The Link Between ADHD and Emotional Dysregulation Treatment

Attention hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD) is pretty common for adolescents. Many parents know the struggle to recognize the symptoms of ADHD: attention issues, problems staying still, inability to organize, talks too much, doesn’t seem to listen, seems to never slow down. There’s many more symptoms to watch for, but one is missing from the DSM-V list, and more than a few researchers think it needs to be added: emotional dysregulation. It’s not incredibly unusual for ADHD and emotional dysregulation treatment to be needed together–and some professionals think that’s because emotional dysregulation can be a symptom of ADHD.

What is emotional dysregulation?

Emotional dysregulation is much more than simple teen mood swings. It’s a “failure to regulate emotion.” It can happen temporarily or it can occur fairly often–even constantly. In these situations, it’s often a sign of a deeper untreated issue, such as ADHD. It can manifest as anger filled outbursts, like being unnecessarily aggressive towards others or destroying objects around them.

Emotional dysregulation doesn’t just appear with ADHD, it can be associated with trauma, reactive attachment disorder, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and more. The inability to control and manage emotions can lead to extreme disruptions in daily life, making work, home, and school difficult to get through–this is when emotional dysregulation treatment is necessary.

The connection between ADHD and emotional dysregulation

In a study conducted by the Center for Pediatric Excellence in Ottawa, Canada, researchers confirmed a strong link between ADHD and emotional dysregulation–which could play a large role in shaping future ADHD and emotional dysregulation treatment. They found that individuals with ADHD had an impairment with processing emotional stimuli, which could definitely lead to emotional outbursts.

Furthermore, they found that these “inappropriate responses” to triggers could be externalized or internalized. Externalized would be shown as aggressive, argumentative, sometimes physically violent. Internalized would be moody, sad, or withdrawn. The researchers believe that the information they collected poses a strong argument for updated emotional dysregulation treatment methods when paired with ADHD.

Recognizing the link more often

There’s a strong need for more clinicians to start recognizing the link between ADHD and emotional dysregulation. According to Philip Asherson, Ph.D, when a clinician is less familiar with ADHD, they’re much less likely to think of emotional dysregulation treatment and to jump to bipolar disorder or depression instead. This is because emotional dysregulation still is not officially considered a possible symptom of ADHD. This can get in the way of effective and efficient ADHD treatment.

If you believe your child may be struggling with emotional dysregulation, it’s critical to seek out a professional for further guidance on how to move forward.

Elevations offers emotional dysregulation treatment

Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center for struggling teens, ages 13 to 18. We have the ability to offer emotional dysregulation treatment if a student needs it. Our students often grapple with anxiety, defiant behavior, academic struggles, depression, ADHD, drug use, and other emotional or behavioral issues. At Elevations, we use a combination of a focused therapeutic lens, real-world environment, secure setting, and caring staff to foster growth and success in our students. We strive to give the best help for struggling teen issues.

For more information about emotional dysregulation treatment at Elevations RTC, please call .

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