mood swings
Self Care

Mood Swings – Signs & Symptoms – What are they? What causes them?

Ever felt happy one moment, and then frustrated the next? Like you were super excited for a party, but when the day arrives, you’re bummed out for no reason? Mood swings are real. You can go from being happy to irritated in just a few minutes. What are they and What causes them? What are the life threatening signs and symptoms of mood swings? Can irritability be one of them? Which mental health conditions are responsible?

What are mood swings?

Mood swings, as the name suggests, are when you have a rapid change in your frame of mind. You can feel very hopeful one second, and then instantly shift to being sad. Sometimes, these mood changes happen as a reaction to changes in your environment. But your scale of reaction may be out of proportion to the event’s importance. In some cases, your mood changes for no real reason. Experts think mood swings happen because of a chemical imbalance in the brain. It’s not yet known why these imbalances occur, but they seem to be the main reason why mood swings happen.

Mood Swing Symptoms

One of the main symptoms of mood swings is irritability and anxiety. If you tend to get irritated by relatively small things in your daily life, it’s a sign that you’re suffering from mood swings. Boredom can also be an indication of mood swings. Have you lost interest in your favorite hobby? This could be due to a mood swing. If you have difficulty understanding situations, or have muddled thoughts, it’s likely because of mood swings.

You’ll also have a hard time paying attention to the task at hand. If you’re finding it difficult to read and write, this is another symptom of a mood swing. This also applies to talking, thinking and even memory loss. You will also find changes in your personality and behavior. In extreme cases of mood swings, you might suffer from delusions and hallucinations. Rapid speech is another sign of mood swings, while poor judgment can also be attributed to it.

Symptoms related to the body

Along with the symptoms shared above, there are also signs that affect you physically. For instance, you might see a change in your appetite, as well as your weight. Coughing is also a sign, especially if it gets severe. Fatigue and weakness are also associated with mood. If you miss your menstrual cycle, this could be a sign of mood swings, as it changes the hormonal balance.

Nausea can also point to mood swings, regardless of whether or not it’s followed by vomiting. In some cases, you might even be subjected to seizures and tremors. Shortness of breath and sleep disturbances are other symptoms.

Life threatening symptoms

Some symptoms you display when struggling with mood swings could be life-threatening. This could be a danger to yourself or others, due to reckless and irrational behavior. This includes threatening people, as well as suicidal thoughts. If you’re suffering from hallucinations and delusions, it could lead to life threatening behavior. Seizures can result in the same if there is no one around to help you. Playing risky games is another sign that can lead to life threatening behavior.

Taking too many drugs, leading to an overdose is another dangerous consequence of mood swings. Even if you just talk about self harm or hurting another person, it’s a dangerous sign that needs to be treated with medical care. Constantly talking about wanting to die is a sign of deep depression. You could even cause injuries to yourself, such as bone deformity, burns or eye injuries.

Causes of Mood Swings

Mental health conditions

People with bipolar disorder tend to have severe mood swings. If you’re suffering from the condition, you’ll see your mood ranging from extremely happy to extremely sad. Keep in mind, this usually happens only a few times a year. Another mental health condition that can cause mood swings is cyclothymic disorder. This is a mild form of bipolar disorder, where your emotions go from one end to the other, but are a lot less severe.

People suffering from major depressive disorder, also called clinical depression, tend to be sad for a long period of time. This change in mood is not necessarily linked to an event that is currently happening. For people suffering from multiple personality disorder, you can suffer rapid changes in mood in just a short period of time. Disruptive mood disorder is another form of mental illness usually found in children. If your child has this health condition, they will display outbursts that are not usually associated with their developmental stage.

There are other mental conditions that will also cause mood swings. Schizophrenia and ADHD are two of them. Here, you will display extreme happiness to extreme sadness within a short span of time. If you have any of these mental health conditions, your doctor can give you medication to treat the disorders. Along with the medication, lifestyle changes and psychotherapy are suggested as part of the treatment.

Hormonal conditions

Hormones are another reason for a change in mood. This is because the hormones have an effect on the chemicals in your brain. These effects are usually seen in teenagers and women who are pregnant. If you’re going through menopause, then it also has an effect on your hormones. The mood swings occur because of these hormonal changes as part of your body’s development.

Substance use

If you’re in the habit of taking drugs or drinking alcohol, you could be suffering from mood swings as well. Excessive intake of drugs and alcohol can cause addiction, which has debilitating effects on your life. Many addicts tend to have mood swings, especially if they’re unable to get their fix. These changes can be hard on the person, as well as their family members. It’s necessary to reach out to doctors for a treatment plan in these cases.

Other health conditions

Many other conditions bring on mood swings. Diseases that affect your lungs or cardiovascular system can cause these mood shifts. If you have a health condition that affects your central nervous system, that also causes problems. Meningitis is another health condition that can become lethal. This causes inflammation around your brain and spinal cord. Anyone can get meningitis, but children younger than 5 years of age, or those who have weak immunity are the most vulnerable.

A traumatic brain injury can also cause extreme mood swings. These injuries could be because of a traffic accident, sports injury or even assault. Because of the impact it has on the functioning of your brain, you tend to experience wild mood change. A stroke could also be the cause of mood change. Mania, usually seen in people suffering from bipolar disorder, can also be a symptom. This is a high level of mood or energy.

Final Thoughts

Mood swings can be a sign of several mental health conditions, including depression. You could also be physically and emotionally exhausted. But is it the only sign? There are several other warning signs indicating a major depressive episode. Mental and emotional exhaustion also have a serious impact.

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