Does anyone you know have a tendency to experience and/or express overwhelming emotional reactions to life’s everyday circumstances? This trait is referred to by many names by different institutions of psychology, such as emotional dysregulation, emotional intensity disorder, or borderline personality disorder.
However, they’re not all the same thing. Here are all the key facts about emotional intensity disorder.
What Is Emotional Intensity Disorder?
Emotional intensity disorder is characterized as a form of emotional dysregulation that inhibits individuals from managing their emotions in constructive ways. It involves a unique blend of personality traits that become too rigid or inflexible. People with personality disorders perceive things based on dogmas that they have internalized because of life’s events and experiences.
This disorder tends to manifest in the form of impulsive, shocking, or self-harming behaviors and may thus cause a lot of pain and distress to both the people afflicted and their loved ones.
This disorder can interfere with various areas of life, including one’s work and relationships. You may think that certain traits, such as compassion, or skepticism, may not be harmless. However, in reality, an excess of any trait, even the good ones, is harmful.
Causes Of Emotional Intensity Disorder
Mental health conditions are often tainted with stigma without accounting for the role of external factors. If decades of clinical psychology practice and research have revealed anything about mental health, it is that mental health problems are more often than not caused by a series of negative external stimuli.
As for genetics, what role does your family’s mental health history plays in mental illnesses? No study has unequivocally shown whether or not a person can be born with a personality disorder. Your personality develops over time in response to the kind of environment you are subjected to.
With that being said, studies have found a link between the prevalence of specific personality disorders in people who have a family history of those disorders. A study conducted by the Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, found a positive correlation between the likelihood of borderline personality disorder and family history.
Therefore, although the roots of emotional intensity disorder are manifold, the likelihood of developing certain emotional intensity disorders is higher in people with a family history. However, whether or not that happens depends greatly on the kind of environment they grow up in.
Signs And Symptoms
Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish emotional intensity disorder from a personality type. Not everyone who’s anxious or likes to spend time alone away from people has a disorder. Some human beings are made to work differently.
Emotional personality disorders are diagnosed by a pattern of emotions that lead to self-destructive behaviors. Here are the signs to look out for in a person who may be experiencing an emotional intensity disorder:
#1. Fear Of Abandonment
This runs strongly in people with emotional intensity disorders because they are often terrified of the prospect of loneliness. Something as simple as a partner arriving home late is enough for them to experience intense fear and anxiety.
#2. Unstable Relationships
People with emotional instability may be seen as tyrants who change their minds according to their moods and are often misunderstood by others. Naturally, this bears consequences for their relationships and may even lead to unhealthy relationships.
#3. Mood Swings
Unstable moods are common among people with emotional sensitivity disorder. This is because they are extremely sensitive to stimuli that trigger emotional responses. The simple things that you can brush off, a person with emotional intensity disorder may not be able to.
#4. Explosive Anger
Anger is arguably the most destructive emotion. People with emotional intensity disorders can take what’s only mildly irritating at best to most people as an outrageous offense against them.
Being detached from society or impaired from functioning normally is common in people with emotional intensity disorder. It’s also one of the reasons seeking treatment is imperative.
Therapy Can Help Regulate Intense Emotions
According to the American Psychological Association, brief inpatient hospitalization or partial hospitalization may be recommended in case of certain behaviors, including dangerous impulsive behaviors that cannot be managed with outpatient treatment.
#1. Nonadherence or nonresponsiveness to outpatient treatment protocols.
#2. Danger to self or others, including suicidal tendencies.
#3. Moments of loss of control such as extreme panic, anger, crying with no apparent cause.
#4. Symptoms of severe insufficiency at being able to manage work, family life, or other relationships.
#5. Severely impaired judgment.
Clinical opinions are made on a case-by-case basis, independent of any stringent rules as the psychiatrist will always know their patient more intimately. These are some of the guidelines that are informed by decades of experience and have helped both psychologists and patients in their practice.
Therapy is geared towards creating an environment for positive change and self-reflection. Sometimes, people just need a listening ear and to hear from someone who is mindful of the magnitude of their plight. Seeking professional help is the best recourse, especially if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned.
Treatment for Children and Teens with Emotional Intensity
Studies have often pointed out that younger individuals are at greater risk and experience a more severe form of emotional intensity disorder. This is because children and teens are still in the process of undergoing development both in their minds and bodies. And it doesn’t help that their hormone levels also tend to peak around this age, which influences their behaviors and impulses.
However, the advantage with kids and young adults is that they’re more impressionable. Counseling or therapy with a professional specializing in treating certain age demographics and gender can be of great help.
Gain Control of Your Intense Emotions
A lot of people believe their emotions are something they cannot control. To their credit, it’s true that you cannot control whether or not you’re going to experience an emotion. But what you can definitely gain control over is how you react to it.
The process of developing emotional maturity is rugged for everyone and begins with contemplation to increase your self-awareness. If you meet someone you believe is emotionally mature, that person has likely experienced some challenges and grievances and has come out of it stronger. And this is also something you can strive toward. Always remember, there’s no shame in seeking help.
A Few Parting Words
Some psychologists believe the prevalence of various mental illnesses, including emotional intensity disorder, is on the rise in society. Others hypothesize that they’ve always been around, but the conversation about it took way too long to begin. Emotional intensity disorder is one among many disorders that are sometimes brushed over.
Hopefully, this article helps you gain some more insight into it and, above all, feel a little better if you’re planning to seek treatment or help.