Mood Swings And Mental Health
Mood swings that are intense, long-lasting, and not related to a medical issue or life event may be caused by a mental health condition.
In these cases, mood swings may be linked to changes in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins are all neurotransmitters that can affect your emotional state .
Up to 60% of people with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder , and obsessive-compulsive disorder experience mood swings. This is significant because mood changes can lead to complications like alcohol use disorder or even thoughts of suicide .
Its also common for mood disorders to overlap with other mental health conditions like the ones below.
Mood Swings: Causes Diagnosis And Treatment
While it is normal for emotions to occasionally get out of hand, if it happens too often or you find yourself losing control of your emotions in extreme ways, then your mood swing might be due to an underlying issue.
This guide will look at some common causes of mood swings and the various treatment options available for them.
Well also discuss when to seek medical attention for mood swings and how K Health can help you navigate them.
Its The Type Of Carb Not The Quantity That Counts
Reducing sugar doesnt mean you need to reduce carbs. One study looked at the quantity and quality of carbs consumed by nearly 70,000 women who had completed menopause. Researchers applied a glycemic index score to each food they analyzed. Foods with high GI scores, which raise blood sugar levels more, are often made from simple carbs and filled with simple sugars. The results showed that women who ate high-GI foods had a higher risk of depression than people who ate lower-GI foods. Women who ate a higher amount of lower-GI foods, such as vegetables and non-juiced fruit, had a lower risk for depression.
The results mean that carbohydrates in general arent the cause for depression and other mental health disorders. Instead, its the quality of the carbs you eat that can impact your depression risk.
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Common Triggers Of Mood Swings
Whether your excessive mood swings are caused by an underlying medical issue or something else, certain factors might set them off. This includes the following:
- your sleeping patterns
Consult your doctor if you have frequent and severe mood changes. It may be beneficial for you to keep track of when you have a mood shift and what you were doing before it occurred. This can assist your doctor figure out if youre reacting to a lifestyle change or if theres something more serious going on.
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Are There Any Other Emotional Or Mental Side Effects To Consider
Yes. Other mood-related symptoms include anxiety, depression, and irritability, Adib says.
Plus, she adds, physical side effects of breast tenderness, weight gain, and bloating can also affect your psychological health.
If you have an underlying condition, like anxiety or depression, you may find medication or other clinical treatment methods beneficial.
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Be Mindful Of Any Changes In Mood
The first step in getting a handle on your mood swings is identifying when these mood swings occur and what symptoms you have.
Unfortunately, many people are so caught up with our busy lives that we often overlook the emotional changes that influence our moods. And thats why we end up feeling like mood swings hit us out of nowhere.
Whenever you feel like your mood swings have taken a turn for the worse, notice the feelings that youre experiencing at that given moment. Is it sadness? Frustration? Guilt? Disgust?
And most importantly, try to figure out why youre experiencing that unpleasant feeling. Once you identify your symptoms, you may start taking action and seeing positive shifts in your life.
For example, if you are experiencing severe depression, start by identifying the cause of mood swings. Depression can come from many factors such as medications, social pressure, lack of confidence, substance misuse, major life events, conflict with a family member, your children or friends.
If youre having a conflict, you can attempt to resolve the issue by getting on the same page with them. Counseling can be an excellent treatment for mood swings to help you process some of your feelings and the causes of your symptoms.
Are There Tests To Diagnose The Cause Of Mood Swings
There is no definitive test that can diagnose the cause of mood swings. A healthcare provider or mental health professional will take a detailed medical and family history and ask you about your symptoms, triggers, and how long they last. If a mental health disorder is suspected, they may consult with other providers you’ve seen and/or ask for input from friends or family.
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What Causes Mood Swings
The causes mainly fall into the following aspects. If you cant clarify the reasons by yourself, consult your doctor.
1. Hormonal Changes
Significant hormonal changes, such as those endured during puberty, menstrual period or pregnancy, can lead to mood swings. During these times, hormones affect the neurotransmitters in the brain that control mood. The low levels of estrogen in the body due to menopause can also cause a mood problem.
2. Substance Abuse or Medications
Anything that goes into your body has the potential to change it, including having an effect on mood. Common causes of mood swings include using illicit drugs of any kind. Illicit drugs tend to change the chemistry of the brain, which can lead to issues with mood. Sometimes using legal prescription drugs might have the side effect of messing with hormones. These might include antidepressants, drugs for cholesterol control, Ritalin, blood pressure medications, and some antibiotics.
The hormones responsible for the fight or flight response are also responsible for severe mood swings. Stress hormones are dumped into your body during times of intense worry or anxiety, and they then affect your brain chemistry enough to make your moods unpredictable. Though mild stress is actually beneficial, prolonged severe stress can affect the neurotransmitters in a negative way.
5. Medical Conditions
6. Psychological Problems
7. Other Causes
Symptoms Of Mood Swings In Adhd
These are some of the symptoms of ADHD-related mood swings:
- Switching from excited one moment to sad, angry, or anxious the next
- Fluctuating between having trouble paying attention and hyperfocusing on an activity
- Having bursts of energy and fatigue through the day
- Feeling emotions intensely and having difficulty regulating them
- Getting distracted easily and leaving tasks incomplete
- Feeling upset or angry often
- Experiencing extreme restlessness and boredom
- Being unable to sit still or wait their turn patiently without fidgeting or moving around
- Interrupting others frequently but getting angry if interrupted
- Being unaware of the impact of their words or actions in the moment, but regretting them later
- Rushing through tasks and making careless mistakes, which can be frustrating and demotivating
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
If your mood swings are severe and frequent, or are having an impact on your job, family life, or other relationships, it is important to contact your healthcare provider, who may refer you to a mental health professional.
Specific symptoms that warrant a consultation with a provider include:
- Feeling unusually revved up, and unable to control the urge to spend a lot of money, be sexually promiscuous, or engage in other risky behaviors
- Feel depressed to the point where you are unable to get out of bed or engage in your usual daily activities
- Feel like you want to harm yourself or end your life
Mood Swings And Mental Illness
While shifts in mood can be completely normal, triggered by stress, and/or part of dealing with a physical health condition, mood swings also can be a symptom of mental illness.
When characterizing and diagnosing mental health disorders, particularly bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, the constellation of intense, rapid, and frequent shifts in mood is sometimes referred to as emotional lability.
However, a labile mood is not unique to mental illness. Its also seen in people with traumatic brain injury, stroke, and Alzheimers, as well as other medical conditions.
If you are experiencing changes in mood along with other specific signs and symptoms of a mental health condition, talk to your doctor. Understanding the underlying cause is essential to finding the most effective way to manage your mood swings.
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What Causes Anxiety Flare Ups
It is stress that is causing it. Traffic jams, missing your train, and other daily stressors can make you anxious. Chronic stress can lead to long term anxiety and other health problems. Skipping meals, drinking alcohol, and not getting enough sleep are some of the behaviors that can be caused by stress.
Whats The Short Answer
Well, some people find that their mood improves while taking hormonal birth control. Others experience a negative effect when it comes to their mood and mental health.
Everyone is unique and has the potential to respond to hormonal changes in a different way.
Dr. Tania Adib, a consultant gynecologist at , highlights both the combined oral contraceptive pill and the minipill.
A small reported that 4 to 10 percent of combined oral contraceptive users noted adverse mood effects.
Emotional side effects have been found to be one of the an oral contraceptive or switching to another method.
However, a stated that pills provided the strongest conclusions, because they have been the focus of the majority of research.
So, can other hormonal methods lead to mood swings? Potentially, but theres less research into them.
Spectra Of Mood Disorders
Mood swings appear to fall along a broad continuum of severity. At some level, they may even affect many people in the population at large, as found in one clinical study in which 40% of the control group showed cyclical mood swings that were milder but similar in periodicity to those of a clinical sample. Another major study found that during colder months of the year a great many people suffer at least a few minor symptoms of winter blues or seasonal affective disorder.
In fact, research suggests implications for enhanced creativity in the relatives of persons with bipolar disorders, even including the psychiatrically normal as well as the unipolar depressed relatives of people with bipolar disorders. Hence, it is important to consider both personal and family psychiatric history.
The course of mood disorders can also vary dramatically, in both quality and quantity. For example, some people may have only one episode of depression in their whole life, whereas others may experience dozens of depressive episodes. In addition, some people with mood swings may also spend a great deal of their time in a state of relative euthymia, or normal mood. Thus, most individuals with mood disorders do not have an ongoing chronic and unchanging depressed or manic state a factor that may be important to creativity. Both temporary psychological state factors and ongoing trait factors may be significant.
Aviva Romm, Angela J. Hywood, in, 2010
Most People With Depression Need Treatment To Feel Better
If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your health care provider. This could be your primary doctor or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions . Certain medications, and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same symptoms as depression. A health care provider can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests. Your health care provider will examine you and talk to you about treatment options and next steps.
Talking to Your Health Care Provider About Your Mental Health
Communicating well with your health care provider can improve your care and help you both make good choices about your health. Read about tips to help prepare and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, including questions to ask your health care provider, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
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Stress And Mood Swings
Everyone experiences stress at different times throughout their life.
Stress is the way your body reacts to pressure. Stress is often a useful thing, as it can help you get out of a dangerous situation, help you push through a presentation at work, or help you complete a marathon. Typically, the stress hormones and your bodys response to stress will decrease after the situation or event is over.
Prolonged stress, however, can have negative physical, mental, and behavioral effects. Stress especially prolonged stress can also cause mood fluctuations.
Some ways stress can affect you physically include causing:
What Are The Symptoms Of Mood Disorders
Each mood disorder has different symptoms and/or different patterns of symptoms.
Mood disorders typically have symptoms that affect your mood, sleep, eating behaviors, energy level and thinking abilities .
In general, depressive symptoms include:
- Feeling sad most of the time or nearly every day.
- A lack of energy or feeling sluggish.
- Feeling worthless or hopeless.
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What’s The Difference Between Low Mood And Depression
A general low mood can include:
However, a low mood will tend to lift after a few days or weeks.
Making some small changes in your life, such as resolving a difficult situation, talking about your problems or getting more sleep, can usually improve your mood.
A low mood that doesn’t go away can be a sign of depression. Symptoms of depression can include the following:
- low mood lasting two weeks or more
- not getting any enjoyment out of life
- feeling hopeless
- feeling tired or lacking energy
- not being able to concentrate on everyday things like reading the paper or watching television
- comfort eating or losing your appetite
- sleeping more than usual or being unable to sleep
Read more about the symptoms of depression.
Depression can also come on at specific points in your life, such as the winter months and after the birth of a child .
How Is Depression Treated
Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80% and 90% percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.
Before a diagnosis or treatment, a health professional should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation, including an interview and a physical examination. In some cases, a blood test might be done to make sure the depression is not due to a medical condition like a thyroid problem or a vitamin deficiency . The evaluation will identify specific symptoms and explore medical and family histories as well as cultural and environmental factors with the goal of arriving at a diagnosis and planning a course of action.
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Therapy For Mood Swings
Conditions linked with mood abnormalities, such as bipolar disorder and depression, maybe distressing, and treatment can frequently help people cope with mood swings. Because mood swings are a sign of an underlying problem rather than a diagnosable ailment, a mental health expert will work with the client in treatment to figure out whats causing them. Individuals might also acquire techniques to increase control of mood swings in treatment. It may be simpler to address the underlying difficulties after this is accomplishedoften using approaches such as journaling, meditation, mindfulness, or breathing exercises.
A therapist can frequently assist a person in determining if mood swings are a symptom of a mental health problem or a symptom of something else. Whether mood swings are caused by mental or emotional discomfort or are specific to a particular scenario, counseling may frequently help in the process of recognizing the causes of highs and lows, as well as situations that may trigger mood swings. Therapy can also aid in the development of coping mechanisms for dealing with stressors as they emerge.
Depression Is Different From Sadness Or Grief/bereavement
The death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for a person to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such situations. Those experiencing loss often might describe themselves as being depressed.
But being sad is not the same as having depression. The grieving process is natural and unique to each individual and shares some of the same features of depression. Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities. They are also different in important ways:
- In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and/or interest are decreased for most of two weeks.
- In grief, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
- In grief, thoughts of death may surface when thinking of or fantasizing about joining the deceased loved one. In major depression, thoughts are focused on ending ones life due to feeling worthless or undeserving of living or being unable to cope with the pain of depression.
Grief and depression can co-exist For some people, the death of a loved one, losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression. When grief and depression co-occur, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression.
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