How could we improve it?

This article contains false or inaccurate information.

Please tell us what was incorrect.

Please note that you do not need to fill this detail if it's inconvenient for you. Click Send My Opinion below to continue reading our site.
This article doesn't provide enough info.

Please tell us what was missing.

Please note that you do not need to fill this detail if it's inconvenient for you. Click Send My Opinion below to continue reading our site.
Hmm... I have a question.

We’re unable to offer personal health advice, diagnosis, or treatment, but we welcome your feedback! Just type it in the box below.

If you're facing a medical emergency, call your local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or urgent care center.

Or copy link


Emotionally Distressed? What Does That Look Like and What To Do Next

Emotionally Distressed? What Does That Look Like and What To Do Next

People may think that being emotional distressed is merely a symptom of other mental health disorders. However, anyone can experience this. You may experience emotional distress even if you do not meet the criteria of other psychological conditions.

When you experience difficult circumstances or situations, you may become overwhelmed with powerful emotions. Following this, you may undergo an episode of emotional distress. Learn more about what emotional distress is, how you can recognize it, and how it can be treated.

Can you identify if you or someone else is emotionally distressed?

Emotional distress might be difficult to spot, especially among people who are naturally sensitive.

However, there are distinct signs that a person may be experiencing emotional distress. These symptoms may lead to worse situations for the one suffering them. If you see the signs listed below, you might need to seek or encourage others to get professional help:

  • Concentration difficulties
  • Isolation
  • Overwhelmed feeling
  • Hopelessness and helplessness
  • Constant anxiety and worry over things
  • Significant changes in appetite and diet
  • Reliance on substances such as drugs or alcohol
  • Sudden and constant fatigue
  • Insomnia or oversleeping

These are only some of the most common symptoms that a person might go through when they are subject to emotional distress.

If you feel that you are emotionally experiencing something unusual or wrong, seek help immediately.

Signs of Morning Depression: Here’s What You Need to Know

What happens to people who are emotionally distressed?

Experiencing emotional distress is normal. Upsetting events such as a break-up, a big loss, or a significant life change may trigger emotional distress.

It is possible for you to manage emotional distress on your own, or with the support of people close to you. However, it is best to seek treatment. Untreated emotional distress may lead to feeling worse.

Experiencing a large bout of emotional distress, or experiencing moments of it over a long period of time may have lasting effects on you and your environment. It can cause:

  • Loss of motivation
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Less energy

Emotional distress may affect your work, academics, and even relationships with other people.

The moment you sense something is wrong, ask for help. It is never wrong to need or ask for help. In fact it will be more beneficial to you and everyone else.

Treatment and management

This depends on what symptoms you have been experiencing and the severity of the impact on your life and personal well-being. Treatment and management may include:

  • Intensive self-care
  • Support groups
  • Therapy and professional help
  • Stable and strong support systems
  • Proper medication and intake
  • Emotional regulation

Coping with emotional distress and regulating your emotions can be difficult, but it is achievable. With the proper amount of support – either professionally or through loved ones – you can achieve emotional regulation.

You have to make sure that you are aware of the situation, and of what’s happening to you. It helps to understand that emotional distress is a normal part of one’s life. Acceptance is the key to obtaining a sense of calm.

Key takeaway

Being emotionally distressed is difficult, although it is a normal part of one’s life.

Achieving control of your emotions is more difficult when you’re alone. Seek support from your loved ones and from mental health professionals. It helps to ask for help, especially when other areas of your life become severely affected.

Learn more about Healthy Minds here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


14 – Self-regulation, emotion, and resilience, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128040515000147

Accessed March 24, 2021


Chapter 4 – Treatment Planning, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123748515000044

Accessed March 24, 2021


Emotional distress in young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7338432/

Accessed March 24, 2021


Emotional distress: an alternative primary care perspective, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2838648/

Accessed March 24, 2021


Emotional Stress: Warning Signs, Management, When to Get Help, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/6406-emotional-stress-warning-signs-management-when-to-get-help

Accessed March 24, 2021

Picture of the authorbadge
Written by Kirsten Rocamora Updated May 03
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel