Do you ever feel like your mood is on a rollercoaster? One minute happy, the next minute sad or angry for no apparent reason. It's common to experience mood swings, but what exactly are they? In this article, we'll take a closer look at mood swings and explore the various faces of this emotional phenomenon that affect individuals differently.
Understanding Mood Swings
A mood swing refers to an extreme or rapid change in an individual's emotional state. This shift can last anywhere from several hours to days, weeks, or even months. During this time, people may experience intense ups and downs that can impact their daily lives.
Mood swings typically fall under two broad categories - manic episodes and depressive states. However, it is possible for someone to experience mixed symptoms—such as high energy levels with depressed thoughts—or have milder fluctuations between these two states.
Manic Episodes & Hypomania
Mania involves periods of elevated mood characterized by:
- Increased energy
- High self-esteem
- Little sleep
- Racing thoughts
- Risky behavior (including overspending)
Ideally, some would consider hypomania as "good" mania because its symptoms don't impair an individual's everyday life quite so much as full-blown mania might do; however it still has consequences such as disrupting normal sleep patterns which adversely affects health!
Depression defines periods marked by low extremes where feelings include sadness along with exhaustion / fatigue; there is less motivation leading possibly even difficulty initiating tasks without great effort. Signs alongside pervasive negative thinking may be:
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Loss of appetite / overeating issues Far more severe than just feeling down once in awhile truly struggling affects far too many folks each year... hopefully, help and treatment will be administered in all mental health circumstances!
Normal/healthy Mood Swings consist of minor or expected shifts depicted generally during the day. Short-lived interactions with strangers filled with amusement, fulfilling work assignments leading to those blissful moments of accomplishment, etc.
The Many Faces of Mood
Like every individual human body is completely unique (surprise!). There's no one-size-fits-all definition for mood swings since individuals' experiences are different. Let's explore some common types of mood swings-
Bipolar Disorder is a more productized/ diagnosed form defined by significant symptoms alternating between manic states & depressive moods over days or months.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)is a variation that impacts people as the calendar year turns from summer sunshine to dark winter nights changing sleep patterns /circadian rhythm leading to feeling lethargic low motivated quite often clinically referred to as "wintertime blues".
"The hormones did it" may be considered stereotypical language but hormonal change has a powerful impact on fluctuations. These times include:
- Menstrual cycle
- Pregnancy -Menopause
The problems-and-wellness-solutions list here depends heavily upon what bodily process you're experiencing; much like each person's experience differs so do these factors!
Stress - Chronic and Acute
Between concerns about finances relationships and goals it should not come as any surprise how extraordinarily stressed everyday life leaves us! When we experience chronic stress our bodies undergo considerable changes placing us at risk for developing emotional conditions potentially worsened if prolonged enough.
In contrast short term anxiety triggering events such as facing an exam/session perhaps job interview can trigger momentary 'flight-or-fight response,' followed typically by relief after things subside.
Why Do I Experience Mood Swings?
There are many possible causes behind this internal storm none too odd considering how stressors build up over time! Below we offer an overview of some factors that may come into play resulting in heightened mental health changes ahead of mood swings:
Genetics - Family History
Many aspects of our lives and even internal makeup are genes predispose to conditions such as Bipolar Disorder or depressive episodes, anxiety attacks or other. It is not a surprise then, when these same familial genetics place individuals at higher risk for mood fluctuations compared to others.
There's a reason most AA meetings start with "My name is ____, and I'm an alcoholic/addict." The severity behind substance-related issues leading users towards spirals stemming from decreased inhibition, complications managing emotions/impulsive tendencies due general neural-inhibition downer effects on cognition much like dopamine drains after each drug use session.
Our surroundings can impact us significantly during formative years! Negative influence by toxic family dynamics could leave lasting traumatic residues which affects individuals long into adulthood manifesting unsuspected way... ever heard someone state: 'Why me; what have I done deserve ___'??
It's likely some newly formed beliefs include along lines self-worth/capability challenges beginning early around peers community the adult sphere at large forming significant lasting impressions intended to lift/boost confidence yet backfiring instead!
Can Mood Swings be Treated?
If you find your life turned upside-down frequently through unexpected changes in emotional states do not think all hope lost—as many treatments exist addressing this specific problem/symptoms accompanied by good success rates reducing symptoms effectively while providing tools/resources related improvement-long-lasting relief benefit!
Behavioral therapies involve talking openly with someone who has been professionally trained for going deep beneath surface-level impressions followed possibly involving experience-based exercises designed provide support & teach effective coping strategies where one shifts-regroups ultimately recognizing different possible signs before before problems exacerbate!
Pharmacological interventions available today increasing serotonin levels, the neurotransmitter most often linked to regulating mood swings. Medications range from antidepressants to antipsychotics with varying degrees of effectiveness in treating particular symptoms.
Mood swings occur due to a variety of external events as well as internal biological and psychological factors that we don't always recognize consciously! Treatment options likely vary based on individual experiences producing fluctuations affecting us each differently hence personalized plans will show how things improve over time frame ahead overall health-wise!
So, what is your experience like? Are you ever caught off guard by sudden changes in your mood? By understanding the various faces through which mood swings can manifest themselves, we hope this article has helped you better understand why they may be occurring—and how best to address them with resources available above!