Mood swings


Everyone’s mood changes in response to everyday events.

‘Mood swings’, however, are when these changes in mood are rapid and extreme, and can start to interfere with daily life.Grohol, J.M. (2016). ‘All about mood swings’. [online] PsychCentral. Available at: [accessed 29 Sept. 2017].

Diagnosing mood swings

Mood swings are difficult to diagnose, because the emotions themselves feel completely natural. It may seem initially as though our changes in mood are simply logical responses to what’s happening around us.

We can help to identify mood swings, however, by recording just how far our moods change, and what appears to cause them.

For example, we can keep a record, such as a journal or diary, of times when these changes in mood seem disproportionate to their circumstances. This can help to show us our particular ‘triggers’: those situations or events that provoke dramatic mood swings in us.

Triggers can include:Good Therapy. (2017). ‘Mood swings’. [online] Available at: [accessed 29 Sept. 2017].

  • Significant life events
  • Stressful situations with work or personal relationships
  • Periods of exhaustion or poor sleep
  • Periods of increased substance use or abuse
  • Changes to our nutritional habits
  • Changes to our medications

Symptoms connected to mood swings

Mood swings often go hand-in-hand with other mental health issues, such as anxiety, bipolar depression, or attention deficit disorder.Overcoming. (2008). ‘Understanding mood swings’. [online] Available at: [accessed 29 Sept. 2017].

As a result, we may experience a range of other mental or physical symptoms alongside our changing moods:Health Grades. (2017). ‘Mood swings’. [online]. Available at: [accessed 29 Sept. 2017].

Mental symptoms

  • Boredom
  • Irritability
  • Confusion or forgetfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Lapses in memory
  • Lapses in concentration and attention
  • Racing thoughts and rapid speech
  • Hallucinations or delusions

Physical symptoms

  • Exhaustion
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Sleep issues
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Missed menstrual cycles
  • Seizures and tremors