Emotional regulation disorder is a condition where someone has difficulty managing their feelings. This inability to adequately regulate emotions is referred to as dysregulation. Dysregulation is a poor ability to manage emotional responses or keep reactions within an acceptable range.
A person with emotional regulation disorder is more likely to experience dramatic changes in mood. These fluctuations in turn negatively impact the person’s actions.
Emotional regulation disorder can result in some of the following:
- Difficulty building and maintaining healthy relationships
- Self-destructive behavior
- Frequent meltdowns or temper tantrums
- Outbursts of emotions that are displaced onto someone who did not cause the harm
- Emotional regulation disorder can also accompany other mental health issues. Disorders such as depression, stress, or borderline personality disorder often complicate emotional regulation.
What is DBT?
There are many therapeutic approaches that can help with emotional regulation disorder. These interventions tend to be practical in nature and can be quite successful.
One approach that can help with emotional dysregulation is dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that seeks to identify negative thinking patterns. Individuals work with a therapist to replace these patterns with positive behavioral changes.
DBT is a cognitive reappraisal technique. It includes practices such as thought replacement or situational role reversals. In situational role reversals, the person imagines a situation from a different perspective. This exercise can help them develop empathy and cognitive flexibility.
One of the long-term goals of dialectical behavior therapy is to improve distress tolerance. Distress tolerance is the ability to sit with uncomfortable emotions, sensations, and experiences. Emotional dysregulation often comes from a desire to “override” the undesirable feeling. Without awareness, people tend to resort to self-harm, substance abuse, and other behaviors to escape the feeling. Building distress tolerance provides a self-help toolkit. This usually includes self-soothing, distraction, and radical acceptance techniques. With practice, you can learn how to calm yourself down.
Negative emotions are part of our daily lives, and pretending that they don’t exist won’t make them go away. Rather than trying to avoid them, we should try to develop emotional intelligence and regulation skills. Building the ability to self-regulate is crucial to leadership, communication, and relationships. Source