ADHD Emotions: Exploring Emotional Dysregulation

An outline of ADHD

The acronym ADHD stands for “attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.” ADHD symptoms typically first appear in childhood, but many patients do not receive a diagnosis until much later in life, and the disorder frequently lasts into adulthood. In reality, up to 360 million adults may be affected by adult ADHD, according to the Attention Deficit Disorder Association.

As an illness that affects how people’s brains develop, ADHD falls within the category of neurodevelopmental disorders. Studies have shown that major brain regions involved in impulse control, working memory, planning, and other functions are typically different in those with ADHD. These are sometimes referred to as the “executive functions” of the brain.


While each person’s experience of ADHD is unique, it typically manifests as one of three conditions: primary inattention, primary hyperactivity-impulsivity, or a combination.

Symptoms of the inattentive variant of ADHD


a propensity to misplace or ignore objects



Having difficulty starting and completing jobs

difficulty sustaining attention for extended periods of time

The following symptoms can be associated with the hyperactive-impulsive variant of ADHD:


Overindulging in conversation

Difficulty unwinding

High-risk habits such as risky sexual conduct or gambling

Inability to recognize social cues

An ongoing need for stimulation

These kinds of symptoms can make daily living difficult. While children with  symptoms of ADHD may have behavioral problems or struggle academically, adults with ADHD may have difficulties at work or in relationships. This could eventually worsen stress, anxiety, and depression, among other mental health issues.

Knowing what emotional dysregulation is

Emotional difficulties can be common in individuals with ADHD, however they are not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)’s criteria for the disorder.

You may find that, if you have trouble controlling your emotions, your emotional reactions frequently appear out of proportion to the circumstances. When you lose your keys or spill your coffee, for instance, you could lose it all and get furious. Additionally, you may struggle to handle setbacks or have severe mood changes. Your feelings may be the same as those of others, but emotional dysregulation can make them more difficult to manage.

Other instances of emotional dysregulation are given below:

Having trouble getting over unpleasant feelings

Having trouble relaxing Easily getting angry or stressed

having a high threshold for rejection

Not being able to handle boredom

In addition, mental diseases including bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder can present with symptoms of emotional dysregulation. The brain region known as the amygdala, which is normally in charge of processing emotions, may change in individuals with ADHD.

Strategies for controlling the emotions of ADHD

Living with ADHD can present difficulties, one of which is emotion dysregulation. Better relationships and a higher quality of life could be achieved by finding ways to offset it, though. The following techniques might be useful if you wish to enhance your capacity for emotion regulation.

Be cautious of your surroundings.

Observing your thoughts and feelings without passing judgment on them is the practice of mindfulness. While mindfulness can be included into many different types of meditation, awareness is not dependent on meditation. Think about setting aside five minutes every day to sit in silence, noticing your thoughts and feelings, and then allowing them to go. (You can also perform this while walking if you have trouble caused by ADHD.) You might discover that, with regular practice, you can better recognize your sentiments, create a mental distance between your thoughts and your actions, and feel your emotions without becoming overwhelmed by them.

Develop a strategy.

It is usually simpler to control your emotional responses when you have a plan in place. If you find that your emotions are becoming too much to handle, think about compiling a list of go-to techniques. Here are a few illustrations:

Utilizing techniques for deep breathing, such as box breathing, helps relax your nervous system

Relieving stress via gradual muscle relaxation

Exercise in short bursts, such as push-ups, burpees, or jumping jacks

stepping away from the scenario for a little while to allow your mind to clear

Taking a little stroll

Communicating to people that you’re feeling overburdened

Keeping techniques such as these at your disposal could assist you in regaining emotional control.

Control your degree of tension.

Lowering your general level of stress may help you manage emotionally charged situations and lessen mood swings. Making lifestyle adjustments that promote your well-being is usually the first step in this. Exercise on a regular basis, for instance, releases endorphins that improve mood.

Stressful situations could also be less difficult if balanced eating habits are prioritized. Moreover, meditation and mindfulness might be beneficial. The following are some other methods for reducing stress:

maintaining good sleep hygiene, such as putting electronics away early and sleeping in a cool, dark room

Keeping a journal to record your ideas, emotions, and daily struggles

Maintaining proper hygiene

Committing time to your favorite pastimes

Engaging in social interaction on a regular basis

You could discover that by controlling your general stress levels, you have more control over your feelings and reactions.

Look for expert assistance.

Seeking professional assistance may be crucial if you have trouble controlling your emotions as a result of ADHD. Consider starting ADHD therapy with your doctor, if you haven’t already. They might be able to suggest remedies meant to help you become more adept at controlling your emotions.

Therapy is frequently an effective treatment for emotional dysregulation linked to ADHD. Particularly beneficial treatments include dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Generally speaking, the goals of these therapies are to assist you in altering unhelpful thought patterns and acquiring emotional regulation skills.

Commuting to weekly therapy appointments, however, could be difficult if ADHD also causes difficulty with planning ahead or organizing your schedule. In that case, internet counseling might be helpful. You can usually attend therapy sessions from the comfort of your home in a variety of formats thanks to internet-based platforms. If you suffer from ADHD, this might be a more practical choice.

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