Mood Swings: What Are The Causes?

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

Everyone experiences mood swings once in a while. Mood swings are the sudden changes in one’s mind and emotion from a stage of joy and intense happiness to sadness or fright. Mood swings are often triggered by your surroundings, although the circumstances seem insignificant to others. Sometimes, you may have mood swings for no reason at all. Medical conditions can also cause mood swings.

Symptoms of mood swings

Besides the abrupt changes in moods, you may experience:

  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Confusion and forgetfulness
  • Decreased attention span
  • Increased alcohol intake
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Poor judgment
  • Withdrawal
  • Recklessness
  • Inappropriate behaviors
  • Rapid speech
  • Difficulty comprehending and expressing information
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Nausea
  • Sleep disturbances

What are the medical causes of mood swings?

Mental conditions such as bipolar disorder, cyclothymic disorder, major depressive disorder, dysthymia, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder can be the causes of mood swings. Schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may also induce mood swings.

Hormonal fluctuations can interfere with the brain chemistry, resulting in mood swings. Teens, pregnant women, and women in their menopause often have hormonal instability, thus are more prone to mood swings.

Consumption of drug or alcohol can negatively affect one’s moods. Substance abuse may develop into addiction – a mental condition.

Other health conditions such as those affecting your lungs, cardiovascular system, thyroid, and central nervous system may also cause mood swings.

Common triggers of mood swings

Regardless of the causes, mood swings can be triggered by certain things, including stress, a major life change, diet, sleep pattern, and medications. It’s helpful to note down what happens when you have your mood swings to help your doctor detect your triggers.

When to seek medical help?

Some people have extreme emotions and it’s completely healthy. If your moods do not affect your life quality, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if your mood swings persist and interfere with your ability to function, it may be a health concern. For example, if your moods cause you to engage in destructive or self-harm behaviors, you should visit your doctor.

How to treat mood swings?

If your mood swings are caused by a medical condition, treating the condition will likely help you control your moods. Medications and therapies in combination with positive lifestyle changes are effective in managing mood swings. Here’s something you can do to help yourself:

  • Stick to a schedule
  • Exercise regularly
  • Sleep well
  • Eat healthy
  • Practice yoga or meditation
  • Avoid stress
  • Find an outlet for your emotions
  • Talk to someone you trust

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

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Review Date: May 10, 2017 | Last Modified: December 6, 2019

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