Stay calm to lead a balanced life

Everyone experiences mood swings once in a while. Mood swings are the sudden changes in one’s mind and emotion from a stage of joy and intense happiness to sadness or fright.

Mood swings are often triggered by a person’s surroundings, although the circumstances may seem insignificant to others. Sometimes, a person may have mood swings for no reason at all. Medical conditions can also cause mood swings.

Symptoms of mood swings

Besides an abrupt change in mood, you may experience:

Anxiety and irritability

Confusion and forgetfulness

Decreased attention span

Increased alcohol intake



Poor judgement

Withdrawal symptoms


Inappropriate behaviour

Rapid speech

Difficulty comprehending and expressing information

Changes in appetite and weight


Irregular menstruation


Sleep disturbances

What are the medical causes of mood swings?

Mental conditions such as bipolar disorder, cyclothymic disorder, major depressive disorder, dysthymia, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder can be the causes of mood swings.

Schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may also induce mood swings. Hormonal fluctuations can interfere with the brain chemistry, resulting in mood swings.

Teens, pregnant women, and women in menopause often have hormonal instability, and thus are more prone to mood swings. Consumption of drug or alcohol can negatively affect one’s moods.

Substance abuse may develop into an addiction and a mental condition. Other health conditions affecting your lungs, cardiovascular system, thyroid, and central nervous system may also cause mood swings.

Common triggers of mood swings

Regardless of the causes, mood swings can be triggered by certain things, including stress, a major life change, diet, sleep pattern, and medication. It’s helpful to note down what happens when you have mood swings to help doctors detect the triggers.

When to seek medical help?

Some people may have extreme emotions and yet be completely healthy. If moods do not affect one’s quality of life then there’s nothing to worry about.

However, if the mood swings persist and interfere with the ability to function, it may be a health concern. If moods cause a person to engage in destructive or self-harm behaviour, that person should visit their doctor.

How to treat mood swings?

If the mood swings are caused by a medical condition, treating the condition will likely help the patient to control their moods. Medication and therapy in combination with a positive lifestyle change are effective in managing mood swings.

Here are some helpful pointers :

Stick to a schedule

Exercise regularly

Sleep well

Eat healthy

Practice yoga or meditation

Avoid stress

Find an outlet for your emotions

Talk to someone you trust

This article first appeared in and was reviewed by Panel Perubatan Hello Doktor. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.