What is Emotional Dysregulation?

emotional dysregulation

Do you find it difficult to control your emotions? Are your days filled with tearful outbursts, suicidal thoughts, or self-sabotage? You may be struggling with emotional dysregulation. In today’s blog, we’ll explore this set of symptoms, how they manifest, and what you can do to find peace.

What is Emotional Dysregulation?

At Amend Wellness, we view emotional dysregulation as a state of inner chaos that indicates deeper issues. Dysregulated individuals will not experience their feelings in ways that society expects or accepts.

Various factors contribute to this instability, including adverse childhood experiences, trauma and stressor-related disorders like PTSD, borderline personality disorder, and other mental health conditions. Underlying physical illnesses can also cause this issue.

Amend’s programming aims to promote emotional regulation: the ability to take charge of your feelings, restoring a sense of calm, security, and composure. The first step of the process is determining whether you need help.

Emotional Dysregulation Test

We invite you to review this list of symptoms. If any of these signs of emotional dysregulation resonate with you, we recommend that you contact Amend Wellness for a comprehensive evaluation.

  • Are you severely depressed?
  • Would you say that you feel irritable every day?
  • Are you experiencing constant or near-constant anxiety?
  • Would you say that you feel ashamed or angry much of the time?
  • Do you engage in self-harming behaviors like cutting, restricting food intake, drinking excessively, binge eating, having risky sex, or taking drugs? Do you ever do these things in response to triggering events?
  • Would you call yourself an extreme perfectionist? If so, does this cause problems for you?
  • Are your emotions confusing, overwhelming, and difficult to articulate?
  • Do you find it hard to focus on other areas of your life when upset?
  • Do you think about suicide? Have you attempted it in the past?
  • Have your highs and lows caused problems in your relationships?
  • Do people often tell you that you’re overreacting?

Real-World Examples

People experiencing emotional dysregulation don’t just get upset—their feelings completely take over. They cannot calm down and may become tearful or angry at the drop of a hat. A minor setback seems massive to them. Despite this intense internal experience, they often lack emotional awareness and even avoid naming or reflecting on their feelings. The result is a series of outsized reactions disproportionate to the situation, followed by rumination. In the long run, this can compromise their educational progress, career advancement, and relationships.

Emotionally dysregulated people might say phrases like the following:

  • “I feel like my emotions control me.”
  • “Everyone is against me.”
  • “I’m so stressed; I can’t handle this.”
  • “I can’t sleep through the night; I wake up distressed.”
  • “I feel like I’m going crazy! I’m losing it!”
  • “Everything is fantastic or horrible—there is no in-between.”
  • “You keep telling me to stop thinking about it, but I can’t get it out of my head.”
  • “Why do I feel this way?”

Consider these real-world examples of emotional dysregulation.

“I had a hard day at work—my coworker critiqued me in front of the entire team. He tried to be nice about it, but it was so embarrassing. I couldn’t handle it. I ran out of the building and cried the entire drive home. At one point, I cried so hard that it was hard to see the road. I even started hyperventilating. I couldn’t calm down and almost crashed the car.”

“My girlfriend told me that she couldn’t go out this Friday. She had plans with her friends. I saw red. We always spend Friday nights together! I yelled at her. We had a big fight about it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What was she doing with them? Why wouldn’t she invite me? I got blackout drunk and kept refreshing her Instagram, but she never posted anything.”

“My manager assigned me a project that required a program I had never used before. I worked on it for hours but still couldn’t figure it out. I got so frustrated that I started crying and slammed my computer shut, which broke my company laptop.”

If any of these scenarios feel familiar, we can help.

Find Hope and Healing at Amend Wellness

People experience emotional dysregulation for countless reasons. We’ll get to the bottom of it. If you’re overwhelmed, overstressed, and overreacting, consider spending time at Amend’s restorative campus. Here, men and women enjoy world-class amenities and top-quality therapies that make a real difference. Contact our office for more information about treatment for emotional dysregulation.