Are you experiencing mood swings:

by Dr Donna Robinson

One moment, you are happy and going about your day just fine and the next moment you feel angry, upset, annoyed, or even depressed. If you feel the same way too, you may be experiencing mood swings.

 

Are these normal

Most of you may have experienced having ‘mood swings’ but is this rollercoaster of normal feelings? Everyone experiences mood swings from time to time, however, it can be a sign of an underlying condition if it is prolonged and disrupts your daily life, including relationships, hobbies and work. You may ask what causes these mood swings?

 

What’s causes mood swings

Your mood may shift many times a day which may be due to a variety of reasons. It can occur due to internal changes in your body such as fluctuations in hormones, however, sometimes it’s beyond the body, and be caused due to the changes in our social environment. These changes may include increased levels of stress at university, work, or in many cases, family tensions. Any of these changes can cause extreme levels of imbalances in our body leading to the roller coaster of emotions you may be feeling.

 

These mood swings may be rhythmic, and it often occurs with people that they feel extremely energetic and enthusiastic around the morning, however continue to feel more down and have negative thoughts and feelings as the evening approaches. If these mood swings are very frequent and seem to be never ending, it may be a symptom of internal disruption in your body, which can vary from mental illnesses to changes in body fluids and hormones. When these changes are intense, they can be dangerous for your mental and physical health.

 

Don’t you worry! This is treatable by a professional mental health specialist who can assist you in working out what may be causing this and lead you to take little steps that, if followed routinely can greatly impact your condition.

Hormonal changes

Has your child been irritable and annoyed at things for no good reasons? This may be because your child is going through puberty. Emotions are tied to your bodily fluids and having fluctuations in levels of hormones can lead to intense mood swings. 

 

Hormonal changes are also the reason behind the ‘moodiness’ behind many women going through premenstrual syndrome (PMS), periods, pregnancy, and menopause. Men usually do not experience similar symptoms until their 30s, when they start experiencing mood swings due to decreasing levels of testosterone.

 

Mood swings and mental illnesses – depression

Depression is a mental condition where an individual feels persistently upset and experiences a loss of interest. Due to the nature of depression, an untreated depressed individual may experience intense levels of fluctuating emotions causing mood swings. Depression usually also causes one to feel rhythmic changes in mood, and one might feel low in the morning but feel more energetic and productive later in the evening.

 

Other symptoms of depression may include, feeling worthless, irregularities in sleeping patterns, overeating or not eating enough, feeling uninterested in regular enjoyable activities, having difficulty in concentrating, feeling extremely exhausted and unmotivated throughout the day, and having suicidal thoughts. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for more than 15 days, you may have to visit a medical professional.

 

 

Bipolar disorder

 

Bipolar disorder may be one of the most common causes of mood swings. People with bipolar disorder can experience many intense levels of highs and lows and prolonged levels of mood swings. There are two types of bipolar disorder- bipolar 1 and bipolar 2, characterised by manic and hypomanic phases respectively. 

 

Individuals with bipolar disorder 1, experience a manic episode which may include feeling high levels of energy, impulsive behaviour, increased talkativeness, decreased need for sleep and even increased risk taking behaviours. These actions can impair your normal functioning and can lead to consequences that may hurt one and even lead one to end up in a hospital.

 

In contrast, people experiencing bipolar disorder 2 may be feeling extreme levels of long lasting depression. This may cause extreme fatigue and make it difficult for you to even get out of your bed for days. These individuals feeling prolonged sadness may feel unmotivated, have poor nutrition, experience memory loss, and even have suicidal thoughts. 

 

As you may have noticed, both of these types cause people to experience periods of heightened moods. Individuals may also experience alternating periods of manic and hypomanic episodes, which are much less severe; this phase is known as cyclothymia.

 

Stress and anxiety

 

If you are stressed and are sensitive to changes in life, even small day to day changes, good or bad can majorly change your mood. This may cause you to react to these situations strongly and lead you to feeling uneasiness or worry for a prolonged period even without a good reason. If you have felt like this for more than 6 months, this may indicate that you have an anxiety disorder.  

 

Borderline personality disorder (BoPD)

Have you felt happy one moment and then extremely annoyed and again felt anxious? This may indicate BoPD, a condition that can cause sudden persistent mood changes. These mood swings can last for a few hours to even a few days and be intense, however not as much as you would experience in bipolar disorder. 

 

This disorder is strongly associated with life events and is mostly related to mood changes charactered by personality rather than episodes. This type of mental illness may lead to one feeling empty and anxious leading them to have suicidal thoughts.

 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Adults with ADHD, experience intense levels of anger and can get easily annoyed, and take impulse decisions leading them to be unable to focus. This can usually cause harm to the people around them and many times themselves too.

 

What can you do about it

 

Treat yourself kindly

Don’t place blame on yourself for the way you feel. Some days will be better than others and that’s normal and natural. Adjustment disorder is not a form of failure; it is often a confluence of several things, including a move to a new country. If you need medical help, don’t hesitate to seek it. You deserve to feel better.

 

Counselling 

There are now a lot of counselling services in Bangkok and there are counsellors who speak different languages. Online you can easily find lots of them. Usually, 5 to 8 sessions is an average number needed to make you feel more comfortable and at ease.

 

Medication 

There are a variety of medications, the number one being SSRIs (selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors) which are anti depression medications. They work by boosting the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of wellbeing. SSRIs allow the brain to maintain a higher level of serotonin, thus lifting your mood. SSRIs aren’t a quick fix to make you feel better, but they may help in the short term. However, if you think you are having side effects, there are other types of medications.

 

Herbal help 

Another type of supplement is St. John’s Wort, traditional herbal medicine that helps relieve anxiety and remedy low spirits. It also works by interacting with Serotonin and is similar to SSRIs. It can be bought at most chemists that sell products by GMC or Blackmores. Because its effects are fairly mild, you don’t need a prescription. If you take St. John’s Wort, make sure you don’t take SSRIs (antidepressants) at the same time. 

 

Cognitive behavioural therapy:

The cognitive behavioural theory is a short term treatment that can help you to change the way you think and behave which usually are problematic in your life.

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