Managing Uncontrolled Emotional Outbursts

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Do you find it hard to stay calm in a situation and end up resorting to having an uncontrolled emotional outburst? While you may feel like you just have a bad temper, these volatile reactions can be a sign of a bigger problem. Renewal Oasis recognizes that difficulty regulating your emotions can mean you might be suffering from a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or more. We help people recognize the cause of their temper flare-ups and teach them to overcome them. 

What are Uncontrolled Emotional Outbursts? 

Uncontrolled emotional outbursts are displays of emotion that happen suddenly and feel out of the control of the person who has them. They may be acting on a surge of feelings or reacting to something someone said or an event that happened. The outburst seems out of proportion to what triggered it and can be frightening to both the individual and those who witness it. When these emotional outbursts become a pattern and the individual does not seek treatment for them, they can cause damage to relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners. They can also cause trouble for a person on the job or in school.

Examples of uncontrolled emotional outbursts include: 

  • Lashing out in anger
  • Extreme irritability
  • Treating others with disrespect
  • Crying jags
  • Making threats against others
  • Acting violently including hitting, kicking, or biting others
  • Throwing items
  • Destroying property
  • Self-harm, such as punching the walls or banging their heads


The individual may know that their actions are uncalled for or have some deeper cause than they recognize, but they feel unsure of how to handle the situation. Others may believe their actions are justified and other people are at fault for triggering them. 

What Causes an Uncontrolled Emotional Outburst to Happen? 

When someone has an uncontrolled emotional outburst, they may be unsure of what triggered it. Even if they know why they became upset, they may not understand why their reactions are extreme and repetitive in nature. The cause of these outbursts can vary. Consider that babies are not born with the ability to regulate their emotions, which often causes them to cry uncontrollably nd need consolation. It is only as they become older that they are taught the ability to regulate their emotions. Some children do not have the benefit of a parent or caregiver teaching them the skills to manage their emotions. They may also grow up in a household where others regularly lashed out and did not have their own healthy coping skills in place. This can cause the pattern to repeat in their own lives.

When an uncontrolled burst of emotions happens, there are some common triggers. The person may feel that they have been mistreated or disrespected. They may believe they are being unfairly criticized, misunderstood, or are not getting their needs met. These feelings can be prompted by a conversation, an action, frustration, or a change in their routine. Other contributing factors can include being hungry or tired, or experiencing a hormonal change or imbalance. 

Certain mental health disorders list difficulty controlling a person’s emotions and acting out because of it as a symptom. These conditions include depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As well, someone with untreated trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may have trouble regulating their emotions.

Are Random Emotional Outbursts Dangerous? 

Someone who has no ability to control their emotional outbursts can cause danger to themselves or others. While the person may not mean to act in violent ways, this can happen on a one-time or a regular basis. They may cause physical harm to themselves or to others. These outbursts can escalate to a condition called intermittent explosive disorder. This can result in acts of domestic violence, acting violently toward strangers, engaging in road rage, and more. Because of the potential danger of these outbursts, it’s important to seek a diagnosis of what’s going on and receive professional treatment.

Treatment for Uncontrolled Emotional Outbursts 

Treatment for uncontrolled emotional outbursts depends on what mental health disorder causes them. Any treatment approach should begin with getting a complete assessment to understand the mental health challenges the person faces. A commonly used therapy to help treat people who cannot control their emotional outbursts is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps people identify triggers for their behaviors. From there, they learn to examine their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and change them from negative to positive ones. The person learns to control their impulses and eventually not feel triggered to overreact.

The use of prescription medications can also help regulate a person’s moods and reduce their tendency to lash out. These medications may only be needed on a short-term basis, while others benefit from taking them for longer periods of time.

Contact Renewal Oasis About Treating Emotional Outbursts in Palm Desert, CA

Do you find yourself flying off the handle in anger or crying jags over and over and want help to overcome these uncontrolled emotional outbursts? Renewal Oasis Behavioral Health can provide a thorough assessment to help you understand the source of these episodes and how to no longer feel the urge to engage in them. Our outpatient and residential programs use proven methods of therapy that help you regulate your emotions and address the issues that trigger the outbursts. You can learn to enjoy life on an even emotional keel that not only makes you feel better but helps improve your relationships.

Contact us now to get more information about how we can help you learn to regulate your emotions. Our programs can help you find the peace of mind you deserve.