What is mood lability and how to deal with it?

If you can be cheerful and then suddenly sad for no good reason or cry at the moment from a touching video, this may indicate mood lability. This is a state where it is difficult to keep any of your emotions under control. We will tell you more about how to live with an unstable mood.

What is a labile mood?

Mood labile, or emotional lability, is a condition that causes uncontrollable crying or laughter at the wrong time or in the wrong situation. The definition of the word “labile” means “unstable.” It is not a personality disorder but a possible symptom of such conditions.

Lability can often lead to harmful or self-destructive behaviour that manifests in aggression, yelling, angry tantrums, throwing objects or violence towards others. But this does not mean that a person with an unstable mood cannot live normally and communicate with others. There are coping mechanisms and treatments for unstable moods.

what causes emotional lability

Emotional lability is a neurological condition. Several brain structures control emotions. The hippocampus stores memories and the amygdala coordinates the body’s physical responses to things that trigger emotions.

A traumatic brain injury or stroke can damage any of these structures. The paths between them can be broken, which will not allow a person to establish control over the manifestation of feelings.

Also, emotional lability is often a sign of mental illness rather than manifesting itself. Extreme emotional displays and sudden mood swings are common in bipolar disorder and dementia.

Is it possible to cope with mood lability?

Mild cases of mood lability may not need therapy or treatment. To maintain your health and avoid such episodes, you should learn to overcome difficulties and control emotions.

If lability causes stress or affects your daily life, it is worth contacting a psychotherapist who can suggest medications and treatments. Without intervention, the condition may worsen and cause clinical disorders.

In addition, sometimes mood lability is one of the underlying or mental illness symptoms. For example, lability can be seen in cyclothymia and bipolar disorder. In these cases, treatment should be approached differently. The first step is to address the symptoms to manage mood swings properly.

One of the most important treatments for mood labile is psychotherapy. During the consultation, the psychotherapist will help determine how and why the labile mood appeared. Understanding what causes your labile mood will make it easier to avoid and deal with it. There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help.

How to deal with mood lability

If you find yourself in a difficult situation and notice your tendency to mood lability, these methods will help overcome it.

Take a break

Sometimes all we need is to take a step back and calm down. Take a break, go for a walk, de-stress, breathe and pause for a while. It will help if you manage yourself in social situations that cause stress.

Learn breathing techniques

Breathing techniques can help you calm down quickly. If you focus on breathing and learn to breathe slowly, you will feel calmer and less prone to labile moods. Here we wrote about it in more detail.

Find your triggers

Sometimes the biggest secret to preventing mood swings is to avoid the situations that trigger them. Find out what triggers your mood swings and try to avoid them.

For example, if you are very nervous when shopping in a mall, it makes you both happy and depressed; you can visit small shops or order goods online for delivery. Or ask a friend not to bring up a certain topic of conversation if it provokes a labile mood.

Find what distracts you

If you can’t prevent the triggers of mood swings, you can always get distracted. Switch your attention to an object near you or open a video on your phone that can help you relax. Or close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

Be positive

Don’t dwell on mood swings and the past. Develop a positive mindset that allows you to overcome lability. Explain your situation to others – sometimes, all we need is understanding and support. Use a short explanation so other people can understand why you are behaving the way you do. For example, you can say: “I can giggle at times; this is due to a past illness. Please don’t mind it; I can’t control it.”

So others will understand the reason for your behaviour and support you.

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