Did you ever have one of those days when you felt blue, only the next day for everything to seem perfect? If your answer is yes, then you are already familiar with mood swings. The truth is that we all experience them and they do not represent a huge issue, as long as they do not have a negative effect on our life.
When the mood swings are frequent or severe in nature, they can impact your daily functioning and prevent you from engaging in various activities. You might go from feeling like you are on top of the moon to having difficulties getting out of bed, as you are extremely depressed.
As such changes can be the sign of an underlying health problem, it is important to check in with your doctor. Together, you can explore the reasons for which these mood swings have occurred and take actions to get things back to normal. Keep in mind that there are many mental health problems that can affect your mood but there are additional causes to worry about (hormonal imbalance, drug addiction, etc.).
Mood swings – from one extreme to the other
If you are the kind to go from one extreme to the other, especially in a short period of time, you might suffer from a mood disorder. People who are bipolar experience frequent mood swings, going from happy to sad and back. The changes in the mood can be associated with depression, with the person in question experiencing periods of extreme sadness.
People who suffer from personality disorders can experience rapid changes in their mood, while the disruptive mood can be encountered in children as well (sudden outbursts). Anxiety is often present in people with mood swings, the tendency being towards a generalized feeling of worry.
It is important to understand that mood swings can be determined by an underlying condition, such as the thyroid dysfunction, ADHD and severe mental health problems (schizophrenia). Additional health problems, affecting the lungs, cardiovascular system or central nervous system, can lead to mood swings. Substance abuse can modify the mood, increasing the risk of self-harm or suicide.
Mood swings might be accompanied and clearly determined by hormonal changes, as it happens in women who are pregnant or going through menopause. Specific mood changes are encountered in teenagers or in the case of the premenstrual syndrome. Interestingly enough, men might present mood swings as a result of low testosterone levels (physiological change in older age).
In almost all of the cases, the changes in the mood can be triggered by additional factors. For example, these can become more frequent or severe in nature when one is stressed, sleep-deprived or has changed his/her diet, medication etc. Significant life changes can lead to mood disorders, especially if they involve the death of a loved person, divorce or financial difficulties.
When to see your doctor
While it is normal to experience mood swings from time to time, if these continue for a prolonged period or begin to disrupt your daily life, you should consider seeing a professional.
The need to go to the doctor becomes even more pressing in the situation that your mood swings lead to unpredictable behavior. If you are angry one minute and then excessively happy the next, this is not good. You have to be aware of the fact that unmanaged emotions can impact your life severely, and not in a good manner.
If your mood swings cause you to give into uncontrollable urges or lead to a risky behavior prevailing, you have to seek out help. It is possible that, as a result of these mood disorders, you might even attempt to harm yourself or experience suicidal thoughts. Such situations have to be dealt with on the spot and you should never be ashamed to get professional help.
Mood swings, especially when underlined by depression, can prevent you from living a good, happy life. You might isolate yourself and refrain from seeing friends or family members, suffer from sleep deprivation and quit your job. A professional can help you identify a patter in your behavior and, as you will discuss your feelings, you will definitely come up with the best solutions.
All of the conditions that can lead to mood swings can be managed, especially through lifestyle changes and psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy, emotions management). Medication might be recommended for severe mood swings, eliminating disruptive or potentially-harmful behaviors.
Lifestyle changes can help you stabilize your mood. You are advised to stick to a routine, follow a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise, as this will stimulate the brain to release those feel-good endorphins. Try yoga and meditation to relax, as well as stress management techniques and creative hobbies. It is also recommended to cut back on caffeine, alcohol and any kind of drugs, as these can severely influence the mood.
How to track your mood with the help of a mood tracker
CareClinic is a health app that can be used as a mood tracker, among other things. You can use the app to record your mood swings, as well as potential reasons for which these have occurred. The application will compile all of your entries into a comprehensive health report, which can be further shared with your treating physician.
It is useful to know that CareClinic offers you the possibility to make journal entries about your mood swings. You can make daily entries with regard to how you are feeling and identify a pattern of behavior based on your journal notes. The app allows you to record your entire treatment plan, set up reminders for your medication or therapies, and even add a team of caregivers.
Why it is important to use such an application? When you suffer from mood swings, it can be difficult to keep track of everything you are feeling. With the help of the CareClinic health app, you can record your manifestations as they happen and see how you felt over an extended period of time.
Published by Lena Burkut