Having days where you feel sad, annoyed, etc. is normal. Just by living your daily life, you can experience a number of different emotions throughout the day. However, switching from extremely happy to extremely sad or angry on a regular basis may be a sign that something more is happening with your emotions.
Seeing any of these signs in yourself or in a loved one might mean it’s time to see a doctor:
With crazy mood swings, it seems as if you never know what you’re going to get. Any little thing might trigger emotion and leave you feeling down. Dr. Natalie Silver, M.D., says even if there is no outside trigger, your mood could change at any point. Keep track of your mood and how long you end up feeling whatever emotion you feel.
Long Periods of Negative Emotions
Dr. Silver also says that normal mood changes often happen within a few days. If weeks go by and you still find yourself in a sour mood, it might be time to look into something deeper. “Big life events like losing a job or going through a breakup can send people into a downward spiral,” says Medical Journalist Jennifer Chesak. Nonetheless, it is the body’s natural response to want to feel better. Wallowing in emotions like sadness, anger, irritability, etc. could signify either a mental or hormonal imbalance.
There are two sides to this. On one side, rapid mood swings can leave you feeling tired and left with no energy, which can lead to excessive sleeping. On the other side, mood swings could be the result of some type of sleep disorder according to Dr. Nancy Donovan at Harvard Medical School. Too little sleep creates a sense of irritability and anxiety. If mood swings don’t cause insomnia or vice versa, they may work together to make each other worse.
Loss of Interest
Loss of interest doesn’t just refer to hobbies. In a medical review by Dr. Timothy Legg, Ph.D., it was stated that you can lose interest in the food you used to like, your career, and even some relationships. If you find yourself not being able to enjoy the things you used to this may be the cause. Not only can these mood changes have you feeling like you can’t get out of bed, but they can also alter your entire outlook on life.
According to Dr. Silver, the majority of the time hormonal mood swings have to do with how hormones are affecting the chemistry of the brain. They can be expected in women with monthly cycles or pregnant women but don’t leave lasting emotional damage.
Mental mood swings (sometimes called mood disorders) are a different story. A list of different mental health conditions includes:
- Bipolar disorder
- Cyclothymic disorder
- Major depressive disorder (MDD)
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD)
Extreme shifts in mood that disrupt your daily function should definitely result in a visit with your doctor. However, if your ups and downs aren’t as controlling, there may be a few ways to better regulate your mood. Things like exercising, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and openly discussing your emotions are a good start to adjusting the moods you encounter.