Mood Swings - Emotional Ups and Downs
Do you feel yourself being extremely happy at one point and within seconds you are very irritable, annoyed, and want to start a fight? One minute you are in cloud 09 and then the next second you are on the ground. However, the next minute you are up again! Chances are you may have not noticed this happening to you unless someone points you out to be emotionally unstable or having extreme mood swings. Is this normal? If not, what can we do about this?
What are Mood Swings?
Simply explained, Mood swings are the drastic shift in an individual’s mood for no clear reason. In other words, the reasons for these mood shifts may not be so apparent. Those who have experienced Mood Swings explain them to be a rollercoaster of different and extreme emotions. In other words, their emotions are constantly shifting. At the beginning of experiences these mood swings, one may recognize a specific event that could have led to it. The underlying cause of mood swings can also be an undiagnosed illness.
What can cause Mood Swings?
As mentioned before, there are several causes that can result in mood swings.
Stress, anxiety and other pressures
Stress full situations and the strains caused by them can result in rapid mood swings, especially when one tries to calm themselves down while under stress. For example, it can be like trying to keep a floating board underwater. No matter how much you try, eventually, it resurfaces. Similarly, even after trying very hard to keep the stressful feelings in check, when it eventually resurfaces it can result in mood swings. Stressful memories can hit you when you least expect them making you suddenly irritated and upset.
This can also depend on your sensitivity and how easily you react to things. You may be suffering from anxiety if you are scared or uneasy for no apparent reason.
An individual who has depressive signs may also have frequent mood swings. As soon as they feel okay, they may be upset again, then before they know it they might find balance again. If you think you are expressing mood swings due to depression, try to get help from a counselor. Research a bit more on depression to identify if that is what is behind your mood shifts.
Below are a few symptoms of depression that you may be experiencing,
- Feeling sad and unhappy
- Wanting to isolate yourself often
- Sleeping less or sleeping too much
- Binge eating or starving yourself
- Difficulty focusing on anything
- Frequent suicidal thoughts or thoughts to harm others
Sleep deprivation and exhaustion
Sleep and rest are essential for your body to recover from the day’s work and get ready for a new day. Not getting this rest through sleep means you aren’t refreshed and ready for another day. This can leave you cranky, tired, and easily irritable, causing mood swings. You are likely to of drifting focus, making choices without thinking, and generally not likable. Further, continuous sleep deprivation can result in other mental health problems such as depression.
It is quite hard to use things that make you lose the sense of the real world and not to have mood swings. Substance abuse can cause serious neurological damage and the high of substance use takes time to go down. During this time of hangover one is likely to be cranky, lethargic, exhausted while being happy, loud, destructive, and out of their minds while still high. Substances and drugs are famous to bring past memories to the high. This can definitely be a time when one experiences various moods. However, this doesn’t last forever. Once the high and hangover have passed, the individuals come back to reality.
Blood sugar levels being low
If you are the type of person who gets mad when you are hungry, this may be the reason. Low blood sugar results when one goes too long in between meals, causing headache, anger, lethargy, confusion, etc. A good meal can easily fix this situation.
Basic symptoms of Bipolar Disorder are focused on drastic highs and lows of a person. Thus, bipolar disorder can have a very clear link to mood swings. However, bipolar disorder symptoms are much more severe. When in a good mood, their phase is almost manic, extremely cheerful, and possibly hallucinating too. The opposite can be just as bad. For example, while someone with mood swings may ditch a friend they used to love hanging out with, another diagnosed with bipolar disorder might not go for exams for a whole week and fail the year. During these days they are sad, unmotivated, unhappy, distant, and in other words, depressed.
Hormonal changes can result in rapid unexplained shifts in mood. We are all aware of teenage outbursts, pregnancy hormones causing mood shifts, the cranky mood of ladies due to period, among other situations. These are all true. Most of the time, these mood swings settle down with the hormones coming back to the normal rate. The level of hormones in the body changes the way you feel. For example, during pregnancy, your mood can shift from good to bad. During PMS, it is normally cranky. The same can be said about Menopause, during which the body makes a fewer amount of hormones, causing sleep deprivation, and mood swings. This can lead all the way back to the Thyroid. The main cause behind this can be either the less or more production of hormones from the Thyroid glands.
Do you know what ADHD is? In basic terms, hyperactivity coming in the way of focus and living life is meant by ADHD which is a brain disorder. Mood swings can be frequently seen in those who are diagnosed with ADHD.
Side effects of some medications can result in mood swings. While the medication is helping an individual within their body their responses to it can be different. Some may be exhausted and easily irritable. Some may be drowsy. There are also medications that make it hard to fall asleep. If you are experiencing mood swings since you started on a specific medication, you may want to check with your health care provider about its side effects.
Borderline Personality Disorder
This is another disorder that has mood swings in its very nature. These are not the type of mood swings that go away in minutes or hours. Mood swings caused by Borderline Personality Disorder can last for days. These symptoms can include very impulsive behavior where the individual does things without a care about the risk. For example, dangerous driving, life-threatening events such as diving from very high ends, substance or drug abuse, etc. Their expressions are unlikely to be contained or mild. They are sudden blow-ups that are full of rage, panic, or overtaken by abandonment issues. They may be restless, likely to self-harm, harm others, or commit suicide at its extreme. Anger issues are a common sign of those who suffer from this disorder. They have little control over themselves, of how they act, what they say or decide to do.
Dementia / Alzheimers
These illnesses mess with one’s memory. They may lose the sense of who they are and the people around them any minute. In other words, their moods are never predictable with their renewing memory. They can be calm happy and collected one minute and angry in the next over something that happened a long time ago. Their forgetfulness and others trying to make them remember can frustrate them even further. This can also result in them giving up and setting to withdraw themselves from the rest of the world.
This is a condition that takes a toll on speech, thinking, emotions, and every way that can affect a person’s social life. Those who are diagnosed with this are likely to experience hallucinations, lack of motivation, confusing speech, delusions, and difficulty concentrating. Mainly due to the psychosis events their moods are severely unpredictable. They may hear voices and see things that can make them uneasy, angry, and full of rage. They are almost always confused and have little idea of reality.
Except for the above-mentioned factors, Cyclothymia, diet, substance abuse, or sleeping habits can impact your mood.
Treating mood swings.
If you think you are experiencing severe mood swings, the very first step to follow is meeting up with your health care provider. After tests, and going over your condition they will be able to decide what is causing your mood to shift rapidly, whether it is a lifestyle factor or an underlying illness. Based on the findings, your treatment methods will be decided. However, there may be a chance you may not need treatment. All of this depends on the severity of your mood swings and what is causing them.
Below are a few treatment methods used to deal with severe mood swings.
This method is recommended especially if the mood swings result from an underlying mental health problem. This method helps improve the quality of life and relationships of the individual.
Psychotherapy can help an individual with managing their moods, and healthily deal with what triggers their mood swings. It can help them understand what caused their mood swings and handle that healthily. Psychotherapy can be a great way of understanding one’s thoughts, behaviors, and feelings in-depth while gaining good knowledge about themselves. It can also help one improve the quality of their relationship with others around them.
Certain lifestyle changes to battle mood swings
Healthy lifestyle changes can improve the mood and the quality of life drastically. These don’t have to be big changes. Small steps towards a stable life and mood are the goal here. Some of these changes can be,
- Having a fixed sleeping schedule. Make sure you get sufficient sleep and that you are well-rested.
- Taking meals at a proper time every day
- Staying active.
- Staying happy and practising positivity
- Meditating and mindfulness practices
- Spending time with loved ones
- Avoiding stressful activities. This may not be so easy, but if you have had an exhausting day and your therapist said you need to meet more friends, it is okay to pass. Your health comes first.
- Keeping in touch with the mood by maintaining a journal. This way you can track your progress and know whether if it is getting better or worse.
- Take it easy on yourself. You are dealing with a very sensitive situation. Take one step at a time. Slow progress is still progress. Don’t try to overload yourself with exercise. Seek a healthy balance in a way you see fit.
- Stick to a healthy diet. Remember, the better you feel, the better your mood will be.
- Find a circle you can open up to. Talk to them about the struggle. Having a clean chest and a free mind helps more than you would realize.
Medication (as prescribed) for mood swings
Based on the cause of your mood swings your health care provider will start you on prescribed medication. Make sure you follow up on them as advice. No more or no less. Avoid taking anything that is not prescribed without your health care provider’s advice.
These medications can include
- medication for anti-anxiety
- anti-psychotic medication
- pills to help you sleep
Signs that it is time to get help for your mood swings
People may have been telling you that you are hard to be with because your mood changes often. You may have not cared because it is normal. However, when do you know that it is not normal anymore? What are the signs that it is time to reach out for professional help and make some important changes in your life? Below are a few.
Unless you know you are under medication, have a diagnosed mental health condition, or going through a major hormonal phase such as menopause, pregnancy, or PMS, mood swings that come to a point of destroying your relationships should be an alarming issue. This means others find it hard to depend on you, predict your behavior, and thus it feels like it is hard to know who they are hanging out with.
If your boyfriend, girlfriend, friends, or family tell you, scold you, or even joke about your extreme mood swings, it may be time to reach out for help and do changes in your life that will help your mood. However, even after such alterations if you feel like the mood swings do not get better, it is vital to reach out for medical help. This may be an indication of an undiagnosed mental health problem that needs to be treated.
If you have regular mood swings, caused by the smallest inconveniences, if these mood swings are intense making you extremely happy, angry, or sad, if the mood swings don’t go down easily and are likely to last a while, pushes you to act on impulse making you do things and say things without thinking, and are possibly making you want to harm yourself or another, it is high time you seek professional help.
Ways to prevent mood swings
In basic terms, whatever keeps an individual in a good mood is the way they can prevent mood swings. So, apart from this list, whatever you think will keep you in a good mood is what you should try. This list is a collection of proven points that help one better their quality of life, improve their mood, and overall make them a healthy, focused, and content individual.
Adding to that is the fact that mood swings are completely normal. By following up with this list we understand how to make sure mood swings become a problem. Especially if you are someone who used to suffer from terrible mood swings and are now slowly on your path to recovery.
Have a daily routine. This includes regulating the times you take meals, the hours you go to sleep. However, this does not necessarily mean not to change things as you go along the day. The point is to regulate healthy habits so you don’t fall back on your game to preventing mood swings.
Watch what goes in your body
Stick to healthy food. You may have enjoyed junk food very much, but it may also be causing your mood swings by messing with your insides since junk food is in no way to be a healthy person. The healthier you are, the happier you will be.
Rest well to deal better with mood swings
Make sure you are well rested before starting the day. One cranky day will be enough to reverse all your efforts. No sleep means your body has not had the chance to recover from yesterday’s exhaustion. Thus, throughout the day it will be pulling you back to get some much-needed rest. Needless to say, this is not going to end well. In other words, make sure you get enough sleep.
Get some exercise done
Stay active! When you feel better and look better you are likely to be so confident, healthy, and happy that not many illnesses can get a hold of you and not many things can affect your mood. Make sure you take in that workout and cardio.
Stay away from stress as much as you can
Try to manage stress. Ditch stressful situations when you can. However, avoiding stress completely is impossible. You could be doing so well until you slip on a banana peel on the way home. Thus, the point is to find ways to stay calm during the most stressful times. You can do this by adding meditation, mindfulness practices, and yoga to your daily routine. A calm person is unlikely to suffer from rapid mood swings.
Track your progress on emotional ups and downs
Track your mood. See if the changes you made recently work out for the better or worse. If it is for the better, stick to it. Also, if it doesn’t help, try to switch things up. If nothing seems to work, reach out to professional help.
A healthy circle!
As we mentioned before, a happy and healthy circle full of people you adore can impact your mood very well. It is important you find those that give you good vibes and unlikely to trigger negative moods. They should also be people you can rely on so in the case of relapse they understand and help you get better.
Try counseling for mood swings
Counseling can help you get to the bottom of your mood swings if other mental health possibilities are ruled out. If you have a disease that needs to be cured by medicine, you can talk to your counselor about that. Counselors are trained to help their patients get through whatever impacts their mentality negatively. Even if your mood swings are a side effect caused by another illness and especially if your mood swings are the result of a different incident or a stressful situation, counselors are there to make your life better.
Have faith in yourself
Stick to your treatment plan. Don’t fall behind on your progress even If you feel like it is exhausting and takes a lot of effort. It is important that you understand that none of the advice, counseling, or medication will help if you do not put forward the work that is necessary. Thus, stick to the new altering you have don’t to better the quality of your life. Make sure your diet is healthy and make sure you sleep well. Take the medicine on time. You need to trust in your progress and have faith in yourself.
Be kind to yourself
Only those suffering from rapid mood swings understand the stress it causes to be extremely happy and to have a small thing ruin it all. These victims do not want to go through all that emotional ups and downs. However, they have to and their effort to do otherwise can be draining. Therefore, if you are someone who has to try extra hard to contain your mood and stay calm in a storm, understand that you are doing a lot of sensitive work for yourself.
You are also giving up a lot for it. Thus, be nicer to yourself. Be kinder. Give yourself time to make your way back up. Progress may not come overnight. However, as long as you respect your body and your mind for the workload it puts up to get you through, it is unlikely you give up. If nobody else roots for you, root for yourself.