An emotional response that is poorly controlled and does not fit within the commonly accepted spectrum of emotional reaction is referred to as having emotional dysregulation. Other names for it include labile mood, mood swings, and marked mood fluctuation.

Anger outbursts, anxiety, sadness, substance misuse, suicidal ideation, self-harm, and other self-destructive behaviours are all signs of emotional dysregulation. Your quality of life, social interactions, and relationships at home, work, or school may be affected over time by this illness.

Aspects of other disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, and others, can also include emotional dysregulation. It is also known by the terms dysregulation, significant mood fluctuation, mood swings, or labile mood in medical terminology.

Each person’s experience with emotional dysregulation is distinct, and there are many different varieties of it. An individual with emotional dysregulation typically exhibits abnormally strong emotions in reaction to a stimulus. As a result, someone can think their emotions are out of control. Additionally, they could struggle with emotion recognition and experience confusion, remorse, or worry as a result of their actions.  


Intense emotional reactivity and inadequate emotion management are the main signs of emotional dysregulation. These feelings can range from melancholy to annoyance or wrath. People who experience chronic emotional dysregulation also experience worsened emotions, which can make them seem magnified.

The symptoms are as follows:

having intensely emotional responses to things that ordinarily wouldn’t impact other people mood swings

feeling engulfed by feelings

possessing strong, difficult-to-control emotions

being unable to handle stress




excessive use of drugs

risky sexual practises

absolute perfection

high levels of interpersonal conflict

erratic eating

Suicidal ideas or actions


Emotions that are too strong in proportion to the circumstance that triggered them are a common symptom of emotional dysregulation. This can entail being unable to control your emotions, avoiding uncomfortable ones, or concentrating on the bad. When their emotions (fear, sadness, or rage) are out of control, typically people with emotional disturbance also act impulsively.

Here are some illustrations of what emotional dysregulation could look like in people.

When your romantic partner cancels, you assume they don’t love you, which leads to sobbing all night and a junk food binge.

You go to a corporate dinner where everyone seems to be chatting and having a good time while you feel awkward. You go home after the event and overindulge to dull your emotional agony. This is another illustration of inadequate coping strategies and emotional eating.

According to Gratz and Roemer (2004), emotional dysregulation is assumed to involve the following four key processes:

a lack of emotional awareness, comprehension, and acceptance

the absence of adaptive techniques for controlling emotions’ strength and/or duration

an inability to go through emotional pain in order to achieve one’s goals

an incapacity to carry out goal-directed actions when under stress

A related symptom of emotional dysregulation is difficulty identifying the feelings you are feeling when you get agitated. It could imply that your emotions are making you feel confused, guilty, or so overpowering that you are unable to control your conduct or make decisions.

Importance of Professional Counseling: A friend or family member may listen to you, but they aren’t professionally, technically qualified or experienced to offer you professional advice. If you wish you can contact us at MindTribe to receive help from our team of expert psychologists.


MindTribe Founder Dr. Prerna Kohli, India’s eminent psychologist, established the company to leverage the strength of the online to make counseling affordable and accessible to everyone. MindTribe provides counseling, workshops, support groups, forums, and eLearning.

About the Author.

Shefali Verma is a psychologist at You can learn more about her by clicking here

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of, the Founders, or management team.

Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.


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