt anger and aggression much more frequently than seen in people without these disorders. Delusions statistically lead to a higher chance of anger and aggression in individuals, although the actual chemical causing delusions may not be easy to pinpoint depending on the cause of the delusions.

It is also interesting to note that anger, and the intensity to which it is displayed and acted upon, is thought by many to be inheritable either genetically or environmentally. People with parents who are quick to anger may themselves be more likely to be quick to anger as well, either because they inherited the chemical reaction or because this is what they were taught.

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What Is the Name of the Brain Chemical Released When You Are Angry