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All About Mood Swings

A mood swing is simply a noticeable change in one’s mood or emotional state. Everybody has mood swings and they are a natural part of most people’s lives. We get happy, we get sad. We have a period of feeling on top of the world, and then later in the same day, we feel tired, lethargic and beaten down. Small mood swings are a part of most people’s lives.

However, some people’s mood swings are so extreme, rapid or serious, that they interfere with that individual’s functioning in everyday life. Bipolar disorder is the best example of a disorder that is characterized by mood swings — from manic to depressed. You can, however, have mood swings between any two moods or emotions, sad to angry, happy to contemplative, etc. etc.

What Can I Do About a Mood Swing?

People who are experiencing a mood swing that’s been going on for more than a few weeks and is seriously affecting their friendships, relationship, school work, etc. should consider seeking professional help for the issue. A professional can help accurately diagnose the problem, and prescribe a course of treatment to reduce the mood swings.

Mood swings are not a person’s fault, nor can time always heal this kind of issue on its own. Without help, often times people get worse instead of better. Mood swings can be so bad as to make it impossible for a person to go to class or work, or hang out with friends or your significant other. Denying one has mood swings, especially if others bring it to your attention, isn’t going to make things any better. Getting help for them can.

What About Less Serious Mood Swings?

Mood swings that aren’t linked to a specific disorder generally come and go as a natural part of a person’s life, or might be a part of a person’s personality. While mood swings haven’t been scientifically linked to many specific foods, drugs, or such, a common example is that of someone consuming a large amount of sugar (e.g., from cola or other beverages) and then coming down off of the “sugar high.”

The best way a person can identify their own mood swing triggers is to keep on the lookout for times when you’ve noticed your mood has changed significantly from what it was earlier in the day, and trace back your steps about what food, drinks or activities you may have engaged in. Tracking this pattern in a journal or online can help you identify things that may trigger or precede a possible mood swing, allowing you to avoid those triggers (such specific quantities of specific foods or beverages) in the future.

All About Mood Swings

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2016). All About Mood Swings. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 17, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/all-about-mood-swings/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 17 Jul 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Jul 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.