Last Updated August 7th, 2021
Hectic lifestyle, poorly managed health and worsening health conditions are the major causative factors that held responsible for increasing mental stress in humans. Extreme mental stress further lays a foundation for many fatal physical as well as emotional disorders. Prolonged exposure to intense mental stress conditions, often, gives birth to a wide range of critical health problems one such concern is “mood swing”. Mood swings sound very harmless; however, they can be intense as well. Mood swings in extreme conditions if not managed and treated properly, can turn into major mood disorders.
Mood swing is a normal mental condition. It refers to frequent transitions in the mood of a person. It is not considered harmful in the majority of the cases; however, when these mood swings occur at a very high frequency it becomes problematic to handle. Very often, these mood fluctuations occur at an extreme level and start interfering with the regular functioning of an individual. Extreme fluctuations in mood should not be ignored; rather, it should be discussed with medical practitioners or counselors. One should know the underlying reasons for these mood swings.
Causes of Mood Swings
A wide range of factors are responsible for worsening the problem of mood swings, this makes it further difficult to understand underlying reasons for frequent transitions in the behavior of a person.
Adolescents and women undergo major hormonal changes which impact them physically as well as mentally. The imbalanced release of hormones can cause a significant chemical change in the human brain, leading to extreme mood fluctuations. Women are more prone to mood fluctuations as they experience more hormonal fluctuations as compared to male counterparts.
For example, during the menstrual cycle, within a span of two weeks level of estrogen and progesterone in females changes drastically. This further leads to significant changes in the level of serotonin in females’ body causing rapid mood fluctuations. Similarly, a low level of progesterone and estrogen during menopause cause a sharp decline in the production of serotonin (the happy hormone), which leads to menopause induced depressions in females.
Substance-Induced Mood Disorder
People involved in excessive consumption of alcohol and lethal psychoactive drugs get caught in the trap of addiction. Excessive use of these substances on a regular basis interferes with the nerve signaling process and tamper with dopamine production level in humans. Use of psychoactive drugs gives a momentarily high to the user, this feeling of euphoria doesn’t stay for a longer duration. However, to re-experience the similar feeling, an addict becomes regular with substance abuse. The prolonged use of these drugs makes a person habitual and a person is unable to feel that feeling of euphoria. These mental conditions cause an extreme level of mood swings. In addition to this, on quitting the use of alcohol, cigarettes or psychoactive drugs, people experience dramatic mood transitions.
Other Mental Health Problems
Mental health problems are majorly unidentified and left untreated due to lack of understanding. However, poor mental health can lead to a problem of mood disorders, which are extremely difficult to handle. The commonly observed mood disorders that can cause frequent mood swings are:
- Bipolar: Bipolar is a state, where the mood of an individual oscillates between extreme negative to extreme positive in a very drastic manner. This health condition is very difficult to identify as the frequency of extreme mood fluctuation is very less frequent.
- Cyclothymic disorder: This is a milder form of bipolar disorder. In this condition, sufferers undergo mood changes from happy to sad, however, not in a very severe manner.
- Mania: This mood disorder is characterized by an unusually high level of energy in an individual. The mind of a sufferer in this disorder can remain in an elevated state for one to three days for a continuous period. A person suffering from mania would find experience sleeplessness, would be more impulsive and take reckless decisions.
- Major Depressive Disorder: It is referred to a mental state where a person suffering from mood swings disorder experience a feeling of negativity for a prolonged period. The sufferers would start losing interest in daily activities; also becomes extremely irritable, and restless. This leads to a situation of social isolation and general discontent. If this condition is not handled properly can negatively impact various physical and mental health aspects of the sufferers.
- Dysthemia: It is a persistent depressive disorder, it is chronic in nature and sufferers stay in this condition for a very long duration.
- Other Mood Disorders: Borderline personality disorder (BPD), Schizophrenia, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD). These are also one of the few mood disorders that can cause mood transitions at a very frequent pace.
Poor Diet and Improper Sleep Cycle
An unhealthy diet and improper cycle are causative factors of various lifestyle disorders. Both of them in conjugation have a strong impact on the physical and mental health of a person. An improper sleep cycle is known to cause fatigue for a prolonged period. Fatigue is a condition in which a person constantly feels tired & weak; also a fatigued individual would experience low motivation, high level of anxiety for a considerable amount of time. The energy level of a person is not restored if he doesn’t take proper sleep which causes fatigue and consequently, leads to mood fluctuations.
In addition to this, the health of digestive tract, blood sugar level fluctuations, imbalanced blood pressure & cholesterol levels are capable of impacting mood changes in a person. Poor dietary choices by humans cause lifestyle disorders which ultimately lead to unstable emotional and physical health. As a result, a person experiences frequent variation in mood. High sugar level in the blood triggers the human nervous system to produce happy chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, whereas low sugar level in the blood tends to make a person irritable. People those who experience high fluctuation in their blood sugar level are more prone to frequent mood swings. Therefore, a person should try to depend on natural sugar sources to maintain a steady blood sugar level to avoid instability in the mood.
Anxiety is a Common Trigger for Mood Swings
There could be numerous underlying reasons for frequent mood changes, however, all the causative factors narrow down to stress. Improper diet, lack of sleep & exercise, hormonal dysregulation, mental health conditions all create mental or physical stress on human health. Living under highly stressed conditions cause emotional distress which results in rapid mood swings. Anxiety is a state of mind in which a person remains in a highly anxious state for a longer duration than normal. An anxious person is the hyper-responsive and hyper-alert majority of the time, which creates extra pressure on mind and body. In this condition all the essential organs soak up a high amount of energy for their strenuous functioning, leaving the person energy deprived. Such anxiety conditions trigger irritation, emotional instability and frequent variations in moods of a person.
Interesting Facts Related to Mood Swings
- All mood swings are not mood disorders: Mood swings are not always severe; sometimes they just need a little attention instead of serious treatment. People experiencing mood swing should understand mood swing is very short lived non-medical condition. However, the mood disorder is a serious behavioral issue which requires treatment from medical practitioners.
- Deficiency of vitamin D and calcium can trigger mood swing: Deficiency of vitamin D is strongly linked with mood swings and depressive mood disorder. Additionally, calcium which plays an important role in the functioning of the central nervous system also helps in maintaining mood stability. Calcium deficiency can cause irritation and tension in humans.
- Restrictive diet followers need to add B-complex supplement in their diet: B-complex vitamin supplements are capable of reducing fatigue in humans. Deteriorating B-6 and B-12 levels are known to cause various health problems; however, their declining level in the human body can also cause anxiety and depression problems. Both the vitamins are present in animal-sourced products, therefore, for vegans, it becomes important to add B-complex supplement in their diet.
- Night shift triggering anxiety issues: Hectic work hours are always linked with increased stress on human physical and mental health. Long working hours during nights is capable of causing various health problems such as metabolism disorder, obesity, and depression. However, the anxiety issue is considered a major problem with night shift workers. Odd working hours make them more prone to mood swings and irritation.
Symptoms Commonly Seen in People with Frequent Mood Swings
There is a wide range of symptoms that can be seen in people suffering from frequent mood changes. The symptoms can be seen in the behavior of a person or may be occurring in the back of his mind without being noticed. Below is a list of common symptoms that can be seen in people experiencing rapid mood transitions:
|Behavioral Symptoms||Physical Symptoms|
|Hopelessness or feeling helpless||Too much or too less sleep|
|Prolonged anxiety or nervousness||Loss of Appetite or Overeating|
|Low self-esteem||Frequent Headaches|
|Feeling worthless||Frequent Stomachache|
|Decreased Concentration||Feeling lethargic or high energetic|
|Indecisiveness||Loss in weight|
|Extremely hostile & aggressive behavior|
|Highly irritable and anger issues|
|Unstable motivation levels (high & low)|
|Loss of interest in doing routine activities|
Diagnosis of Mood Swings
The intensity and frequency of mood variations indicate whether mood swings of a person are just a phase or indicating serious mood disorders. A person has to go under physical as well as mental health examination to understand underlying reasons for mood swings. It is very important for a medical practitioner to understand the underlying cause for mood swings. Sometimes physical health problems such as hormonal imbalance, diabetes, PCOD, etc. may cause fatigue conditions and extreme mood swings.
The treatment of these physical ailments may decrease the possibility of causing mood disorder. In addition to this, mental health evaluators perform a sequence of multiple assignments to uncover mental fitness and stability of the individual. However, the diagnosis of causes of mood swings is very difficult as the majority population doesn’t consider mood fluctuation a serious disorder or an indication of serious health trouble. Majority of the times, reasons for mood swings are not revealed as a result very less number of people is able to get proper treatment.
How to Overcome Mood Swing Problems?
Physical and mental health problems both are important causative factors leading to extreme mood swings conditions. However, a faulty lifestyle is considered a root cause for increasing physical and mental disorders. Shifting towards a healthier lifestyle may help a person to deal with mood swings and related disorders significantly.
Lifestyle Changes Required to Treat Mood Swing Problems
Regular Exercise: Exercise is key to a healthy body and mind. Routine exercise of 4-5 days every week can significantly control mood swings. It is proven scientifically that exercise is capable of releasing feel-good hormones in the human body. Endorphins that are released during workout session’s decline stress levels and uplift mood of individuals. Therefore, regular exercises help in relieving mood swing problems. In addition to this, one can always practice yoga or meditation to experience calmness.
Balanced Diet: A person should also focus on having a balanced diet to overcome the problem of extreme mood swings. Well-balanced diets avoid abrupt increase or decrease in blood glucose level which helps in maintaining mood stability. Rather than having 3 large meals, one must try to have 5-6 smaller meals, this would boost metabolism and would help in stabilizing blood sugar level. In addition to this, increase intake of calcium has been proven to ease emotional fluctuations related to pre-menstrual syndrome. Highly starchy and sugary food should be avoided as both of them cause abrupt fluctuations in blood glucose and body metabolism level. Therefore, excess consumption of highly starchy and sugary food items can aggravate mood swing problems.
Proper Sleep Cycle: In order to stabilize the mood an individual should try not to tamper with sleep routines. A sound sleep is required for energy restoration as well as mental healing of a person. Lack of sleep is capable of making a person lethargic and irritable whereas proper sleep keeps a person energized and motivated throughout day.
Track Mood Swing Trigger: A person can always make a mental or physical note of the instances or situations that can cause unmanageable emotional stress and act as a trigger for abrupt mood change. In this way, one would be able to reveal the cause of mood change and also he would be in a position to find an appropriate solution to deal with the situation.
Therapy: A person suffering from mood swings can opt for psychotherapy sessions. Psychotherapists build a relationship with the sufferer and channelize the thought process of the sufferer in a positive direction. In the therapy sessions, sufferers undergo multiple counseling sessions, which help in dealing with the problem of mood swings.
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