Unable to control emotions
Emotional content floods the brain in response to our experiences, physiological and psychological states. Most of us learn how to prevent emo...

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Definition

Unable to control emotions is a symptom of emotional content intruding into thought processes in such a manner that behaviors become disruptive.

Alternative Names

Can’t control emotions, emotional outburst, can not control emotions, lack of emotional control, no emotional control.

Synopsis

Emotional content floods the brain in response to our experiences, physiological and psychological states. Most of us learn how to prevent emotions from interfering with functioning as we mature. An area of the brain responsible for executive function decision making exerts an inhibitory process over the part of the brain that processes emotions. Some people do not cope well with intense emotional stimulation and are not able to control their emotional responses or behaviors. This may be due to brain damage, hormonal imbalances, a personality disorder, substance abuse, a medical condition or a psychiatric disorder. In general, children are less able than are adults to control their emotions, so it is the responsibility of adults who care for them to teach them emotional control.

If lack of emotional control persists into adolescence, is new in onset and appears abnormal at any age, or represents a change in personality or behavior, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the diagnosis.

Associated Diagnoses

  • PTSD
  • ADHD
  • Adjustment disorder
  • Alcohol related disorders
  • Autism
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Head injury
  • Psychosis
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Tantrums
  • Dementia
  • Delirium
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Postpartum depression
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Low blood sugar

Diagnosis and Treatment

If lack of emotional control persists into adolescence, is new in onset and abnormal at any age, or represents a change in personality or behavior, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the diagnosis. Treatment will depend on the diagnosis.

Call 911

If the individual is agitated and is danger of harming him or herself or others.

Written by: JC Jones MA, RN
Reviewed by: Paul Auerbach, MD
Written: December 18, 2007
Last Updated: December 31, 2007
Published By: Healthline Networks Inc.
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