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What Is Labile?

Therapy can help an emotionally labile person.
An emotionally labile person may find deep breathing helpful in reducing stress.
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  • Written By: Synthia L. Rose
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 20 March 2014
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Medical professionals use the psychiatric term labile to refer to emotions that are extreme, exaggerated, and incongruent with immediate circumstances. A labile person may laugh at the death or serious injury of someone, even if they love them. Alternately, he or she might cry when someone tells a joke. If an emotionally labile person does laugh at something amusing or cry at something sad, the display of affection may be melodramatic and beyond what is typical. Rage often occurs as a symptom of lability, which is also known as pseudobulbar affect.

Emotional lability arises for two primary reasons: physical brain damage or an emotional disorder. Physical damage to the brain and neurological system due to head trauma or aging may result in a labile affect. The resulting physical damage or degeneration could hinder a person’s ability to understand, filter, suppress, or be aware of his or her emotions. A person who has an emotional disorder due to tragic events from childhood or due to loss of family, jobs, or relationships can experience the same hindrances. The results in either situation can be either temporary or long-term.

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An emotionally labile person, however, will not be unstable all the time. Certain circumstances can trigger frantic moments and cause rapid changes in disposition. Triggers include extreme fatigue, overstimulation through sights and sounds in the environment, constant anxiety, and being subjected to excessive demands from others. One way to handle triggers is by talking with a psychologist or psychiatrist. There are, however, strategies for handling triggers without professional help.

Planned activities in a quiet atmosphere with a small, familiar group tend to be helpful. These activities should be something the emotionally labile person can easily do so they can experience success. Providing one-on-one venting sessions where the frustrated person can talk about fears and losses without judgment can also be soothing.

An emotionally labile person could help themselves by using time-outs when he or she is unable to process feelings. He or she can also use deep-breathing, soft music, and relaxation techniques. A person struggling with lability often feels empowered by gathering information on the condition; building a personal library with treatment books might be beneficial.

Anyone around a person who is having a labile moment typically should ignore him or her and not affirm the behavior. The embarrassment of being acknowledged could exacerbate the condition. More than one million people are diagnosed with emotional lability each year.

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anon179194
Post 2

My boss has Graves disease. A highly manipulative co-worker attempted to exploit his "emotional lability". I got in the way. My boss was a sitting duck. He knew my boss better that he knew himself. I had to know them both better than they knew themselves and expose him to my boss. I found myself in a no-man's land.

The distance between business realities and emotional realities was light years apart. Logical arguments were not going to undo this kind of manipulation. All of a sudden, I had no voice and no audience. Alone, pathetic, unsupported, insane, vulnerable, completely disarmed, and self defeated, the loser, with absolutely no chance of success this is were I had to send the message from. My design was to break one of the "48 Laws of Power." Instead of standing in the wings, positioning myself in a favorable position and letting my boss fail, I thought that I could send him a message. A message in the future because he wasn't there yet. I thought that I could warn him, let him know what was going to happen and that he could inform himself and avoid injury when the moment came.

I thought I had some type of super human power. I thought that I could bring to light an event that had not happened. I thought that I could travel light and selfless and empower myself to see what was happening to me. I thought that I had the power to change our history as it was being made.

What is the true value and pursuit of business administration if it is not to facilitate the realization of human wants and needs? The understanding of this gravitational force is not something business would want to stray too far from. The new economy is just a whisper that can not be heard above the crash of falling ruble as the old economy implodes. There is a higher technology out there. All we need is the business leaders to show us the way. --cjs

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