Have you ever had one of those days when nothing anyone says or does makes you happy? If you are like most of us, you blame it on a bad mood and move on, hoping the next day is a little brighter. However, what if your moods go up and down all day or often? Maybe they are not necessarily extreme, just mood swings. Even mild mood swings can take their toll if they seem continuous. How do you cope with such an annoyance?
Interestingly, there are ways to alleviate or manage mood swings. More extreme mood swings may indicate serious issues that need attention. This article will discuss manageable mood swings and those that warrant professional assistance. We will also cover some of the more common mood disorders and other mental health disorders affecting or affected by mood swings. Treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness, are addressed as well.
What Causes Mood Swings?
A thoughtful gift or hearing from an old friend can trigger a good mood. Receiving a bad grade, being treated with disrespect, or thinking about lost love can trigger a bad mood. Endless reasons can trigger a mood and are not always bad or good. You can experience a mellow mood in which you are relaxed and reflective or an anxious or apprehensive mood when something has you on edge. So basically, a mood is an emotional state, persistent in that it lasts for some time.
Our mood may seem inconsequential, but it can and does influence our actions at times, which can be positive or negative. We notice mood changes in those we associate with, influencing our reactions. How we project our moods and react to others’ moods are important components of social interaction. More serious mood issues and disorders will follow in the subsequent sections, but for now, here are a few tips on how to cope with and manage your mood:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Avoidance of alcohol or any substance known to alter the mind
- Cut back on your caffeine
- Back away from social media, even if just for a little while
- Mindfulness meditation or your meditation of preference
- Exercise your creativity through writing, painting, dancing, learning, or trying something new
When Mood Swings Are Extreme or Prolonged
“I decided early in graduate school that I needed to do something about my moods. It quickly came down to a choice between seeing a psychiatrist or buying a horse. Since almost everyone I knew was seeing a psychiatrist, and since I had an absolute belief that I should be able to handle my own problems, I naturally bought a horse.”
― Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
So many of us go for the “horse” instead of getting help like we probably should because we cannot always handle everything ourselves. Diverting our attention to more pleasing alternatives can only exacerbate the situation. It may also pave the path to addiction. Suppose your mood swings include anxiety, depression, volatility, irritability, or any act of violence. In that case, you are no longer dealing with simple mood swings but rather mental health disorders that require attention as soon as possible.
Mood disorders include, but are not limited to:
- Bipolar disorder
- Major depressive disorder
- Dysthymic disorder
- Substance-induced mood disorders
Each of these may involve other co-occurring disorders that also need addressing. Substance abuse mood disorders happen when drug or alcohol misuse results in chronic depression or other symptoms related to bipolar disorder. Manic and depressive episodes can result from alcohol or substance abuse.
Most associated and co-occurring disorders must be treated simultaneously; some therapies may be the same or similar. Consequently, symptoms associated with the above disorders should be taken seriously, and you should seek medical advice immediately.
Therapies and Treatment
Treatment for mild mood swings may be as simple as changing your everyday routine or avoiding triggers that consistently put you in a bad mood. Practicing mindfulness and living in the moment can help, too. When fully aware of your surroundings, environment, and self, you control your emotions more effectively and may even improve upon your associated feelings when certain emotions and moods appear.
However, treatment for mood disorders is much more involved and often requires a combination of medication, therapy, and counseling. Psychoeducation is crucial to understanding your disorder or disorders, managing them, and the importance of compliance with the prescribed medications and therapies. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely used form of psychotherapy that has proven effective in many disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
You may wonder how you get the ball rolling for all the needed help. The best answer is to see your doctor and be completely forthright with your symptoms. A physician will begin by evaluating your physical health and referring you to mental health professionals. Your doctor and mental health professionals will work together to diagnose and compose an evidence-based treatment solution for you.
If you are not amenable to seeking a physician, call a mental health professional and discuss your symptoms. Mental health professionals are therapists and treatment facilities such as SoCal Mental Health, whose purpose is for your overall mental well-being.
At SoCal Mental Health, your mental health is our priority, and our dedication is to you and your overall mental well-being. We treat the whole person because one issue or disorder sometimes includes others. Moodiness can be mild, but it can also be dangerous when caused by or affected by alcohol or substance abuse. These treatments and programs are included in our mental health programs. If you feel overwhelmed due to mental health issues or associated alcohol or substance dependence, we can help. Our programs are designed for your needs, whether for mental health, substance abuse recovery, relapse, or other addictive struggles. You do not have to go through this alone. Call us today at (888) 312-0219 for help.