Although it’s completely okay to be emotional once in a while, sometimes you may find yourself feeling overly emotional and unable to control your emotions. This problem is normally characterized by unnecessary outbursts and crying sessions.
In this article, I will discuss various reasons why you may have a feeling of heightened emotions, signs and symptoms of emotional dysregulation, and how to deal with uncontrollable emotions.
Is It Bad to Be Emotional?
Today’s society is rather harsh on people who express their emotions freely. In fact, emotional people are often branded as “unstable”. This makes it hard for people to, freely express, their feelings, forcing them to repress their emotions even when they are not supposed to.
When you continuously repress emotions, be it anger, grief, frustration, sadness, or disappointment, you put yourself at the risk of developing physical stress, memory loss, aggression, and depression.
Although it’s normal to want to hide your feelings, especially those that are related to bad and unpleasant experiences, it is important to learn to embrace negative feelings because it helps to improve your emotional well-being.
Becoming more at ease with your feelings, even those that bring painful memories, help you to go through the challenges of everyday life more positively while also enhancing your relationships with other people.
Studies have revealed that when repressed emotions are no longer manageable, they pose a great risk to your emotional and cognitive well-being.
What Is Emotional Dysregulation?
Emotional dysregulation is the inability to control your emotional responses and reactions. This refers to a broad range of emotions including anger, frustration, sadness, irritability, and disappointment.
Emotional dysregulation is commonly seen in children and is expected to resolve itself as the child learns to control their emotions. However, this problem sometimes continues into adulthood.
Adults with emotional dysregulation endure a lifetime of challenges including broken interpersonal relationships, poor academic performance, and poor performance at work. Such failures will cause you more emotional suffering that may lead you to depression.
Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Dysregulation
It is very easy to confuse emotional dysregulation with the occasional emotional outburst. Here are some common examples of what happens when you have emotional dysregulation.
• Severe depression
• Increased shame and anger
• Excessive substance abuse
• Extreme perfectionism
• Highly conflictual interpersonal relationships
• Dangerous sexual behaviors
• Disordered eating
• Suicidal thoughts and attempts
If you always find yourself crying or drinking uncontrollably whenever you have a minor argument with your fiancé, you could be suffering from emotional dysregulation. People with this problem are easily rattled.
For instance, if you are quick to yell at a bank teller and throw things at them for not helping you with a particular transaction for reasons that are beyond them, you could have this problem.
Generally, emotional dysregulation involves overly intense emotions and being unable to calm down or switch your focus from the negative feeling. When you have this problem, you cannot avoid emotions because they are too strong.
Why Are You Overly Emotional?
Emotional dysregulation could be a sudden tendency that you’ve noticed lately or a habitual feeling that feels like an inherent part of your character. There are many reasons why you could be feeling overly emotional. Below are some of the common causes of emotional dysregulation.
You Are Naturally Sensitive
It is normal for some people to be more sensitive than others. This is a personality attribute, commonly referred to as Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS). People with this trait tend to analyze and process the world around them more deeply. This involves feelings of other people, loud noises, and pain.
This problem is very common in women, especially when they are pregnant or having their menstrual periods. It occurs when your body produces certain hormones excessively. This may cause your emotions to spike unpredictably.
Research has shown that emotional functioning is hereditary. Therefore, your inclination toward emotiveness could have been partially acquired from your parents or those that came before them.
Other studies have suggested that overly emotional people have slightly different brain chemistry and may experience increased blood circulation in the parts of the brain that process emotions and compassion.
Lack of Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation will have many serious effects on your body including memory loss, lack of concentration, anxiety, depression, weak immune system, lack of balance, and a higher risk of causing accidents. Prolonged sleep deprivation will also affect your moods and emotions, making you more irritable and easier to anger.
A stressful life can easily lead to an inability to control your emotions. It is also a major cause of irritability and moodiness. Chronic stress is also associated with anger and aggression. So, you need to find ways to reduce stress in your life.
Turbulence and Big Life Changes
When you experience sudden big changes in your life or go through a turbulent situation, you are more likely to endure intensified anxiety, which will leave you feeling emotional.
Trauma or Grief
Your emotional well-being suffers greatly whenever you experience a tragic event. Therefore, traumatic experiences such as sexual assault, car accidents, loss of a loved one, major illness, physical assault, and many others are likely to cause intense emotional reactions.
Depression and Other Mental Conditions
People with depression, anxiety, and other related mental health problems are known to have difficulties regulating their emotions. For instance, if you are anxious, you will always find yourself in a burst of emotions that are connected to fear about your past or future.
Lack of Exercises
According to research, physical exercises help to promote emotional well-being and lead to essential life outcomes, like the development of psychosocial resources.
For instance, aerobic exercises have been found to have a therapeutic effect on managing emotions. Therefore, a lack of regular physical exercises will have a major effect on your moods and emotions.
Wrong Dietary Choices
A bad diet affects your overall well-being the same way a healthy diet improves your health. Therefore, if you are suddenly feeling overly emotional, it could be a result of your bad dietary choices. Research has shown that eating unhealthy foods increases your stress levels.
So, if you want to be able to manage your emotions, always consume foods that are full of the necessary nutrients, avoid fatty, processed foods, avoid skipping meals, make sure your meals have all the vital vitamins and minerals.
How to Deal with Being Overly Emotional
Although it is completely okay to express your feelings whenever you feel emotional, being always overly emotional can have a negative effect on your life. So, what do you do when you are unable to control your emotions? Here are some quick tips on how to deal with being overly emotional.
Children and Teens
Children, especially teenagers, become overly emotional when they reach adolescence. The developmental changes in their bodies can make them insecure and highly sensitive. Therefore, children and teenagers with emotional intensity require professional assistance that goes beyond customary outpatient therapy.
For instance, they should be taken through therapy programs that are specifically designed to help them to stabilize their emotional, behavioral, and mental health crisis. One of the most common treatment methods for children with emotional intensity is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Basically, this type of therapy teaches people how to be more aware of their emotions and how to deal with painful experiences effectively.
This treatment has proved to be quite effective in helping kids and teens to deal with intense emotions like mood swings, sadness, anxiety, anger, and disappointments.
The program is meant to help people, especially teenagers, discover and attain meaning in their lives. It should be administered by a trained and certified mental health professional.
Unlike children, adults are expected to be more aware of their feelings. So, the method of dealing with intense emotions in adults is slightly different from that of teens.
For instance, the first thing that you need to do when you feel overly emotional is to write down what you are feeling. This helps you to untie the know of different feelings spinning inside you so that you can clearly understand the main cause of such feelings.
Once you’ve figured out the cause of your emotions, you should be able to fix it. Follow these tips to deal with your intense emotions.
1. Don’t beat yourself up.
It’s okay to be sensitive. It shows that you are compassionate and concerned about other people’s situations. It also shows that you are human. So, focus on the positive thoughts about yourself.
2. Don’t overthink.
Emotions rise when you obsess over situations and people’s comments. So, if you want to control your emotions, don’t allow your thoughts to go into overdrive. Although it’s important to reflect on the results of your actions, constantly worrying about it doesn’t do you any good.
3. Don’t jump to conclusions.
It’s always good to think before you react. Take a few seconds to analyze people’s actions and comments before you respond.
4. Be patient.
You need to understand that the changes you want won’t happen overnight. Therefore, don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself overreacting every so often. Just keep on working on yourself and you will eventually be able to handle your emotions.
There are several drugs that can be used to treat emotional dysregulation. But these drugs are only necessary when the problem is part of a larger mental disorder. For instance, ADHD can be treated with stimulants while depression can be treated with antidepressants. You can also be given antipsychotics to treat other emotional issues.
When to See a Doctor
Although most cases of emotional dysregulation do not require the intervention of a medical doctor, sometimes it is important to seek a doctor’s opinion. For instance, if your emotional unsteadiness is part of a diagnosed mental disorder, you need to see a mental doctor immediately.
You should also see a doctor immediately if the condition involves increased sensitivity to emotional provocations and the inability to return to your normal emotional state within a realistic amount of time.
Another reason why you need to see a doctor is if your emotional state leads you to display dangerous behaviors, such as aggression, property damage, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is emotion dysregulation a sign of pregnancy?
It is normal for pregnant women to experience irritability and anger. This is because of the hormonal changes that occur when a woman conceives. But this doesn’t mean that every woman who is overly emotional is pregnant.
2. Is there an emotional dysregulation test?
Yes, there is a test for emotional dysregulation. This test helps you to evaluate how you handle your emotions. Very low emotion regulation scores are associated with conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, PTSD, personality disorders, substance abuse, addictions, and many more.
3. What is the prognosis for emotional dysregulation?
We can all show dysregulated behavior or even fail to contain our emotions when triggered. But the prognosis for people who are already overly emotional is determined by the seriousness of the underlying problems.
If you are struggling with uncontrollable emotions, this article will help you to learn how to handle your emotions, even in highly offensive situations. I also hope that you now understand some of the reasons why you are overly emotional.