When it comes to strong emotions and self control, teenagers can be particularly vulnerable. If your teen is struggling with intense, uncontrolled emotional outbursts, they could simply be dealing with the immense physical and psychological changes associated with going through puberty. The hormones surging through their bodies can make them feel out of control, angry, anxious, or sad without any apparent reason. However, it’s also possible that they may be dealing with a pre-existing condition that is an underlying cause for their strong emotions and emotional dysregulation.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at IED, BPD, and uncontrolled emotional outbursts, and examine some strategies for helping your adolescent son manage intense feelings. We’ll also explore how drug use can exacerbate these issues in young adults and teens. Finally, we’ll also provide you with information about treatments, sober living options, and other resources to help your teen turn their life around.
What is an Uncontrolled Emotional Outburst?
An uncontrolled emotional outburst is a sudden and intense display of strong emotions, such as anger, sadness, or frustration, that is not adequately regulated or managed. It can be triggered by various factors, including stress, hormonal changes, low blood sugar, or other underlying conditions. People experiencing uncontrolled emotional outbursts may find it challenging to control their emotions. This is called emotional dysregulation and it can lead to disruptive and often unpredictable behavior that can impact their relationships and daily life.
Emotional dysregulation is a condition characterized by the inability to control one’s emotional responses to situations. People with mood disorders such as depression, intermittent explosive disorder, and borderline personality disorder often experience emotional dysregulation, but it can also occur as a result of other pre-existing conditions or neurological conditions.
Emotional dysregulation can manifest as emotional lability, which is the tendency to experience sudden and extreme shifts in mood. This can include sudden irritability or anger, intense sadness or anxiety, and feelings of emptiness or numbness. Emotional dysregulation can be triggered by stressful situations or by something as simple as low blood sugar.
Understanding Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)
Everyone experiences intense emotions from time to time, but some teenagers develop a condition known as Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). This is characterized by intense outbursts of anger and violence that can be both verbal and physical. IED is considered a form of impulsive behavior, and it can damage relationships with family members, friends, teachers, or other authority figures.
Intermittent explosive disorder is a condition that causes people to respond to situations with intense emotional outbursts and intense physical aggression. IED is characterized by severe outbursts of anger and aggression that are disproportionate to the problem or situation. These reactions are often disproportionate to the initial stimulus and can include shouting, swearing, or throwing objects. While IED is most common in teenage boys, it can also occur in girls and even adults.
How IED and Borderline Personality Disorder Differ and Intersect
The powerful emotions associated with IED can have a serious impact on the child’s life, making it difficult to form and maintain healthy relationships, both socially and professionally. In addition to dealing with strong emotions, some teens may also struggle with borderline personality disorder (BPD), which is often characterized by mood swings, impulsivity, disproportionate emotions, and difficulty with emotional regulation. People with BPD may often exhibit fierce anger or even extreme sadness, frustration, or guilt.
How Do They Differ?
Although intense emotional expression is a common symptom of both IED and BPD, the two disorders have distinct differences.
With IED, intense outbursts tend to occur in response to an external stimulus or provocation. Following the episode, the individual feels relieved of tension and is often unaware of the disproportional emotional reaction that has just taken place.
In contrast, intense outbursts associated with BPD are recurrent and unpredictable. They often occur in response to intense negative emotions such as intense shame, frustration, or guilt. Following the episode, the individual is aware of their severe emotional reaction and may experience intense feelings of guilt or remorse.
How Do They Intersect?
It is important to note that IED and BPD can overlap with one another, so it is possible for a person to experience emotional outbursts associated with both disorders. If your teen exhibits frequent emotional outbursts accompanied by intense feelings of shame or guilt, they may be experiencing a combination of symptoms of IED and BPD.
Managing Your Teen’s Emotional Outbursts
For people struggling with emotional outbursts, emotional control, or emotional lability, managing intense feelings can be complicated as they struggle to control their impulses and are unable to regulate their emotions in the face of external stimuli. This can lead to severe feelings that are often disproportionate to the initial trigger.
If your child is displaying strong emotional outbursts, it is vital to stay calm and try to keep the situation as non-confrontational as possible. This can help to defuse intense emotions before they have the chance to escalate. It is also essential to provide your child or teen with a supportive and non-judgmental environment where they can openly express their powerful emotions without fear of judgment.
If your teen is struggling to manage their intense feelings, there are a few things you can do to help them. Of course, you should wait until they are in a calm state of mind to broach the following topics. First, try to encourage them to express their feelings in a constructive way. This could involve journaling, talking to a therapist, or participating in an anger management program. It is also important to provide a supportive and non-judgmental environment for your teen, as this can help them feel safe to express their intense feelings without fear of judgment or criticism.
In some cases, medication may be helpful in managing intense stress and emotional outbursts. Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help reduce overwhelming emotions and improve levels of emotional regulation. However, it is crucial to speak to your mental health professional and qualified physician before beginning any medication for intense emotional outbursts, as there can be serious side effects.
How Drug Addiction Impacts IED and BPD
Drug addiction is unfortunately common in individuals with intense emotional outbursts, including those with IED or BPD diagnoses. This is because intense emotional outbursts can lead to intense feelings of guilt and shame, or other forms of emotional stress which can trigger intense cravings for drugs or alcohol. They may use drugs and alcohol as a means to escape from their intense emotional outbursts.
If your teen is struggling with intense emotional outbursts and substance abuse, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. There are a variety of treatment options available, including therapy, medication, and sober living programs.
Therapy can be an incredibly helpful tool in helping your teen learn to manage intense emotions and improve their emotional regulation skills. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help your teen identify these emotions before they escalate and learn new coping strategies for managing intense feelings. In some cases, medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may also be helpful in reducing severe emotional outbursts.
Sober living programs can also be a strong and beneficial tool in helping your teen manage strong emotions and maintain sobriety. Sober living programs provide a safe and supportive environment for teens to work on their recovery from intense emotional outbursts as well as substance abuse. Not only this, sober living programs often provide lessons and tools by which a person can learn to cope with and alter their emotional responses.
When it comes to intense emotional outbursts, it is essential to remember that you are not alone. There are a variety of resources available to help you and your teen manage their emotions, including therapy, medication, and sober living programs.
It is also important to remember that intense emotional outbursts can be difficult for everyone involved. Make sure to provide yourself with adequate support as well so that you can continue to be a supportive parent in the face of powerful emotions. Above all, remember to keep your teen’s intense emotional outbursts in perspective and to stay calm and non-judgmental when discussing how to manage overwhelming emotions with them. With the right help and support, you can help your teen manage their intense feelings more effectively.
New Life House’s sober living program for young adults offers a safe and controlled environment for adolescents to work through intense emotional outbursts. Our philosophy focuses on teaching practical emotional regulation skills and long-term recovery strategies. We understand the unique challenges that teens face when it comes to intense feelings, and we have experience in helping them navigate these feelings in healthy ways. If you believe your teen could benefit from a supportive sober living environment and some help from a mental health provider, please contact us today to learn more.
Last Updated on August 16, 2023