A mood swing is an extreme or rapid change in mood. Such mood swings can play a positive part in promoting problem solving and in producing flexible forward planning.
However, when mood swings are so strong that they are disruptive, they may be the main part of a bipolar disorder says clinical psychologist, Patricia Chiegboka.
She said mood swings can happen any time at any place, varying from the microscopic to the wild oscillations of manic depression, so that a continuum can be traced from normal struggles around self-esteem up to a depressive disease.
“However most people’s mood swings remain in the mild to moderate range of emotional ups and downs reveals Chiegboka.”
The duration of mood swings also varies. They may last a few hours and such mood swings are known as ultrarapid and when they extend over days, they are called ultradian mood swings.
Chiegboka maintains that only when four continuous days of hypomania or seven days of mania, occur, is a diagnosis of bipolar disorder justified.
“In such cases, mood swings can extend over several days, even weeks: these episodes may consist of rapid alternation between feelings of depression and euphoria.”
Changes in a person’s energy level, sleep patterns, self-esteem, concentration, drug or alcohol use can be signs of an oncoming mood disorder noted Chiegboka.
Different things might trigger mood swings, from unhealthy diet or lifestyle to drug abuse or hormonal imbalance.
Other major causes of mood swings besides bipolar disorder and major depression include diseases and certain disorders which interfere with nervous system function. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy, and autism are three such examples.
The hyperactivity sometimes accompanied by inattentiveness, impulsiveness, and forgetfulness are cardinal symptoms associated with ADHD. As a result, ADHD is known to bring about usually short-lived and sometimes dramatic mood swings.
According to Chiegboka, the communication difficulties associated with autism, and the associated changes in neurochemistry, are also known to cause autistic fits known as autistic mood swings.
In addition, the seizures associated with epilepsy involve changes in the brain’s electrical firing, and thus may also bring about striking and dramatic mood swings. If the mood swing is not associated with a mood disorder, treatments are harder to assign.
In common cases however, mood swings are the result of dealing with stressful and/or unexpected situations in daily life.
“Degenerative diseases of the human central nervous system such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis may also produce mood swings revealed Chiegboka.”
Not eating on time can contribute, or eating too much sugar, can cause fluctuations in blood sugar, which can cause mood swings.
If a person has an abnormal level of one or several of certain neurotransmitters (NTs) in their brain, it may result in having mood swings or a mood disorder. Serotonin is one such neurotransmitter that is involved with sleep, moods, and emotional states. A slight imbalance of this NT could result in depression. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is involved with learning, memory, and physical arousal. Like serotonin, an imbalance of norepinephrine may also result in depression.
Women and mood swing
Sometimes you feel good and fly in the air and at other times, you live in an emotional dark house, this all about mood swings which interfere with your lifestyle.
According to studies, women are more prone to emotional distress between the onset of menstruation, a culmination of menopause, birth control pills, and in pregnancy.
Extreme mood swings are the bipolar disorder which occurs due to change in hormones. It affects the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Lifestyle changes to help manage mood swings
Spending time with your friends or family who make you happy can help you feel calmer. This can also help you to control your mood swings.
“If you are suffering from depression or sadness, being around other people can help you feel more connected and more stable states Chiegboka.”
Keeping a journal can help you lift your moods. Mood swings are often associated with persistent expectations for bad things to happen or negative thinking.
Chiegboka advised, “Write down notes of big events, stresses, your feelings of happiness, how much sleep you are getting. This would help you to control the mood swings by understanding the patterns of your moods.”
According to Chiegboka, “If you feel your emotions rising up in any place, take five minutes break and focus on getting your breathing back to normal, and wait until you stop feeling angry before you return to the situation.”
This simple exercise can take your mind away from negative thoughts and feelings, try to examine the event and come up with a positive way.
Another way to handle your mood swings is to think before you speak so that you won’t regret your words later. Pausing for a few seconds can help you gather yourself and feel more in control of yourself while talking.
Healthy food may boost your brain and mood. It provides the building blocks of hormones and brain chemicals to regulate your mood. Healthy food you should eat include: vegetables, fruit, beans, meat, eggs, and fish. Eat plenty of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, oily fish, olive oil, and coconut oil to boost good moods.
Chiegboka noted that, “Caffeine and alcohol are addictives who trigger mood swings, headache, brain fog, and nausea. Alcohol and drugs can affect your mood by increasing anxiety and/ or blood pressure.”
Some medications may possibly trigger mood swings as well as other physical and emotional problems. People should also avoid energy drinks that can make them feel jittery and can cause mood swings.
Regular exercise helps you feel more in control of your body, muscle strength, improving overall health as well as your mind. Running, yoga, dancing, swimming, dancing, or anything that keeps you calm control your mood swings. Laughing exercise is good for reducing stress, helps you stay stronger and control your mood swings. Lack of sleep may also trigger mood swings. Listening to soothing music, reading, or taking a warm bath before going to the bed makes you relax and control the mood swings.
Chiegboka said: “There are some physiological conditions that are associated with noticeable alterations in mood and effects. Some of the physiological conditions may include head injury or brain tumors, allergies, artificial fragrances, pregnancy, and puberty.