For some people, experiencing mood swings is just part of daily life. While you may be managing these rapid mood changes, it’s important to identify the root cause so you can improve your overall quality of life.
Learn about the signs of mood swings and some common underlying causes you may be unaware of. Once you identify the reason for your mood swings, you can seek the help you need to overcome them.
Signs You’re Experiencing Mood Swings
You can’t diagnose mood swings through an online tool or article; you must speak with a doctor or other mental health professional for diagnosis. However, you can assess whether you may be experiencing mood swings by watching for several signs and symptoms.
Mood swings can look like:
- Being happy one minute and irritable the next with no clear reason for the shift
- Suddenly feeling like you want to harm yourself
- Being so excitable that you have uncontrollable urges such as spending money or engaging in other risky behaviors
- Being unable to get out of bed some days or canceling plans with family and friends because you suddenly feel tired or sad
- Starting arguments or other confrontations with loved ones out of the blue
- Having an unexplainable lack of patience with others
It’s normal for everyone to feel sad or irritated sometimes, but if you experience these emotions randomly without cause, or for days at a time, consider speaking to your doctor.
What Causes Mood Swings?
In most cases, extreme mood swings are a sign of a more significant health condition. They can be linked to hormonal changes, substance abuse problems or medications. People may experience mood swings because:
- They’re undergoing a big life change, such as starting a new job
- They aren’t getting enough sleep
- They’re eating unhealthy foods, which impacts hormone levels
- They’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed by external factors in their life
These are all natural reasons to experience mood swings and are typically managed with simple lifestyle changes. However, if your mood swings have no apparent cause, they could be a sign of a mental health condition.
Are Your Mood Swings Indicative of Another Condition?
Approximately 9.7% of adults in the U.S. reportedly experience a mood disorder of some sort each year. These mood swings can stem from several underlying mental health conditions that require treatment to manage and improve your quality of life.
These are some of the most common conditions mood swings are a sign of:
Individuals with bipolar disorder extreme emotional highs and lows, known as mania and depression. These shifts in mood can be rare or frequent, depending on the person. For adults, 4.4% experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lives, making it one of the most prominent causes of extreme mood swings.
Common treatment options for bipolar disorder include psychotherapy in combination with at least one mood stabilizing medication.
A less severe form of bipolar disorder, cyclothymic disorder is when a person experiences milder emotional highs and lows. Talk therapy and mood stabilizers are frequently used to manage this condition.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Major depressive disorder can be mistaken for extreme mood swings because individuals may experience periods of happiness between bouts of depression.
MDD affects 6.7% of the US population over the age of 18. The condition is more prevalent in females, though it can affect males as well. The median age for starting to experience symptoms of MDD is 32.5, but it can manifest in adults of any age.
Thoughts of self-harm require immediate attention and sometimes inpatient care. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Borderline personality disorder can cause individuals to have difficulty managing their behavior due to intense mood swings and challenges with their self-image. These mood swings are emphasized by unstable relationships with people in their lives due to a fear of abandonment.
Individual therapy sessions, group therapy and deep brain stimulation therapy are all viable options for treating BPD. Your doctor may also recommend a mood stabilizing medication to reduce irritability and even out mood swings in combination with your therapy sessions.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Though ADHD is often thought of as affecting children, it’s also common in adults. ADHD can cause a lack of interest in normal activities and feelings of loneliness or sadness. People with ADHD are at a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression.
As of 2016, 6.1 million American children had been diagnosed with ADHD, with many cases continuing into adulthood.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Experiencing Mood Swings
You can ask yourself these questions about your mood swings to determine their severity.
- Do the mood swings interfere with your day?
- Do any of your blood relatives experience mood swings due to manic depressive disorder or bipolar disorder?
- Are the mood swings accompanied by changes in your energy level?
- Do the mood swings coincide with more risky behavior than usual, such as excessive drinking or sexual activity?
- Are the mood swings making you so irritable that it’s affecting your relationships?
If you feel like your mood swings are extreme and impacting how you live your life, it’s time to seek professional help.
When to Seek Help
To understand how to control mood swings, you need to identify the cause of the behavior. If you suspect your mood swings are the result of an underlying mental health condition and they’re interfering with your daily life, consider seeking help.
Treatment for mental health conditions that cause mood swings can improve your quality of life by reducing irritability and changing the way your brain functions. You can talk to your family doctor about how to get a diagnosis for your condition, or contact a facility like FHE Health that specializes in treatment and rehabilitation for mental health conditions.
Start Your Mental Health Journey Today
At FHE Health, we offer both residential and outpatient care to address your needs and ensure you have access to a treatment plan that works for you. With 4% of adults in the U.S. experiencing mental illness that interferes with their work, school or daily life, the importance of making mental health care more accessible is clear.
Contact us today to start your journey to recovery at (844) 299-0618.