What is Emotional Dysregulation?

What is Emotional Dysregulation?

Emotional dysregulation refers to difficulty in managing emotions or in keeping them in check. These may also be thought of as mood swings or labile moods. It can involve experiencing intense emotions such as sadness, irritability, frustration, or anger that are comparatively more heightened than expected, relative to the situation that triggered them.

What is emotional dysregulation?

Emotion dysregulation involves difficulties with negative affective states e.g., sadness and anger.

Emotional dysregulation might affect children or adults. Adolescents may be particularly at risk due to this developmental period in a person’s life being recognizably a time of increased stress due to puberty and peer context. Although it is a common perception that children learn to manage their emotions as they grow up, for some effectively managing emotions continues to be problematic well into adulthood.

Those with emotional dysregulation might not easily recognize their own emotions and can become confused or guilty about emotions experienced such that behavior is not readily controlled and decision making becomes a challenge.

Experiencing intense emotions can lead to situations in which a sufferer is unable to calm down easily. People with emotional dysregulation might try to avoid difficult emotions and when experiencing them they can easily become impulsive. Another example is that those with emotional dysregulation might be overly negative. As a result, there is a risk for:

  • 焦慮
  • 沮喪
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • 自殘

Other symptoms include high-risk sexual behaviors, extreme perfectionism, and eating disorders.

In children emotional dysregulation exhibits itself through temper tantrums, crying, and refusing to talk or to make eye contact.

Over time the condition may interfere with the quality of life leading to interpersonal problems, issues at home and work, or, in the case of children, at school.

Causes of emotional dysregulation

Scientists believe that in the experience of emotional dysregulation there is a problem with the emotional braking mechanism in the brain caused by a reduction in the response of certain neurotransmitters. This leads an individual to experience an ongoing “fight or flight” response whereby the pre-frontal cortex shuts down in times of heightened stress.

There a several possible reasons why a person may develop this condition and it is often co-morbid with another larger mental health problem (see below). Possible causes are:

1. Child neglect

In the case of neglect, there is a failure on the part of the caregiver to cater to the basic needs of the child. Here the caregiver does not provide adequate levels of physical and or emotional care.

2. Early childhood trauma

Whereby traumatic events are experienced early on in life during the critical period of a child’s development.

3. Traumatic brain injury

Brain dysfunction is caused by a dramatic blow to the head, for example.

4. Chronic invalidation

When a person’s thoughts and feelings are repeatedly ignored, rejected, or else judged.

Are video games good or bad for kids? A global debate hits home for the holidays

Are video games good or bad for kids? A global debate hits home for the holidays

So we’ve just been through Black Friday, and we’re on the eve of Cyber Monday. It’s all about shopping for those who can afford it, and at the top of many a list, here on the East End, as well as across America and worldwide, are all kinds of video games. It’s as good a time as any to consider the good, the bad, and the ugly of the decades-old video game craze.

For the uninitiated, some brief background: there are plenty of free video games – just download them on a PC or smartphone, and they’re yours. Purchase of video games since the early 2000s is mostly through online distributors over the broadband internet.

Increasingly common, as a method of selling games, is digital distribution by the ever-powerful, internet business titans such as Game, Amazon.com, PlayStation Store, GamesStop and a few others. Long gone are the optical discs, magnetic storage, flash memory cards, and ROM cartridges that first brought us video games back in the 1980s.

Interestingly, the progress of video game technology has had much to do with most of the advances of technology in general. In other words, video game R&D consistently brings overall internet technology to higher levels.

Now we have platforms entirely devoted to video games, such as Origin and Steam, to name only two. These offer centralized services, where one can purchase and download digital content for one’s own PC, or even specific video game consoles.

Yet, with all the truly incredible improvement in what is now a huge, global industry, we’re only beginning to understand the effect of this growth that still gains inadequate attention: the impact of video games on children’s brains, intelligence and mental health.

Early Intervention Research Group reviews surveys and other data on this question. They find that children aged 2-4 spend an average of 20 minutes per day on video games; kids 5-8 play an average of 40 minutes per day; and 8-12 year-olds play video games an average of 80 minutes per day.

The Early Intervention Research Group finds that there is little research on the effect of popular video games on the developing brains of children. The research that has been done shows quite a positive and beneficial effect of video games and apps on brain development if the games are interactive and educational. On the other hand, video games that are exclusively entertaining or violent have a clearly negative effect of child brain development.

One highly regarded study finds that educational video games that involve movement and exercise, called “exergames,” can improve overall, main functions of the brain, and even improve kids’ decision-making.

Another study on “characters” in educational games concluded that creating a strong bond with in-game characters can improve a child’s learning.

Yet another study on educational games found they help kids learn coding, literacy and math skills.

American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to watch educational video games and other programs with their children, citing the above studies and others. The academy encourages “interaction” with children during their game time, with parents or other adults asking questions and praising correct answers, which significantly helps their children or students learn better from the program.

The respected nonprofit organization Healthy Gamer maintains a platform designed to help the internet generation to succeed. They define their mission as helping people on the internet take control of their mental health.

On their website, Healthy Gamer stands for the proposition that video games are not inherently evil. Excessive use of video games, however, can lead to addiction, and their worrisome and daunting list of video games’ negative effects can be summarized as follows: dopamine addiction, reduction in motivation, escapism and getting “stuck in life,” poor academic or professional performance, poor mental health, relationship issues, social disconnection, emotional suppression, repetitive-stress injuries, and exposure to toxic gaming environments.

With all these findings considered, still much is unknown. Most research has been with young kids and adolescents. Very little is known of the impact of video games on middle childhood (ages 6-12.) Pediatricians, educators and mental health professionals in the U.S. urge more studies for this fragile age group.

But there’s one Big Brother world power that’s not waiting for more research. In early October, the Chinese Communist regime, through one of its “newspapers,” pronounced video games to be “spiritual opium.” Is this a case of the proverbial, broken clock telling the correct time twice each day?

This pronouncement is the latest in China’s crackdown on technology companies, according to the Associated Press. Tech firms’ ubiquitous messaging, payments and gaming services, growing facts of life in the U.S. and Western society in general, have far too much influence on the Chinese people, their government has decreed.

The AP goes on to report that gaming giant Tencent, whose online multiplayer game Honor of Kings enjoys enormous popularity globally, as well as the gaming firm NetEase, issued curbs on gaming time for minors in China within hours of the Chinese Communist regime’s pronouncement.

Talk about getting the message.

Then, according to a “notice” from Beijing’s National Press and Publication Administration, minors in China can play video games only 8-9 p.m. on Fridays, weekends and public holidays. Children under the age of 12 are banned entirely from making in-game purchases.

With millions of children in China now prohibited from playing online games for more than three hours per week, the video game industry suffers its harshest restrictions ever, and many predict there’s more to come out of Beijing.

But when it comes to Western society, the technology sector well knows “how the West is won.” Yet another, new cutting-edge video game technology that utilizes “virtual reality” increasingly gains in popularity. Tech companies continue to think far out of the box, and astonishingly huge fortunes are made every day by entrepreneurs, tech geeks, college students and ordinary people with extraordinary ideas. But will the cost on our society and particularly on our kids at the altar of tech turn out to be far higher than all this is worth?

Our cherished, high-tech gaming adventure, or misadventure, may well bring us to a place envisioned by T.S. Elliot not too long ago: “And the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.”

Teach children how to be responsible for their own learning to gain agency

Teach children how to be responsible for their own learning to gain agency

One cannot fail to notice that concerns about mental health and wellbeing are increasingly figuring in all news media, especially in relation to young people. This raises questions as to whether this is primarily a product of our rapidly changing, volatile and unpredictable times, or a lack of parenting and schooling practices that fail to develop strong volition, perseverance and the capability to deal with life’s inevitable challenges. Challenges, albeit in different forms, have always been part of human history. For example, bullying was ever-present in yesteryear, but we hear more about it nowadays, especially in relation to the online environment. Similarly, poverty and discrimination of various kinds are not new existential phenomena, they have always been part of human interactions – or the lack of them.

Certainly, statistics paint a disturbing picture, with one in eight children and adolescents in the UK experiencing a mental illness (NHS, 2018). The high prevalence of depression and anxiety in young people is often said to be a result of the lack of resilience among them. Similarly, Loretta Breuning, in her article Why I Don’t Believe Reports of a Mental Health Crisis (2014) argues that the escalating emotional distress experienced by millennials is, in part, due to over-reliance on mental-health services, which aim to alleviate natural emotional responses. She maintains that by depending on mental-health services individuals do not learn how to manage life’s disappointments themselves, and consequently often lack self-reliance.

Invariably, aspects of all the above scenarios will apply to some individuals, certainly not all, and generalisations can be dangerous. In this article, I will focus on what can be done to help students to self-regulate their learning and maintain a positive sense of wellbeing. Also, to identify environments and experiences that have negative effects, and how best to mitigate the consequences.

In the final analysis people, young and old, irrespective of culture or context, have to make choices and take action on how they respond to the demands that the external environment may throw at them – whether caused by their prior actions, the actions of others, or serendipity. Furthermore, they must fully realise that their ability to effectively manage internal perceptions and emotional states is a crucial part of self-regulation and maintaining wellbeing.

We know from extensive research that a whole host of physical, social and emotional experiences have massive implications for brain development, physical and mental wellbeing. For example, Swaab (2015) summarising the evidence, highlights: Children who are seriously neglected during their early development… have smaller brains; their intelligence and linguistic and fine motor control are permanently impaired, and they are impulsive and […]



聖誕節很快就要到了。什麼可能會讓你感覺更好——收到禮物,或者送給有需要的人? 研究 is clear that, as the proverb goes, it’s better to give than to receive.

“Doing kind things makes you feel better,” says Andrew Miles, a sociologist at the University of Toronto. “It fulfils a basic psychological need, like giving our bodies appropriate food. It helps you feel like your life is valuable.”

Miles is currently leading a large, controlled study aiming to quantify the ways in which doing good may help to counter the 焦慮 and depression that currently undermines the health and well-being of many people in all walks of life.

And the need for kindness may have never been greater. The economic, educational and vocational stresses associated with the pandemic continue to take a toll. In addition, the media, the internet, and even neighbourhood streets are often filled with physical threats and hateful remarks directed at large segments of the population.

Although members of minority groups, be they racial, ethnic, religious or sexual, are increasingly willing to speak out against verbal and physical attacks and discrimination, many targeted individuals continue to suffer in silence. Little wonder that rates of anxiety and depression remain high.

Children, who can readily sense the emotional distress of their caregivers, often share the pain. But experts say there’s an antidote that could benefit everyone. They call it “prosocial behaviour”, or acting in ways that help other people.

Too often, parents place a higher value on getting good grades or winning at sport than on helping people who need it

In her recently published book, 社會正義育兒, Traci Baxley, an associate professor of education at Florida Atlantic University, emphasises the rewards of teaching compassion and kindness to a new generation. Her goal in fostering a more just world for all is to raise children “who can ultimately self-advocate, empathise with others, recognise injustice, 以及 become proactive in changing it”.

Her book, which I found hard to put down, is replete with excellent examples and advice that can help parents raise children with a healthy self-image and regard for the welfare of others. She writes, “It is our obligation to teach our children to stand up and be allies for groups that are marginalised and silenced.”

Baxley, the mother of five children, tells me that upon returning to school after the pandemic lockdown, many young people experienced an increase in depression and social anxiety that can be counteracted by prosocial behaviour. “Just seeing compassion and kindness in action releases chemicals in the brain that helps them calm down,” she says. “It slows the heart rate and releases serotonin, which counters symptoms of depression.”

Prosocial behaviour may come naturally to some. Even children as young as two or three may spontaneously share a treat or toy with an unhappy playmate. But most children need to learn it from the same people who teach them to say “please” and “thank you”, and the earlier in life that happens, the better.

For starters, prosocial behaviour requires compassion and empathy, the ability to recognise and care about the needs and well-being of others. But compassion without constructive follow-up benefits no one. Step two is kindness, aka compassion in action. You may be distressed to see an elderly person struggling with heavy packages, but unless you offer to help or at least express a wish to help but explain why you can’t, your compassion goes to waste.

One of my proudest moments as a grandmother was learning that a grandson, aged six, comforted a classmate who had become motion sick on a school bus trip. While other children on the bus moved away in disgust, my grandson put his arm on the ill child and asked if he felt better.

As my four grandchildren continued to grow, I realised that all of them had too much “stuff”, and I’d been remiss by adding to the pile with my Christmas gifts of toys and clothes. Henceforth, I told them, I would give them money to donate to any nonprofit group they choose that works to better the lives of others or the world. One boy picked a tutoring programme for needy children; one chose an after-school sports programme; another with deep interest in the environment sent his gift to the American Forests; and the youngest, age 10, gave to a local food bank.

Baxley recounts similar episodes in 社會正義育兒. She tells of a son’s excitement at finding a $20 bill, then soon after giving it to an immigrant family holding a sign that read “Can you please help us with our rent?”

Too often, Baxley said, parents place a higher value on getting good grades or winning at sport than on helping people who need it. She said it’s also important to foster a child’s emotional well-being by accepting and nurturing the child you have, not trying to forcefully create the one you want. A child who lacks athletic ability and spurns sport should not be made to participate in one because the parent values it and it could help the child get into college, she said.



除了可能在學校受到欺凌外,現在還增加了對 父母 在線網絡欺凌,這可能難以監控和檢測。

反欺凌慈善機構 Ditch the Label 發現,英國 10-15 歲的兒童中有近五分之一 (19%) 經歷過網絡欺凌,相當於大約 764,000 名兒童。 That’s a huge and worrying number.

To help parents navigate online bullying, 環境音 與兒童發展專家和在線育兒社區創始人 Kalanit Ben-Ari 博士合作, 村莊, to share tips on how to spot if your child is being bullied online and how to approach the situation.

How online trolling can affect a child

Short term effects

“Online trolling can harm a child’s sense of safety, joy, and trust in others. It can cause them to withdraw from social interactions, anxiety and be closed off in their bedroom, affecting their self-esteem, mental health, and in some cases their body confidence. If the child has a strong connection with their family, they can reach out to an adult for appropriate support and guidance. Sleeplessness is also a common short-term effect of online bullying.”

Long term effects

“Unfortunately, the effect can even be more devastating when children don’t have a strong connection with their family, and the child or teenager has no educational or emotional support systems to enable them to cope with the situation. This can worsen the long-term consequences of being bullied. Such as chronic depression, substance abuse, self-half, and suicidal thoughts/attempts.”

How to spot the signs your child is being bullied online

Changes in your child’s behaviour

“Changes could include, but are not limited to, anxiety, withdrawal from friends and family, closing themselves off in their bedroom, feeling upset and expressing sadness without a clear reason as to why.”

They stop taking part in activities

“Many victims of online and offline bullying experience that they no longer participate in activities they used to enjoy. This usually ties in with victims of bullying no longer seeing people that they used to.

“Look out for an obsession with being online, checking messages all the time, feeling stressed and anxious if they are not able to do so constantly.”

They are isolating themselves

“Your child may appear to be isolating themselves within the home, expressing anger, or showing an unexpected decline in their schoolwork. The signs can vary in intensity and quantity from one child to the next, but if there is very little joy in their life, or they are trying to avoid school or their usual social life this can be a clear indicator of an issue such as online trolling.”

How to help if you think your child is a victim of online trolling

Initiate a safe conversation

“Initiate a conversation while you are busy doing another activity, such as walking or driving, so the child or teenager doesn’t need to maintain eye contact. Safe conversations mean speaking without any judgment or strong emotions as this can lead them to close up even more.

“The message that you want to portray is that your child will not regret sharing their struggle with you. Parents should avoid blaming or shaming, allowing space for the teen or child to talk about what is going on for them and explore together what can be done to resolve the situation.”

Get the school involved

“Reporting bullying incidents to the child’s school is essential for the bullying to be taken seriously. There is also a need, between parents and schools, to educate children about online safety.”

Show them privacy settings

“It is important to educate them about privacy settings on social media, and about not engaging with people they do not know directly and in person.”

Monitor your children online

“From restricting screen time, blocking apps at certain areas and filtering what content kids can see, security apps permit parents to customize the apps to their family. There are many apps you can choose from, some free and some at a subscription cost.”



ADHD doesn’t only affect attention. Better considered an executive function and self-regulation deficit, ADHD affects the whole person — the mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social self. It increases daily stress and chips away at a positive sense of self. It interferes with self-care and makes it hard to keep healthy habits.

This helps to explain why ADHD is linked to chronic stress, burnout, anxiety , mood disorder , sleep problems , substance use, and other conditions and issues. The reverse is also true: chronic stress and anxiety can worsen ADHD symptoms.

ADHD impacts the whole self, so is treatments must likewise target more than inattention and impulsivity. Integrative medicine is growing in popularity because it’s a treatment approach that addresses symptoms and promotes general health and wellness. Integrative Medicine for People with ADHD: Index of Topics

What Is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine considers the whole person and leverages all options — holistic thinking , complementary therapies , and conventional treatments — in devising a patient’s care plan.

Studies exploring the effectiveness of integrative approaches for ADHD specifically are limited. Moreover, the most common treatments for ADHD are the conventional – medication and psychotherapy. Still, just as ADHD affects many aspects of wellbeing, a variety of treatments and approaches can do the same.

As an integrative practitioner, my approach for treating patients with ADHD is this: If the 多動症症狀 are significantly impairing, I start with medication, and then phase in other strategies, often outside of conventional care. If the ADHD symptoms are mild to moderate, the non-medication and lifestyle approaches can be tried first.

Over time, as the other skills and strategies are employed, the need for medication can be re-evaluated and the dose reduced.

An example of an integrative medicine plan for ADHD may combine psychotherapy (a conventional strategy), stress-management skills (holistic thinking), and omega-3 fatty acids (a complementary supplement).

Conventional Treatments for ADHD

Holistic Wellness and Lifestyle Approaches for ADHD

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

  • Brain-gut health
  • Acupuncture

Integrative Medicine for ADHD: Combining Holistic & Conventional Care

Most of the following approaches address ADHD’s secondary symptoms — namely stress, anxiety, mood, low self-esteem, 和 情緒失調. Treating these factors can help decrease the severity and impairment of ADHD’s core symptoms.

Stress Management and Executive Function


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps patients develop a greater understanding of their ADHD symptoms and teaches skills that help with 執行功能障礙.

CBT aims to improve patients’ problem-solving and stress-management skills by setting realistic goals and teaching organizational and time-management skills to achieve them. This type of psychotherapy can also improve balanced thinking and communication skills by focusing on one’s unique challenges (e.g., history of 創傷 or other comorbid mental health conditions).


Like CBT, coaching helps individuals meet their goals and develop skills to address ADHD-related barriers along the way.


Mindfulness — a practice that includes meditation as well as awareness shifts in daily activities — has been shown to improve both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms, as well as selected measures of attention, emotion regulation, and executive functions1.

By analysis of automatic habits, the practice allows you to change them in the moment. For example, mindful awareness may help you realize that you are procrastinating, and help you tune in to the emotions that are driving the 拖延.


A facet of mindfulness, practicing self-compassion is particularly important for mental health. Offering yourself some validation and kindness — “This is hard. I’m stressed. I’m struggling” — will make a difference in how stress is experienced.