What Causes Mood Swings & How To Manage Them?

October 31, 2021

It's no secret that mood swings are a major part of having ADHD. I've been struggling with it for as long as I can remember, and it wasn't until recently that I was able to figure out how to control them. In this blog post, I'll share the causes of extreme mood swings, some tips for managing major depressive disorder when they do happen, and what you can do if you're feeling low on energy or just not feeling happy at all. I hope these posts help!

We know how daunting reading articles from start to finish can be, especially when you have ADHD, so we added this clickable Table of Contents to easily navigate our articles 😉 :

What causes rapid changes in mood?

There are times where it is common to notice rapid changes in your emotions. If your mood has suddenly stopped for a few days, your mood swings symptoms might likely indicate something more serious. Patterns of these types of mood shifts may be signs of more serious mental illness. Call a professional counselor who can provide medical advice for a confidential visit.

-Stress and Anxiety

When you are especially sensitive, you may react more strongly or more frequently to situations than other people. Lack of sleep is a common problem of many people feeling stressed. Some people are feeling sad, afraid, or anxious even when they know that there is no good reason for them to be. Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder may show in people if they don't control their worry in the past 6 months and that then they will additional symptoms including difficulty sleeping as a result. When severe, it will be difficult to get through the day when you're overindulged, especially if you're in an unhappy mood.

-Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder affects nearly three-quarters of adults. Someone suffering from it might spend the last few weeks or days as the life of the party. Then after that, they will suddenly feel self-destructive or they sometimes experience great remorse. It's referred to as the depression phase. They'll have a hard time getting out of bed to do something they don't like. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder can be in bed for 4 days and lose their jobs. This is called depression. They might also hear voices inside their heads making them switch emotions fast.

Are you experiencing Bipolar Disorder? Find out more details here on my article: Bipolar Disorder Symptoms and Causes

-Hormonal changes

Sex hormones are connected with intense shifts of emotions so changing hormones can cause mood swing. PMS can bring unpredictable mood changes and exacerbate perimenopause. Men hormones tend to remain stable for at least 30 years when the levels of testosterone decline. Around three in five people age 75 have low testosterone. It has a reputation for causing mood swings and erectile dysfunction, sleep difficulties, and hot flashes. PMS and pregnancy sometimes cause unpredictable moods specifically for women.

-Substance use

Ingestion of drugs or alcohol can affect the mood at least temporarily. Excessive substance and drink consumption could result in dependency. There’s a variety of programs available for treating substance abuse disorders. You might need to help someone out with his or her mental problem. Their doctor can offer advice about treatment plans that will help you get them the help they need.  

-Substance abuse

Persons suffering from substance use disorders are more likely to experience extreme mood changes. They may experience mood swings or withdrawal after trying not to use a specific drug. When a person experiences mood swings, acts irrational, or becomes suicidal, seek immediate medical attention. If you're on steroids or getting a medical therapy, it might have an impact on other people's lives. The likelihood of a person at a high risk of having a history of a disorder such as drug and alcohol dependence increased after they had the drug but was incapable of using it.

-Allergies

If you're suffering from severe itching only during certain times of the year, your emotional state may be changed by when you're experiencing symptoms. Constant sneezing and watery eyes, post-nasal drip, and itchiness are also potential causes of fatigue. Feeling unwell can affect your ability to concentrate on the problem.

-Sleep

The person's mood also affects the amount and quality of sleep he gets. If people are sleep-deprived, they sometimes develop frequent shifts in their mood. The bodily circadian balance that influences when we sleep influences our mood throughout the day as well. It can also affect the mood of a person who feels more prepared for the day ahead than a person who gets a good night's sleep, as well as some psychiatric symptoms like mood swings.

Causes and risk factors of mood swings

The phenomenon of "mood swing" is a common concept in which rapid and intense fluctuating emotions are described. Many people describe mood swings as a roller coaster of feelings from happiness and contentment to extreme sadness, irritability and sometimes depression. Some people also experience mood changes when they suffer from depression, anxiety, or borderline personality disorder.

What are symptoms of mood swings?

Mood swings refer to the rapidly changing moods of a person. Mood swings can also occur in women that have post-menstrual dysregulation. Menopause transition or the time a woman begins to approach menopause or perimenopause, can make women experience mood swings because of the changes in their hormone levels. Mood swings may also be seen in patients with schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dementia and thyroid conditions.

Cyclothymia: Are your mood swings normal?

"The condition can cause depression and hypomania miniaturizes", says Dr. Bowers in one of her peer-reviewed studies. Before you get diagnosed on having a developing cyclothymia, adults must have periods or episodes of mood swings after six months. It is very rare in young kids but to get a diagnosis, they must experience episodes for at least a year. It can be a chronic and mild condition that shows bigger problems in the near horizon. It's very important to tell your doctor about this mood swing. It is essentially a mild variant of bipolar disorder.

How to deal with mood swings

When you have mood swings, there are drastic changes in the emotion that occur from either side of the spectrum. Mood swings can affect men and women and could disrupt relationships, career opportunities, or mental health. You might experience mood swings in your energy level and even in your thinking. These mood swings could be due to a variety of reasons such as lack of sleep, stress, or depression.

Mood swings treatment options

Many dietary drugs sometimes cause mood swings as side symptoms. Certain antidepressants are known to trigger manic episodes in somebody that suffers from bipolar disorder. Anabolic steroids have the potential to cause significant and permanent mood changes in the human body, particularly when taking the drug anabolic steroids. The mood changes usually indicate that the drug is not the right choice on the patient’s behalf, or that the diagnosis someone has given may not be correct. Consequently, a person expressing bipolar disorder - whether through medication or via other means - will have more severe episodes or an antidepressant. Lifestyle changes such as a balanced diet and exercise can also help you manage your stress.

Frequently asked questions about Mood Swings

What are mood swings?

It is the state of your emotions that frequently changes and lasts for a longer period of time. These mood changes may also be more severe than moodiness and may interfere with your daily life. Mood swings are usually associated with mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder or cyclothymia, but they can also occur due to ADHD medications.

What are the causes of mood swings?

Mood swings are usually caused by several factors, including mood disorders like depression or bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), sleep deprivation, unhealthy diet, drug and/or alcohol use, medications you might be taking for other conditions. Mood swings are also common in people with ADHD.

What is the difference between mood swings & mood symptoms?

When your mood changes frequently or quickly, this mood change can be a mood swing. For example, you may feel irritable one moment and then happy the next. On the other hand, mood symptoms are feelings that last for longer periods of time during which it is difficult to concentrate on daily tasks or focus your attention at work/school. When mood swings are caused by mood symptoms, mood swings can be more difficult to manage.

What are examples of mood swings?

A good example of a mood swing is when someone will experience shifts in their moods that will interfere with their ability to function. For example, one moment you may feel like going out and socializing with friends, but the next mood swing can cause your mood symptoms to become worse and make it difficult for you to talk or be around other people.

How do I know if my mood is just mood shifts or an actual mood swing?

Moodiness usually disappears quickly but with mood swings, it may last for a longer period of time.

Why do mood swings happen?

Mood changes can be caused by many things like medications, hormones and even normal life events such as the loss of a loved one or moving to a new place. Mood swings may also occur in people with ADHD who take certain stimulant medications or when someone does not get enough sleep.

How to manage mood swings?

People with mood swings can try different things like changing their diet and exercising regularly, daily stress management practices such as meditation or yoga, getting enough sleep (at least eight hours a night), and talking to your doctor about all the medications you are taking and if any of them may be causing mood change.

What mood swings are common in people with ADHD?

Mood swings can be a symptom of bipolar disorder, but the underlying cause of it might also be an effect of stimulant medications. Mood swings have been noted to improve when certain antidepressants or mood stabilizers that affect the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine are taken along with stimulants.  

What mental illness causes mood swings?

Mood swings are associated with mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder or cyclothymia. However, mood swings can also be caused by ADHD medications that affect the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.

How do you deal with mood swings?

Mood swings can be difficult to deal with, but mood symptoms caused by mood swings may improve when certain antidepressants or mood stabilizers that affect the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine are taken along with stimulants.

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Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms of ADHD, it’s best to see a professional for a diagnosis.

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