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Emotional dysregulation (ED) is a term used in the mental health community to refer to an emotional response that is poorly modulated, and does not fall within the conventionally accepted range of emotive response. ED may be referred to as labile mood (marked fluctuation of mood) or mood swings.
Possible manifestations of emotional dysregulation include angry outbursts or behavior outbursts such as destroying or throwing objects, aggression towards self or others, and threats to kill oneself. These variations usually occur in seconds to minutes or hours. Emotional dysregulation can lead to behavioral problems and can interfere with a person's social interactions and relationships at home, in school, or at place of employment. It is often seen in the context of a Conduct disorder.
Emotional dysregulation can be associated with an experience of early psychological trauma, brain injury, or chronic maltreatment (such as child abuse, child neglect, or institutional neglect/abuse), and associated disorders such as reactive attachment disorder. Emotional dysregulation may present in people with psychiatric disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and Complex post-traumatic stress disorder. ED is also found among those with autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger syndrome. In such cases as borderline personality disorder, hypersensitivity to emotional stimuli causes a slower return to a normal emotional state. This is manifested biologically by deficits in the frontal cortices of the brain.
The word dysregulation is a neologism created by combining the prefix "dys" to "regulation" According to Webster's, dys has various roots. With Latin and Greek roots, it is akin to Old English tō-, te- apart and in Sanskrit dus- bad, difficult.
See also 
- Attachment theory
- Emotional self-regulation
- Conduct disorder
- Oppositional defiant disorder
- Labile affect
- Complex post traumatic stress disorder
- Spiritual crisis
- The WAVE Trust
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