What’s the Best Way to Deal with Mood Swings?
When you struggle with extreme mood swings, it can be hard on you and on those around you. You may feel like your days are spent riding a roller coaster of unpredictability. What to do about your mood swings depends on the cause and on whether they are disrupting your life and the lives of those around you.
Sometimes mood swings are normal and are related to fatigue or body rhythms, but extreme ups and downs could also be a sign of a mental illness such as bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder. Lifestyle changes may help mild fluctuation in mood, and a mental health professional can help if you are having dramatic mood swings. If you have already been diagnosed with a mood disorder, sudden mood swings can be a sign that a change is needed in your treatment plan.
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What can you do to get out of mood swings? While the answer depends largely on what is causing them, techniques for dealing with stress may help.
Causes of Mood Swings
There are many possible causes for mood swings. It’s normal to experience both up and down moods from time to time. Causes for mood swings include:
- Lack of sleep and fatigue
- Stress from life events, which include both positive and negative life experiences
- Seasonal changes
- Substance abuse
Mental Health Conditions That Can Cause Mood Swings
An individual with bipolar disorder experiences highs and lows that are much more intense than those the average person experiences. When you have bipolar disorder, your mood swings can last for hours, days or even weeks.
Borderline personality disorder causes frequent and intense mood swings, which can last a long time. These mood swings may be triggered by minor events, causing the person’s mood to change from calm to enraged or hopeless within minutes.
Coping with Stress
Ordinary life can be stressful at times, and some of life’s stressors and disappointments can’t be avoided. The number and intensity of mood swings you have may be reduced by learning coping skills for stress management. Examples of coping skills include:
- Visualization techniques
- Going to bed at a regular time and relaxing before bed with soothing music or nature sounds
- Avoiding alcohol, caffeine or any mood-altering substances
- Committing to regular exercise
- Keeping a journal to track your mood swings and what may have triggered them—Pay attention to what you eat and drink and how much sleep and exercise you are getting. Try to determine whether there may be a pattern
Treatment for Mental Health Conditions
If you have mood swings that are caused by mental health conditions, treatment by a mental health professional can help to bring them under control. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is an important form of treatment for helping you to recognize your triggers and learn the coping skills needed to gain better control of your emotions.
Examples of therapy that can help with mood swings include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help you to change patterns of thinking and behavior
- Dialectical behavior therapy, which can help people with certain conditions, such as borderline personality disorder, manage dramatic mood swings and control intense emotions like anger and despair
Medication is an important part of a treatment plan for some mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder. If you have bipolar disorder, medications such as mood stabilizers can help to keep your moods balanced. It sometimes takes a period of trial and error to identify the medication that works best for you, so it’s important to let your doctor know the frequency and severity of your mood swings and how well your current treatment plan is working.
Mood swings aren’t something that you simply have to live with. By sticking with the treatment plan recommended by your doctor and making healthy lifestyle changes, it’s possible to reduce the number of mood swings that you experience and reduce the intensity of the mood fluctuations that you do have.
If you or a loved one are struggling with a mental health concerns, please contact us at (855) 409-0204 or submit the form below and a treatment specialist will contact you.
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Since 2004, Lori has worked with the behavioral health treatment community to bring awareness about mental health disorders and evidence-based treatments. Lori strives to help people better understand mental illness and provide support to those needing help and their families. As a mental health advocate, Lori works to be a voice for those suffering from borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, trauma, or any other disorder.