Mood Swings and Irritability

Have you been suffering from unexplained mood swings and irritability lately? Are you wondering what could be the possible reason behind it? Find out the exact causes of this sudden change in your mental health from the following PsycholoGenie write-up.
PsycholoGenie Staff
All of us experience different kinds of moods at different points of the day. When we are working, we are in a serious mood. If we receive some good news such as a promotion, we become elated. If we do not get a cab back home on time, we become agitated. Thus, mood changes are an inevitable part of our mental makeup, and it is very normal to experience them. However, problem arises when these mood changes occur without any apparent reason, and that too with great intensity. There could be certain psychological problems or health conditions which could lead to such unexplained change in a person's behavior. Here are some of the most commonly observed conditions.

Causes

Hormonal Imbalance
In women, irritation associated with mood swings is experienced due to various hormonal imbalances that take place in their body during menstruation or just prior to that, which is termed as PMS or premenstrual syndrome. Hormonal imbalance, leading to these changes, also occurs when a woman is going through menopause. During puberty, even teenagers experience intense mood swings, due to a change in the hormone levels of the body.

Bipolar Mood Disorder
If a person experiences extreme moods such as euphoria and happiness at one time, extreme sadness and melancholic feelings at another, and alternates between these two mental states, without any reason, then he could be suffering from a bipolar mood disorder. Also, the person in this state of mind, exhibits lot of anger, irritability, and has sudden fits of crying, that too without any serious reason. Such a person could be suffering from manic bipolar depression too, in which, he may have feelings of anxiety and hopelessness, and thus, may withdraw into a shell of his own. People with a mood disorder, unless treated in time, would not be able to lead a normal life.

Improper Diet
If the body does not get the required amount of nutrients, it can cause fluctuations in the level of sugar in the blood. This can affect the brain and thus, lead to irritability and mood swings in the person.

Stress
Stress, be it physical or mental, is another major cause of mood fluctuations and irritation. Fatigue, lack of sleep, and sleep disturbances caused due to sleep problems, such as insomnia, can all make a person irritable. In fact, in men, higher level of stress combined with low testosterone levels can even lead to depression, which is medically termed as Irritable Male Syndrome. This condition produces symptoms, such as, anger, impatience, hostility, sadness, frustration, withdrawing into a shell, and becoming argumentative.

Alcoholism
Sudden and unpredictable changes in mood are commonly experienced by people, who are alcoholics. Individuals trying to quit alcohol may experience the same as the withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment

To overcome this condition, the first thing that a person has to do is to make certain lifestyle and dietary changes. He should ensure a good night's sleep of minimum 7 to 8 hours daily. To reduce the stress and anxiety, meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises should be undertaken.

Following a healthy diet, with lots of fruits, green vegetables, dairy products, grains, and fish, is very important. For women, who are experiencing mood swings due to hormonal imbalances, consuming foods that are rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids will prove beneficial. Omega 3 is found in foods such as sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Omega 6 is found in foods such as, nuts, poultry, and eggs. Another way to treat hormonal imbalances in females is by relying on alternative medicine. There are certain non-estrogenic herbs, which, if taken in accordance with the prescription of a herbalist, can cure the hormonal imbalance.

For getting rid of the irritability associated with the bipolar disorder, doctors prescribe medicines, such as, lithium, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants, which keep the symptoms in check. For patients who are manic-depressive, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is often recommended by doctors. Fulfilling the requirement of amino acids by taking supplements such as, taurine and tyrosine, keeps the symptoms of depression in check.

Mood swings and irritability, if experienced in moderation, can be controlled by making the above-mentioned changes in one's diet and lifestyle. However, if these symptoms become severe, and start affecting the day-to-day living of a person, he should consult a doctor immediately.