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How to control poor control of anger, emotions and unpredictable mood swings?

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Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar

Psychiatrist

Practicing since :2003

Answered : 2190 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 in Mental Health
Question: i get upset very easy, i say things i dont mean and get very loud.
I am the boss at work and people are affraid of me, theyt never know what type of mood i will be in.
This has caused the ruin of all of my relationships and makes me feel very bad for the people that work for me.
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Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 2 hours later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

From your description, it appears that your predominant problems are poor control of your anger / emotions and having unpredictable mood swings. I'm sorry to hear that these problems have caused you a lot of personal, social and occupational difficulties. It's a good thing that you have been able to realize your problem and have sought help.

Now, the basic or root cause of your problems seem to be a poor impulse control - this is what may be causing you to become easily upset, have anger outbursts and say or do things which you do not mean. This also seems to be associated with some degree of emotional dysregulation, where you start feeling bad about your actions or behaviour and which is why people around you find your mood rather unpredictable.

In my opinion, this does not seem to be a psychiatric disorder, but rather seems to be unhealthy trait in your personality. Now that you have been able to realize your problem, the next step would be to take active steps to better yourself. You should be prepared to put in sincere efforts, take help and guidance from a professional, and be patient to slowly start practicing better emotional regulation.

I would give you the following suggestions:
1) Start make a daily diary record of the major instances where you had become impulsive and lost your temper. Now, there should be three columns in this diary: A-B-C...
A for "Antecedant" i.e., what issue or problem anteceeded or preceeded your impulsivity
B for "Behaviour" i.e., what was your behavioural response or reaction
C for "Consequence" i.e., what was the consequence of your behaviour
Now, when you start making a regular record of the A-B-Cs, you will very soon be able to find patterns or similarities in your behavioural responses. As this gives you an better insight, you should slowly try to figure out how the "B" could have been modified in order to avoid a bad "C".

2) Practice relaxation techniques like XXXXXXX breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, etc. Often underlying anxiety and tension are major precipitants for emotional dysregulation. So, maybe, if can dedicate 10 minutes of your time every morning to frist bring your mind to a relaxed state, it will go a long way in helping you handle the pressures of the day better.

3) Stress-management and coping skills are something you have to master. If you do this, then situations or problems will not seem that 'irritating' or 'frustrating'. Stress is one of the major contributors for a variety of psychological problems. So, don't take too much which you cannot handle. Periodically take breaks to de-stress or recuperate yourself. There are also CDs or downloadable material available on the internet on stress management which can be beneficial to you.

4) Avoid substances like alcohol, tobacco, coffee, caffeinated drinks or energy drinks, etc. as these can all worsen anxiety and worsen emotional dysregulation. -

5) Follow a healthy lifestyle - with adequate physical exercise and a nutritious and balanced diet. This not only keeps your body healthy, but also helps your mind.

6) Finally, practice, practice practice. Set small and realistic goals for yourself. Remember, it is impossible fo an someone to change his personality overnight. So, work slowly and set gradual targets. Practice the anger / stress management and relaxation techniques regularly and repeatedly. Record your improvements - as they will improve your confidence and motivate you to do better.

I think that it would be a good idea to go for a few counselling sessions with a psychiatrist or psychologist, so that therapy can be more targetted and personalized.

Wish you all the best.

Regards,
Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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