Mood Swings and their causes in this post on, illustrated by two swings - one happy and one sad.Mood swings can be the symptom of a medical condition, or simply an expression of a ‘bad day’. When mood swings impact everyday life it is time to do something about them. Mood swings that turn into ‘Mood Monsters’ impact us. They are incredibly hard to work, live or suffer from.  

A Mood Monster is that Boss that jumps for joy one minute and screams the office down the next. It’s also the person you live with and tip-toe around as you are not sure what emotion comes next. Or – You who cannot help that you laugh and cry within the span of a few minutes.  

This is Part I of a series on Mood Swings – The GOODista looks at symptoms, causes and reasons why we have Mood swings and how they impact our every day lives. In Part II we look at a way to lessen the impact and beat the mood monster within and in Part III you get tips on what to do if your partner or boss shows signs of mood swings.

From Mood Swing To Mood Monster

Everybody has moments of feeling happy, or sad during a day. That is a natural part of our lives. A mood swing is a shift in your emotional state or a change in your mood. Small changes from energetic to lethargic, smiling to grumpy, or happy to sad is what we know as being ‘human’.

Feeling low illustrated by quote found on pinterest.comHowever, when mood swings are so extreme, rapid or serious, that they interfere with an individual’s functioning in everyday life – you can talk about a Mood Monster effect.

Just like our childhood monsters, we are at first not sure if they are a fabric of our imagination or real. Monsters are unpredictable and can be happy or sad – or right out scary. Mood Monsters are just like that too…

The reason, and root causes, to your mood swings, should be medically assessed. It is essential to seek professional help when mood swings are severe, affect relationships, and everyday activities.

Bipolar Disorder is often diagnosed by observing shifts from manic to depressed – and is not to be confused with hormone imbalance, menopause or suffering from loss, trauma or chronic stress.

Mood Monster or Health Issue?

Mood swings are not anyone’s fault, nor can time take care of this issue. Help is the only way to get better, as denying them will only make things worse as time moves on. While you should not feel guilty or bad for suffering from mood swings — you owe it to yourself, your health and those around you, to look for ways to get back into balance. 

Change reaction can be to inspire others to change too as illustrated by Newtons CradleThere are known triggers in food, drink, exercise and stress that relate to moods, and some concrete steps that can be taken to set things right (or better at least), which Part II of this series go into. 

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The way you behave comes out as ‘moods’. People around us get affected by how we mirror our emotions to the world. Maybe you are not aware that you are turning into a Mood Monster, or that the person you live or work with needs help? 

Mood Swings – Medically Speaking

Depression, Anxiety, and Mood Swings are not a moral weakness, nor can you ‘pull up your bootstraps’, or ‘have a cup of tea’, to make them better — it is a medical condition that needs treatment, and understanding, by those around you. 

Moods are thought to result from an interplay of chemicals in the brain. Why mood swings occur is yet unknown, however, the theory is that they may be related to imbalances in these chemicals. 

Mood Cycling in Bipolar Disorder described in this info graphic found on speaking psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disease or borderline personality disorder have mood swings as a symptom. Mood swings can also be the result of medical conditions that affect the central nervous system, such as dementia, brain tumors, meningitis, and stroke.

Not often realized is that when your brain is deprived of nutrients and/or oxygen this can lead to mood swings – which is often the case with lung and cardiovascular diseases. More well-known is that substance abuse, side effects of medication, and hormonal changes (both in men and women) are causes of mood swings.

Mood Swings – Stress and Pressures

Mood disorders can be the result of pressures that build up over time, as illustrated by this pin from Major changes can affect one in a big way – and mood swings are an expression of how tough such situations can be. ‘Life’ related causes such as loss of a loved one, trauma, change in a job situation, heartbreak or relocation can take the expression in mood swings as they represent a cry for help in many ways.

Pressures that keep on building up can lead to mood disorders, and sufferers often look to drugs, alcohol, and self-medication to try to resolve this issue. This can spiral out of control easily and if the root causes – i.e. the reasons behind the perceived pressures – are not dealt with you are on a rocky road. Peer pressure, bullying, home/school life are all factors that contribute. 

Chronic Stress Effect

Mood disorders can be the result of chronic stress, as illustrated by two hands pushing the word stress. If you are under chronic stress from a high pressured job, as is often the case in humanitarian aid, aviation, health/service industry or managerial professions – this can lead to conditions that are now diagnosed with mood disorders. Chronic stress can also be the result of unresolved physical, sexual or emotional trauma. It comes out as mood swings, and are an expression of the pressures that build up inside and cannot express themselves properly anymore. I strongly recommend reading this article on How chronic stress rewires your brain and creates mood disorders. 

Mood Swings: Moving Forward

It is essential to understand that no-ones situation is less easy or difficult – nor are mood swings, depression or mood disorders anyone’s fault. Understanding why mood swings occur is the first step, seeking help a second, and finding ways to move forward the challenge.

Mood Swings, Mood Disorder or Depression described in this quote by Stephen FryTo suffer from mood swings is tough, and grappling to understand why even harder, and finally getting to grips with the fact that you need to ask for help perhaps the biggest step. 

If you live with or work under, someone who suffers from mood swings it can be a real challenge. The Mood Monster that you fear, tip-toe around and avoid is perhaps a partner or your boss – which makes the situation untenable in the long-term, right?

Read Part 2: How to Beat the Mood Monster, and Part 3: Is your Partner or Boss a Mood Monster.

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