Emotional Dysregulation and Patients

Understanding Emotional Dysregulation in the Minds of Patients

Emotional dysregulation and wound care, how would you describe them? What experience have you witnessed from patients who displayed maladaptive behavioral traits in the wound care clinics and home settings? It probably was erratic and problematic because you could not understand the behavior behind the overwhelming emotions that some patients demonstrated. Many times, patients cannot identify the multiple emotions colliding together in their minds. So, we will learn a bit about emotional dysregulation in the sense of patients with fail to heal wounds. Moreover, we will learn about the psychological definition of emotional dysregulation. The descriptions of the Five traits relate to emotional dysregulation, which leads to personality disorders. Who fits the characteristics of successful healing in wound care and emotional and mental stabilization?

Emotional dysregulation has a poor ability to change emotional responses relating to difficult situations (Onofrei, 2020). Emotional dysregulation is associated with psychological traumas such as emotional and verbally narcissistic relationships, childhood trauma, and other insecure attachment relationships (Onofrei, 2020). Emotionally dysregulated patients may or may not be diagnosed with mental disorders. It evolved into or hyperactivity/ attention-deficient, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, complex post-traumatic disorder, and fetal alcohol disorder (Davis, 2021). The physical manifestations of patients with failed-to-heal wounds who experienced emotional dysregulation are extreme tearfulness, angry outbursts, or behavioral outbursts (Onofrei, 2020). Unfortunately, it damages interpersonally and other significant relationships for patients who have difficulty regulating their emotions (Onofrei, 2020). Many times, they do not have the adaptive tools to rationalize their feelings to respond reasonably (Onofrei, 2020).

The structure of emotional dysregulation stems from the emotional core. It’s damaged by dependency, insecure attachment syndrome, cognitive disorganization from the high level of stress, and social avoidance (Gill et al., 2019). The overarching origin of emotional dysregulation is stimulated by potential threats (Gill et al., 2019). Social isolation is prevalent in avoiding many types of relationships that may reveal unfavorable personality traits about themselves, which leads to shame, guilt, and embarrassment (Gill et al., 2019).

The descriptions of the Big Five theory of Personality Traits are the foundations of emotional dysregulation. The five theories of personality traits are extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and openness (Livesley, 2002). In this blog, there will be only three of the Big Five theories will be explained regarding Emotional Dysregulation. Neuroticism displays the most significant match for describing emotional dysregulation. The emotion is negative, vacillating mood swings from positive to negative responses and vice versa (Livesley, 2002). It is very troublesome for some patients to control their feelings, the pressure to outbursts releases anxiousness in their minds (Livesley, 2002).

Agreeableness is the silent trait displayed to restrain the experiences of potential threats to react negatively or experience anxiety attacks (Livesley, 2002). Submissiveness is another expression that many wound care patients will try to model self-control (Livesley, 2002). In an attempt to create a sense of peace in relationships with others (Livesley, 2002). Patients often practice suppression of negative emotions and practice avoidant behaviors to survive (Livesley, 2002).

Extroversion traits could be used as camouflage or ingenuity (Livesley, 2002). Extroversion is not impossible for some wound care patients to express outgoing personality traits (Livesley, 2002). Personalities are multifaceted, so because someone may be expressing neuroticism in one moment does not mean they cannot express excitement, goodness, and outgoingness to others and themselves (Livesley, 2002).

Interventional Treatments work well for wound patients who demonstrate maladaptive traits. Maladaptive traits are self-destructive behaviors in coping with past and present trauma events (Admin, 2019). Examples of maladaptive traits are expressed as passive-aggressiveness, withdrawal, anger, substance abuse, and maladaptive daydreaming (Admin, 2019). The interventional treatment uses cognitive-behavioral therapy (Livesley,2002). The application of CBT is learning how to identify emotional distresses that trigger the threats to respond uncontrollably in an unfavorable matter (Livesley, 2002). It does not always have negative emotions; it could also be positive emotions overwhelming individuals (Livesley, 2002). CBT brings the patients into mindfulness and strategizes how to unravel those emotions through deep breathing exercises, using a stress ball to release the intense stimulation of tension, and using distraction visualization (Livesley, 2002). 

In conclusion, emotional dysregulation is complex in the minds of many patients suffering from failure to heal wounds. Hopefully, healthcare professionals, family members, friends, significant others, and others will learn to show compassion and sensitivity. CBT is a valuable tool for patients experiencing emotional dysregulation to get control of their lives in a constructive and manageable way. By learning tools to identify and address the colliding emotions in an organized matter. Mental Health Matters. Emotional Health Matters.


The views and opinions stated in this blog are exclusively those of the author and do not reflect those of iWound, its affiliates, or partner companies.


Admin. (2019). Difference between adaptive and maladaptive behavior. Compare the Difference Between Similar Terms. Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-adaptive-and-vs-maladaptive-behavior/

Davis, Ph.D., T. (2021). What is emotional dysregulation? Psychology Today. Retrieved April 25, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/202108/what-is-emotional-dysregulation

Livesley, W. J. (2002). Treating the emotional dysregulation cluster of traits. Psychiatric Annals, 32(10), 601-607. https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/treating-emotional-dysregulation-cluster-traits/docview/217052237/se-2?accountid=36783

Gill, D., Warburton, W., & Sweller, N. (2019). Why do I feel the way I do? Emotional dysregulation and the need to understand the causes of emotions: Research and Reviews. Current Psychology, 1-13. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12144-019-00440-5

Onofrei, A. (2020). THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AUTOMATIC THOUGHTS, NEGATIVE EMOTIONALITY AND BASIC PSYCHOLOGICAL NEEDS. Euromentor Journal, 11(3), 117-138. https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/relationship-between-automatic-thoughts-negative/docview/2507561461/se-2

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