Psychology and Psychiatry

Emotional instability

Emotional instability is a deviation or a psychological problem, manifested in changes of mood, weak self-control, impulsivity, impetuous actions, as well as other signs of emotional lability. In other words, this is a state that is the opposite of psycho-emotional stability. A psycho-emotionally unstable person reacts inadequately to everyday stimuli. Emotionally labile individuals are difficult to concentrate. Any even a little nuisance of emotionally unstable individuals can disrupt the normal rhythm of life, degrade performance.

What it is

Emotional stability is considered to be the normal state of the human psyche. It is characterized by an adequate response to external stimuli. In other words, emotional stability can be said when the psycho-emotional reactions of individuals correspond to the level of seriousness of the threat or problem. For example, an emotionally stable subject will not start crying because of burnt scrambled eggs. In an emotionally stable individual, strong emotions give rise to serious situations, for example, the loss of a loved one.

Stress, psycho-emotional overwork, hormonal changes have a negative effect on the ability to manage one’s own emotional responses.

Emotionally stable individuals have the following characteristics:

- do not feel causeless irritability;

- can control their own emotions;

- able to make informed decisions;

- there is no impulsiveness;

- ignore minor troubles.

Due to the listed signs, people with a stable psyche are pleasant in communication, not inclined to affects, are excellent workers, since minor difficulties do not affect their ability to make competent decisions, to concentrate and work productively.

Emotional instability is the opposite state of psycho-emotional stability.

A psychoemotional unstable person is characterized by an inadequate response to everyday stimuli. He is having difficulty concentrating; any most insignificant problem can disrupt his usual way of being and lower his working capacity.

Emotional instability is characterized by irritability, spontaneous bouts of anger, and frequent unconscious mood swings.

Causes of emotional instability

The instability of emotions can not be attributed to diseases. It is a deviation of a personal nature, which is revealed in a violent emotional outburst. A person suffering from the described type of disorder is distinguished by mood variability, irritability, impatience, and in some situations - aggressiveness. They keenly perceive the slightest criticism from the environment, it is difficult for them to perceive someone else's opinion.

To this day, it is quite difficult to determine the true factor responsible for the emergence of emotional instability. However, today there are several reasons directly provoking the onset of the analyzed deviation, namely:

- psychological trauma;

- Hypo-or over-care of relatives;

- constant exposure to stressors;

- steady emotional overstrain;

- chronic overwork due to lack of sleep, malnutrition, improper routine;

- psychasthenia;

- deficiency in the body of nutrients;

- hormonal disruptions or adjustment;

- mental disorders: depressive states, neuroses, bipolar disorder, manic disorder;

- the impact of character accentuations;

- side effects of certain drugs;

- Congenital defects of the nervous system.

Also, emotional instability in women can often occur at a certain stage of the menstrual cycle or be a consequence of the approach of menopause. Such a condition is transient and is suppressed by specialized pharmacopoeial drugs aimed at normalizing the ratio of hormones.

In addition, emotional instability may be due to the presence of the following somatic disorders, such as: vascular diseases, hypotension, hypertension, neoplasms in the brain, diabetes mellitus, brain injuries. Here, the instability of emotions should be considered as a symptom of the main disease.

You can also identify factors that exacerbate psychoemotional lability. Emotional instability increases the lack of sleep, malnutrition or poor quality nutrition, stress, lack of rest, deterioration of health, psycho-emotional turmoil, being in uncomfortable conditions, troubled conditions, forced interaction with individuals causing antipathy.

Symptoms of emotional instability

The instability of emotions is of two variations: impulsive and borderline. The borderline type is characterized by a rather developed imagination, excessive impressionability, perceptual mobility, inability to adequately perceive everyday difficulties, affective lability. Any obstacle in the path of such people is perceived by them painfully and unhealthily.

This condition is also referred to as unstable psychopathy. It borders on schizophrenia. Psychic lability of this type originates in puberty. Since this period is characterized by the prevalence of their own desires over generally accepted behavioral norms.

The emotional instability of adolescents here is manifested in restlessness, mood changes, frustration and inattention. A person who has an emotional-labile disorder of this type often cannot adequately perceive the life trials. Therefore, often these particular attitudes towards being lead individuals to alcoholism or drug addiction, they can also push for a crime. Persons with the type of deviation in question have a strongly developed sense of affection, which causes a lack of independence. Such people tend to blackmail their loved ones with their own suicide. They are quite conflicts and love to roll up scandals because of jealousy.

People with emotionally unstable deviation of the impulsive type are subject to excessive excitability. Emotional instability in a child here is characterized by childlike moodiness, touchiness. Such kids are prone to hysteria, aggression. Adults, in addition to these symptoms, are characterized by promiscuity and high sexual activity.

Such individuals often perform public emotional acts, which are often accompanied by outbursts of rage.

Surrounding people are afraid of such behavior, they have no understanding of the actions of individuals suffering from lability of emotions. Therefore, they seek to minimize the interaction with such persons. Individuals suffering from the type of deviation being described are distinguished by uncompromising and cruelty.

People with the lability of emotions are characterized by a violation of self-esteem, the impossibility of building an adequate relationship with society. They feel lonely, as a result of which they make furious attempts to avoid it. They are characterized by sharp mood swings. Such people feel a comprehensive fear because of the need to make adjustments to the plans.


The diagnosis of the disorder described should be carried out by a qualified psychiatrist. In order to assess the condition of the individual, first of all, the specialist observes the patient's behavioral patterns. This allows you to detect specific abnormalities in emotional perception, thought processes, as well as to identify a number of other signs of disorder.

Differential examination of the pathology under consideration is carried out in order to delimit emotional lability from other organic disorders accompanied by a similar or identical clinic.

In addition, the diagnosis of emotional instability depends on its type. Diagnostic examination of emotionally unstable violations of the border type begins with anamnesis, since people with this type of deviation are not aware of themselves. They lack a sense of their own "I", which makes it impossible to reveal their true desires. Such people are prone to erratic relationships, they are constantly changing intimate partners. Such persons try to direct all efforts to avoid loneliness. They are prone to suicidal behavior, because they invariably feel empty and a sense of uselessness.

The impulsive type is characterized by the manifestations below. Patients with emotional instability tend to do sudden things. They do not take into account the possible consequences of their actions. Relationship with the environment lined up on the basis of confrontation. There is anger and tendency to violence. Such patients require immediate encouragement of their own actions, otherwise they do not bring the case to completion. The unstable mood is accompanied by constant moods. With such persons, being near is unpleasant and difficult.

In order to diagnose the violation described, the following characteristics must be present:

- pronounced impulsivity;

- instability of mood;

- reduced ability to plan and take into account the consequences of their own actions;

- lack of self-control;

- bursts of anger affect in response to bans, condemnation.


Before embarking on a corrective action, it is necessary to determine the factors that gave rise to the deviation in question. If emotional lability provoked a somatic ailment, then treatment of manifestations of deviation should be carried out in conjunction with the correction of the main disease. Also therapeutic effects due to the type of deviation.

Correction of the impulsive type implies psychotherapeutic sessions and prescription of drugs aimed at suppressing impulsive states.

Borderline therapy also includes psychotherapy, which is aimed at returning the individual to a real habitat, developing the ability to withstand stressors, improving relationships with the environment, and stabilizing emotional manifestations.

In addition, physical activity of medium intensity, such as swimming, yoga, Pilates, dancing in conjunction with the appointment of various methods aimed at relaxation, including contrast showers, aromatherapy, walking, massage, will help to correct the instability of emotional manifestations.

It is also recommended to exclude situations that provoke activation of emotions. In other words, one should try to avoid interacting with unpleasant people, conflict situations, nervous planners at work. In addition, the practice of prescribing various biologically active drugs. They help to get rid of fatigue, restore normal hormone levels, supply the body with essential substances.

A change of environment is also considered to be superfluous, for example, sanatorium rest, a trip to the country or out of town will have a beneficial effect on the stability of the emotional background.

Individuals suffering from instability of emotions, regardless of the etiological factor, show a full night's sleep.

It is also recommended to correct the food, which plays an important role in the regulation of emotional background. Therefore, it should be included in the daily diet of vegetables, diversify food fruits, dairy products, enrich it with products containing large quantities of omega-3 fatty acids.

Treatment of emotional instability by pharmacopoeial drugs includes the prescription of neuroleptics (eliminating impulsive surges), antidepressants (combating anxiety), mood stabilizers (helping to improve the condition, helping to establish relationships with the environment).