The term “mood swings” is a term that is used incorrectly most of the time. Individuals talk about being emotional as their moods swing when in truth emotional well-being is the normal reactions to life events. If a person cries often or gets angry regularly that is actually not a mood – that is just a person with strong emotions. This article should help as we examine how to deal with mood swings.


True mood swings happen when a person goes from happy to sadness in a moment, without anything triggering it. Many individuals with anxiety suffer from mood swing extremes as a response to their anxiety symptoms and those then swing to negative.


The major causes of mood swings include:

  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Caffeine and Sugar
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Menopause and Peri-menopause

We will examine each cause and what treatment is best.

Stress and Anxiety

Many Individuals deal with stress and anxiety in many different ways. Life can get hectic at times while trying to handle:

  • Conflicts at home
  • Conflicts at work
  • Problems with children
  • Money problems

Some people can juggle all their problems, but most of us can’t. This can cause mood swings that are up and down – good moods turning to bad moods quickly.

Medical Condition

There are also certain medical conditions that can affect people more than is normal and manageable. It is advisable to first speak to your primary care physician and your doctor can try to treat your problem or send you to a specialist. There are many anti-anxiety drugs on the market but the problem with these medications is that many of them are addictive.


Some people might experience stress and anxiety as causing many common physical symptoms such as:

  • Stomachache
  • Muscle tension
  • Rapid breathing
  • Heartbeat that is fast
  • Shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Appetite change

There are also emotional symptoms such as:

  • Panic or nervous in social settings
  • Feeling of impending doom
  • Problems concentrating
  • Restlessness

If stress and anxiety is experienced over periods of time that are long it can develop into health problems such as:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Prescription medications that can make symptoms worse include:

  • Thyroid medications
  • Asthma inhalers
  • Diet pills


Not everyone with types of depression show as sadness. Many people who have depression become agitated or angry. Individuals may not realize that mood swings are actually symptoms of depression. There are also medical problems that have depression as one of its symptoms.


Help with depression also needs to be first mentioned to your primary care physician as you may be treated for another medical problem with medication that can contribute to this problem.

There are many medications that help with depression or you might need to have some sessions with a psychologist or other medical professional with talk therapy.

Bipolar Disorder

This is a disorder with patients often seeking problems with depression but not when their mood is on the opposite extreme or manic phase. When in this manic phase, most individuals are:

  • Full of energy
  • No need for sleep
  • Becoming promiscuous
  • Over spending
  • Overly ambitious projects

They live in a world where they flip flop between these two extremes.Bipolar disorder affects all genders and ethnicities. BPD is very often misdiagnosed, usually mistaken for depression in women and schizophrenia in men. This disorder is chronic and it affects about 5.7 million people in the United States.

There are 4 mental states that those with BPD experience:

  • Mania
  • Hypomania
  • Depression
  • Mixed episodes

The treatment for this disorder is not easy. People that have this disorder wish there were a single pill fixing every stage but it just doesn’t work that way. The brain, while similarly structured to others but work differently and researchers are still working on pinpointing what causes bipolar disorders. There are many treatments to help calm the symptoms of BPD. Treatment is basically trial and error. Your physician will give you one medication to see if it works. Depending on what type of bipolar disorder several medications can help:

  • Lithium
  • SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIS) and others

New and better treatments are currently being researched with many promising great help with this disorder.

Lack of sleep

Sleep is one of the most important functions that our bodies have as while asleep the body heals any damage from the day. Current researchers have come to the conclusion that adults need up to 10 hours of sleep each night. This is rather hard to occur since our bedrooms are full of electronic devices – computers, TVs, and others that do not offer a good environment for sleep.

Drugs and Alcohol

Drugs and alcohol used for recreation can disturb the internal systems of our bodies causing mood swings and also making it that much harder fighting mood swings or getting help with this problem. Alcohol and illicit drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine can bring on a manic high. But everything that goes up must come down. These drugs are not good for our physical health; they can do numerous things that affect our mental health.

Caffeine and sugar

The majority of people are able to handle caffeine in up to 1 to 2 cups of coffee a day; but not more than that. Caffeine at an excess, for many people makes them jittery, with heart palpitations and can influence mood. This is also true of sugar. There is great energy at first but when the sugar wears off, there comes a crash and energy stores become depleted – then the mood drops.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Often hormones do influence moods. There are many who have problems suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and show mood swings up to 2 weeks prior to the onset of their periods.

Menopause and Peri-menopause

The withdrawal of estrogen steals good moods also. When estrogen levels drop, women might not feel well. You often hear women complain of depression, mood swings, and anxiety during this phase of their life.

Menopause symptoms can include:

  • Periods that are irregular
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Problems sleeping
  • Irritability

Treatment includes hormone replacement therapy or herbal treatment. Some studies have recently shown that HRT can lead to heart problems and yet has been the standard of care for many decades now,

Menopause occurs in most women in their early 50s. Peri-menopause is the years before menopause. It may vary usually lasting from 2 to 8 years. A woman might have irregular periods or other symptoms during this time.

The principles of taming mood swings are simple – at least they sound simple, but are often a trial to integrate into daily life. It takes effort; there is no easy pill. They include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Limiting caffeine
  • Limit alcohol

If trying these does not help; speak with your physician.