Common Causes of Mood Swings

An Abrupt Change in Your Emotional State Could Signal a Lifestyle Issue

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Mood swings, sad to glad
Mood swings, sad to glad
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We all experience mood swings at one time or another; that’s just part of life. But when these emotional roller coasters begin to take over our lives, it’s time for answers. We need answers and solutions. Some things are due to unusual situations; for example, many people swing into depression manifested in isolation loneliness due to the COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing. There are many other reasons; let’s look at some of them.

Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorder experience emotional highs and lows that are much more intense and longer-lasting than usual mood swings. This is a treatable mental illness estimated to affect 3% of adult Americans each year. The manic phase is the “up” time. Things are going great and everything is upbeat. It can last several days or weeks. Then comes the depressed phase; that’s the “down” time. The good news? Your doctor can prescribe medications to control the situation.

Sleep Deprivation

Anyone with a hectic lifestyle knows the effects of this pace of living. But did you know it can be the source of your mood swings? You need your shut-eye so your brain and body can fully recover from the events of the day. That’s why they call it downtime. To exacerbate the situation, if you work long hours at the computer screen, that will further restrict your quality of sleep because of the effects of blue light. While you might not be able to lower your work hours, you can wear blue-light-blocking glasses. I wear them all day as I work.

Low Blood Sugar

Going too long between meals can make you feel angry, upset, lonely, or confused. If you’ve gone on an intermittent fasting plan recently for weight loss, and are experiencing these symptoms, you may want to consider another approach. Choose one of these popular diet plans.

Stressful Situations

Too much stress can cause many health issues including feeling sad, angry, or bitter. You may lose sleep, as mentioned above, which can affect your mood. We all handle stress differently. The important thing is to find ways to cope with it that work for you. For example, running works for me. Yoga might work for you.

Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome

This condition is not yet understood and although difficult to diagnose, symptoms include persistent, overwhelming, and debilitating fatigue. It comes as no surprise that results in mood swings. Exercise can lower the symptoms. The elimination of certain things from your diet may also minimize the symptoms. The list includes caffeine, alcohol, and highly refined flour and sugar.


Certain medications can cause mood swings as a side effect. For example, high-dose steroids. If you take them, you can become angry more easily than usual. You also might have a hard time sleeping, as well. Compounding the problem, that can make your mood even worse. Whenever you start a new medication, carefully note any changes. If your mood worsens, consult with your doctor. He might be able to try something different.

Hormone Therapy

When you take hormone therapy for any reason, you might begin to feel upset or angry for no reason. Why? Because whenever your body experiences hormones in greater or smaller amounts than is customary, your mood stands a good chance of rising or falling. The same situation can occur when your body produces surges of hormones as you experience puberty.

There are many causes of mood swings. To further complicate the situation, it is not uncommon to have more than one factor working in conjunction. Fortunately, by careful consideration and the process of elimination, there is a very high probability of getting back on track again.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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