What Happens If You Can't Regulate Your Emotions?

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What Happens If You Can't Regulate Your Emotions?

Suppose your emotions feel out of control, and your life is spinning along with them. In that case, you may be dealing with emotional dysregulation – or the inability to regulate your feelings independently. Everything from your moods and work capabilities to your close relationships can suffer when it happens. Thankfully, effective support and treatments are available. 

At her practice in Chicago at One Magnificent Mile, board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Amanda S. Kleinman provides emotional regulation care, including psychotherapy and medication, to help you thrive.

Let’s delve into emotional regulation, including what happens when it’s out of reach.

Emotional regulation vs. dysregulation

When you can regulate your emotions with ease, your moods feel balanced. Emotional regulation allows you to respond to daily happenings and demands flexibly and reasonably. 

When you can’t regulate your emotions, all that seems difficult or downright impossible. Feelings out of proportion to anything happening may seem to rise out of nowhere, leaving you distressed. As a result, you struggle to meet the demands of daily life or certain situations.

Emotional dysregulation that goes unmanaged can also fuel:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Disordered eating
  • Excessive substance use
  • Extreme perfectionism
  • Frequent crying or irritation
  • High levels of shame or anger
  • High-risk sexual behaviors
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

While you may experience just one or two symptoms, multiple signs are common, given that emotional dysregulation can impact virtually every aspect of your life.

Causes of emotional dysregulation

Most anyone can struggle with emotional dysregulation, but certain factors raise risk. Early childhood trauma, such as enduring abuse, for example, has been linked with emotional dysregulation in adulthood.

Difficulty regulating your emotions may also stem from neglect, a traumatic brain injury (TBI), or chronic levels of invalidation from feeling ignored, judged, or rejected. Hormone fluctuations, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), borderline personality disorder, and ongoing stress may also play a role. 

What to do about emotional dysregulation

Dr. Kleinman offers psychodynamic psychotherapy, transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP), and medication management to improve emotional regulation. Your treatment plan will be customized based on your history, preferences, and needs.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy and TFP enhance emotional regulation by addressing the underlying causes. These treatments also enhance self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, and teach you to remain emotionally flexible in trying situations. If therapy alone isn’t enough, an appropriate medication can help bring lasting stability and relief. 

To learn more about emotional dysregulation or get the support you need, call our office or request an appointment with Dr. Kleinman through our website today.