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mood swings

What Are Mood Swings And How They Differ From Bipolar Disorder?

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A mood swing is a sharp change in emotion that occurs suddenly. During a mood swing, a person may abruptly go from being enthusiastic and joyful to depressed, agitated, or angry mood.

Whereas, Manic depression, another name for bipolar disorder, is a serious psychological condition that results in abrupt and severe mood fluctuations. The individual may go through periods of “highs” (diagnostically referred to as mania) and “lows” (characterized as depression), which may last for a short while or last for several weeks. The individual may go through separate manic and depressive phases, and these episodes may change quickly, even more than once in a single week.

What causes mood swings?

mood swings

It has been found that lifestyle factors frequently contribute to the start of mood swings. People may have abrupt mood swings if they are:

  1. being anxious or overwhelmed,
  2.  going through a major life transition like moving or changing jobs,
  3. not getting enough sleep,
  4.  not eating healthily
  5. When things don’t go as planned or they meet with failure
  6. taking drugs that affect mood or sleep

But frequent and pronounced mood swings may be a sign of something more serious. While some disorders that cause mood swings can affect both men and women, others solely impact women.

What causes bipolar disorder?

A person with severe bipolar disorder may also have psychotic symptoms such hallucinations or delusions, in addition to thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own lives. Bipolar disorder can make it difficult for a person to perform day-to-day activities properly and can harm both personal and professional relationships.

The manic and depressed stages of bipolar disorder are accompanied by two distinct sets of symptoms-

Manic phase-Manic episodes cause the person to act impulsively, make poor judgmental choices, and take extraordinary risks. Additionally, the person disregards or is ignorant of any unfavourable effects of their unanticipated activities.

  • extreme joy with the thought that nothing, not even terrible news or sad circumstances, can alter the situation
  • strong irritation or a sudden wrath
  • Possess strong views without a rational foundation or very ambitious fantasies. The individual can assert that he or she has a unique bond with God, famous people, or figures from the past.
  • unrealistic expectations about one’s capacity. For instance, they can believe that nothing can stop them from completing a challenging assignment.
  • Inability to control impulsive behavior, including overspending on unnecessary items, making bad business decisions, and acting recklessly
  • uncontrollable ideas constantly racing across the mind
  • lack of sleep, which can lead to agitation and hyperactivity
  • Having trouble focusing and being unable to perform typical activities
  • being frustrated and unpleasant most of the time during the day
  • Speech that is spoken quickly, jumps from one notion to another, and lacks coherence of thought
  • a loss of perspective that may result in psychosis (hallucinations – seeing or hearing things that are not there)
  • excessive self-confidence and unfounded confidence in one’s talents
  • Cleaning or organizing things, playing the same music for days on end, or attempting to dominate or control others are all examples of obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Depressed phase– In this face, you might suffer the following-

  • intense grief or despair
  • a sense of helplessness
  • Lack of enthusiasm for activities they used to like
  • energy decline, a propensity to get fatigued and unmotivated easily
  • Having trouble falling asleep; sleeping excessively or not at all
  • A change in appetite, difficulty eating well, and a considerable loss of weight without dieting
  • difficulty paying attention, recalling details, or making decisions
  • Suicidal, self-destructive, or death thoughts.

How to know it’s not bipolar disorder?

We all occasionally experience mood swings and exuberant experiences, but they usually have no significant impact on our daily lives. It’s not bipolar disorder, though.

Bipolar disorder is not the same as depression, despite some of the symptoms being comparable. The primary distinction is that bipolar disorder involves significant mood fluctuations as well as periods of both mania and despair.

Causes of mood swings in females

Significant mood changes can result from changes in hormone levels. In general, females are more likely than males to experience the symptoms of hormonal shifts, especially during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.

Female mood fluctuations frequently result from:

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Just prior to the start of a menstrual period, PMS causes a wide range of symptoms. These consist of:

  • erratic behaviour 
  • breast sensitivity or tenderness
  • depression
  • exhausion
  • food cravings

Women report having some PMS symptoms in more than 90% of cases, according to Trusted Source.

            Pregnancy hormone changes might result in abrupt mood swings, feelings of vulnerability, and anxiety. A woman’s emotions may also be impacted by physical changes.

During the first trimester, these mood swings could be more noticeable, and they might flatten off once the body has adjusted to the changing hormone levels. Nevertheless, some pregnant women will go through mood swings.

How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?

Due to the similarities in symptoms, bipolar illness is sometimes mistaken for schizophrenia or depression. The most common sign of bipolar disorder is abnormal mood elevation (mania or hypomania).

To accurately diagnose the disease and rule out any underlying issues that might be the source of these symptoms, the mental health specialist performs a number of tests and examinations. The expert may urge the patient to keep a daily journal of their mood swings, sleeping habits, and specifics of daily activities that could help in prescribing the right medicine in order to gauge the severity of the symptoms.

The person’s ideas, feelings, and emotions are assessed by a psychologist. In order to learn more about the patient’s condition, the expert may also consult with the patient’s relatives.

Treatment for mood swings

Usually, mild to moderate, infrequent mood swings that don’t affect a person’s quality of life don’t require treatment.

Changes in lifestyle have a significant positive impact on mood, whether used alone or in conjunction with other treatments like therapy and medication. One or more of the following actions may help people:

  • establishing a sleep pattern, aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep each night
  • eating a wholesome food, and sticking to a regular mealtime schedule.
  • taking part in regular exercise
  • reducing stress with yoga, meditation, and other practices
  • keeping a journal to record mood swings and possible causes of those changes
  • keeping up a social schedule and consistently communicating with family and friends

If you want to read more about mood swings visit Good Therapy

Getting treatment for bipolar disorder

Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a chronic illness that must be maintained for the rest of a person’s life. A person can enjoy a healthy and fruitful life with the help of an accurate diagnosis and therapy. The frequency and intensity of episodes can be greatly decreased with treatment. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a treatment for bipolar disorder that combines medication, counselling, and therapy. Depending on the patient’s age, medical history, ailment severity, and level of medication tolerance, the course of treatment may change.

The illness may worsen or lead to a relapse if treatment is not received, or if medication or treatment is stopped. In rare instances, the person’s symptoms could appear suddenly and without their knowledge or consent.

Bipolar Hotline

This illness is characterised by extreme highs and lows: during manic phases, individuals may feel irrational and fear harming themselves or others; during depressive stages, they frequently experience hopelessness and suicide thoughts. 

During these severe episodes, bipolar crisis hotlines offer to get people into a physically and psychologically secure area. They can also help clients get in touch with a hospital, treatment facility, or emergency crisis intake centre.

Suicidal thoughts frequently surface in people with bipolar disorder. You should dial 911 right away if you think that you or someone you know is going to hurt themselves.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255); en Español, 1-888-628-9454; Chat, Lifeline Crisis Chat Program. This is a national network of local crisis centers that provides 24/7, free, and confidential support, connecting callers with the center nearest them. You do not have to be suicidal when you call the lifeline; you can call whenever you are experiencing emotional distress.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741. This is a free and confidential health hotline open 24 hours a day. After texting HELLO to the hotline, you receive an automated text asking about your crisis. Your response helps them find the best counselor for you, and they connect you to them within minutes. The Crisis Text Line is a good resource anytime you feel distressed, out of control, or depressed.
  • Boys Town National Hotline: (800) 448-3000; Text VOICE to 20121. The Boys Town National Hotline is available by phone 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It is meant for children, teens, and their families. If you are the child of someone with bipolar disorder, this is also a good resource for you. You can call to talk about your parent’s emotional state or call, chat, email, or text whenever you are facing a crisis. Text services are available every day from 3 p.m.-2 a.m. EST. Chat services are available Monday–Friday, 7 p.m.-1 a.m. EST. Spanish-speaking services are available by phone only.
  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. This is not actually a hotline but a good collection of information about bipolar disorder. This organization recommends calling the Suicide Prevention Lifeline or the Crisis Text Line in the event of a crisis. It also provides state-by-state resources for local crisis intervention hotlines, as well as information about treatment options on its website.

Sources Psych Guides

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