Sometimes, mood swings are a symptom of a mental illness. Or they could be a clue that something else is happening in your body.


Mood swings can be normal, and are only an indicator of underlying disease when feelings become excessive, all-consuming and interfere with daily living.

It’s healthy to experience regular changes in mood. But how much is too much? We explain rapid shifts in mood and how they may be a symptom of a medical.

Many things can affect how your mood shifts throughout the day. For example, because of body rhythms, most people feel upbeat and energetic around noon but tend to have more negative feelings during the early afternoon or evening.

Sometimes, mood swings are a symptom of a mental illness. Or they could be a clue that something else is happening in your body.

Stress and Anxiety
Day-to-day hassles and unexpected surprises — both the good kind and the unpleasant ones — can definitely change your mood. And when you’re especially sensitive, you may react more strongly or more often to situations than other people.

Lack of sleep, a common complaint of people under stress, doesn’t help.
Someone who is depressed may have mood swings, too. They’ll have their lows, then feel OK, but they won’t get the manic highs that someone with bipolar disorder would. Depressed people may feel worse in the morning and become more cheerful later in the day.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Mood swings, a hot temper, and easily getting frustrated can sometimes be symptoms of ADHD in adults. If you have it, you’re probably also restless, impulsive, and unable to focus.

Borderline Personality Disorder
A characteristic of this mental illness is sudden, intense shifts in mood — such as anxious to angry, or depressed to anxious — usually without the extreme highs seen in bipolar disorder. These are often “triggered” by what seem like ordinary interactions with other people. Someone with borderline personality disorder doesn’t deal well with stress. They may want to harm themselves when they feel very unsettled or upset.

Hormonal Changes
Sex hormones are tied to your emotions, so changes in your hormone levels can lead to mood swings. It’s no surprise that teenagers are often described as “moody.”

For women, PMS, pregnancy, menopause (the year after your last period), and perimenopause (the years before it) can lead to unpredictable moods.

Men’s hormones tend to stay pretty stable until age 30, when testosterone begins to gradually decline. About a third of men age 75 and older have low levels of testosterone. That can cause mood swings, along with erectile dysfunction, sleep problems, and, yes, hot flashes.

Regular workouts
Even a daily walk — can help take the edge off depression and anxiety, because they’ll trigger your body to make feel-good endorphins. Plus, exercise can improve your sleep.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of short-term treatment. Your therapist will help you change patterns of thinking and behavior that add to problems in your life. For instance, if criticism sends you into a tailspin, you may work on new ways to receive and react to constructive feedback.

Listening to upbeat music
Listening to music can influence your mood in a good way. Too much caffeine can give you symptoms similar to anxiety, so try cutting back and see if your emotions level off.

Dialectical behavior therapy
This can help people with borderline personality disorder learn how to better control their anger and impulses and manage their dramatic mood shifts.

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