Emotional lability is a term used to describe rapid, often extreme, fluctuations in mood. High emotional lability can be seen in those with borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder, in which you experience a variety of positive emotions with corresponding negative emotions that are also very intense. If emotional lability interferes with your relationships and makes it hard for you to control your mood, it is essential to seek treatment.

Signs of High Emotional Lability

Having high emotional lability can mean experiencing intense feelings that shift and change throughout the day without any reason. It can also mean having inappropriate reactions like laughing when someone falls down or crying hysterically when your favorite sports team loses.

In these states, you lack the ability to “snap out” of these emotions no matter how much you want to. This can put a strain on friendships and relationships if you’re reacting in an extreme fashion.

Types of Emotional Lability

One type of emotional lability is dysphoric mood, where your mood drops rapidly. One minute you may be feeling so happy only to become depressed without any reason why. It can be challenging to predict when these shifts will happen.

Another type of emotional lability is manic or mixed episodes when rapid changes in moods can last for days. This can be the case for those with bipolar disorder, where they experience a range of emotions all at once, like euphoria, irritability, racing thoughts, and impulsivity.

Impact of High Emotional Lability

If you suffer from high emotional lability, you may think that everyone around you has better luck than you do or be envious of others who have good relationships. You may be afraid to attend social gatherings in fear that your rapid mood cycling will get in the way of enjoying yourself. It can be hard to control your emotions when you see something sad on the news, or you may have trouble focusing on tasks if your feelings interfere with your life.

Seeking Treatment

If emotional lability is due to mental health disorders like depression or bipolar disorder, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or a mood stabilizer for the mood swings. Treatment could involve relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.

Therapists can also help you deal with your feelings in constructive ways. Self-care and self-compassion are also important ways to cope, like doing something that makes you feel good. Make sure to eat and sleep right and keep yourself moving. Remember that your friends and loved ones are on your side, so do not be afraid to reach out for help.

Emotional lability is common for those with borderline personality disorder or bipolar disorder. Emotional lability occurs when you experience deep emotions without any reason why. Without keeping your intense emotions under control, they can negatively impact relationships. Speaking to a therapist can make a difference in controlling your mood. At Alta Loma, we understand the importance of mood regulation and mental health care. Our transformative treatment center in Georgetown, Texas, can provide you with individualized therapy, medication management, life skills groups, behavior analysis sessions, and more. Call us today at (866) 457-3843 for more information. 


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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.