What causes unable to control emotions? 12 possible conditions

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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.

Read More

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Temper Tantrums

Temper tantrums are emotional outbursts of anger and frustration. Tantrums typically begin at about 12-18 months and reach their peak during the "terrible twos." This is the period in child development when childre...

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2

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression affects as many as 13 percent of new mothers. In the U.S., that's half a million women. Learn about symptoms, causes, risks, and more.

Read more »

3

Epilepsy Overview

Epilepsy is a neurological condition caused by malfunctioning brain cells that result in seizures. There is no cure for this disorder but episodes can become less frequent.

Read more »

4

Head Injury

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

A head injury could be an injury to the brain, skull, or scalp. It can vary in severity depending on the cause. In some cases face swelling can be a sign of a head injury.

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5

Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Also known as hypoglycemia, low blood sugar can be a dangerous condition. Hypoglycemia is rare in people who are not suffering from diabetes, the chronic disease that affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar...

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6

Concussion

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. Usually it occurs after an impact to your head or after a whiplash-type injury. A concussion can cause many severe symptoms that affect brain function.

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7

Brain Aneurysm

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

An aneurysm in the brain is a weak area in an artery in the brain that bulges out and fills with blood. It can be unpredictable and life-threatening, and can cause extremely serious conditions.

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8

PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) causes a wide variety of emotional and physical symptoms that occur in the weeks before a woman starts her monthly period.

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9

Dementia Overview

Dementia may affect memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior. Mental impairment must affect at least two brain functions to be considered dementia.

Read more »

10

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a disorder of the nervous system. It causes drowsiness and sleep attacks. It's also known as daytime sleep disorder and cataplexy. The Center for Narcolepsy (CN) at Stanford University School of Medicin...

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11

Rheumatic Fever

Rheumatic fever is one of the complications associated with strep throat. The condition usually appears in children between the ages of 5 and 15, even though older children and adults have been known to contract th...

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12

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Schizotypal personality disorder is one type of eccentric personality disorder. This means that the behavior and mannerisms of someone with this disorder may appear odd to others. Schizotypal personality disorder is o...

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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