Emotions are a fundamental aspect of being human, and they shape our perceptions, behaviors, and interactions with the world. However, for some individuals, managing and regulating emotions can be a complex and challenging task. Emotional dysregulation refers to difficulties in effectively managing and coping with emotions, leading to intense emotional experiences and disruptions in daily life. Find out what emotional dysregulation entails, its causes, common symptoms, and strategies for improving emotional well-being.

Defining Emotional Dysregulation

Emotional dysregulation covers a range of difficulties related to emotional processing, expression, and control. It can appear in various ways, from intense mood swings and impulsivity to difficulty calming down after emotional arousal. Emotional dysregulation is often a symptom of mental health conditions like anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and trauma-related disorders.

Causes and Contributing Factors of Emotional Dysregulation

Biological Factors

Differences in brain chemistry, neurotransmitter imbalances, and genetic predispositions can influence how individuals regulate emotions.

Psychological Factors

Past experiences, trauma, attachment styles, and coping mechanisms developed during childhood can impact emotional regulation abilities.

Environmental Factors

Stressful environments, interpersonal conflicts, lack of social support, and chronic exposure to adversity can contribute to emotional dysregulation.

Mental Health Conditions

Disorders like Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and bipolar disorder are often characterized by emotional dysregulation as a core symptom.

Common Symptoms of Emotional Dysregulation

Intense Mood Swings

Rapid shifts in emotions, from intense anger or irritability to sadness, anxiety, or joy and excitement, are common symptoms of emotional dysregulation.


Acting on emotions without considering consequences, engaging in risky behaviors, or making impulsive decisions.

Difficulty Calming Down

Trouble soothing oneself after experiencing strong emotions, leading to prolonged emotional distress or agitation.

Emotional Sensitivity

Heightened sensitivity to emotional triggers, leading to overreactions or emotional outbursts in response to minor stressors.

Interpersonal Challenges

Struggles in maintaining stable relationships, frequent conflicts, or difficulties in communication due to emotional reactivity.

Self-Harming Behaviors

Some individuals with emotional dysregulation may engage in self-harm as an ineffective coping mechanism.

Strategies for Improving Emotional Regulation


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), mindfulness-based therapies, and emotion-focused therapies can help individuals learn coping skills and emotion regulation techniques and improve self-awareness.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Practicing mindfulness exercises and meditation can enhance emotional awareness, promote relaxation, and create a non-judgmental attitude towards emotions.

Healthy Lifestyle

Regular exercise, adequate sleep, balanced nutrition, and reduced substance use can positively impact emotional well-being.

Emotion Regulation Techniques

Deep breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, journaling, and using coping statements can help regulate emotions during intense moments.

Social Support

Building a support network can provide empathy and practical assistance during emotional challenges.

Seeking Professional Support

If you or someone you know struggles with emotional dysregulation that significantly impacts daily life, seeking professional support from mental health professionals is crucial. Mental health providers can offer personalized assessment, guidance, and evidence-based interventions to address emotional dysregulation and promote emotional well-being.

Empowering Emotional Health

Emotional dysregulation can be a complex and challenging aspect of mental health, but it’s essential to recognize that help and support are available. By understanding the causes, understanding common symptoms, and implementing effective strategies for emotional regulation, individuals can empower themselves to navigate emotions more effectively, enhance self-awareness, and improve overall emotional well-being.

Emotional health is a journey, and every step toward self-care and self-understanding is a step toward greater resilience and fulfillment. We are available to help you on your journey to healing. Learn more about our facility and treatment plans, and reach out to learn more.