What are the causes and remedies for mood swings?

Symptom Database

Mood swings, also known as emotional fluctuations or mood changes, are a common phenomenon experienced by many individuals. These sudden shifts in mood can range from feeling elated and joyful to experiencing intense sadness or irritability. While occasional mood swings are a normal part of life, persistent mood instability can be indicative of underlying mood disorders. In this article, we will explore the causes of mood swings and discuss potential remedies to help individuals regain emotional balance.

Causes of Mood Swings

Mood swings can be triggered by various factors, both internal and external. Understanding these causes is crucial in identifying effective remedies. Here are some common causes of mood swings:

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women, can contribute to mood swings. For example, during the menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate, leading to emotional changes. Similarly, hormonal imbalances during pregnancy or menopause can also cause mood swings.

Stress and Anxiety

Excessive stress and anxiety can disrupt the delicate balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to mood instability. When faced with chronic stressors or overwhelming situations, individuals may experience heightened irritability, sadness, or anger.

Medication Side Effects

Some medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or hormonal contraceptives, can cause mood swings as a side effect. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you suspect that your medication is contributing to your mood changes.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse, including alcohol and drugs, can significantly impact mood stability. The use of certain substances can alter brain chemistry, leading to emotional fluctuations and mood disorders.

Sleep Deprivation

A lack of quality sleep can disrupt the body’s natural rhythm and contribute to mood swings. Sleep deprivation affects neurotransmitter levels, making individuals more susceptible to emotional changes and irritability.

Remedies for Mood Swings

While mood swings can be challenging to manage, there are several remedies that can help individuals regain emotional balance. It is important to note that these remedies may vary in effectiveness depending on the underlying cause of the mood swings. Here are some potential remedies:

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

  • Regular exercise: Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins, which are known as “feel-good” hormones. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can help stabilize mood.
  • Healthy diet: Consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can provide essential nutrients that support emotional well-being.
  • Adequate sleep: Prioritize getting enough sleep each night to ensure proper rest and rejuvenation for your body and mind.
  • Stress management techniques: Explore stress-reducing activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies that bring joy and relaxation.

Therapy and Counseling

Seeking professional help through therapy or counseling can be beneficial in managing mood swings. Therapists can provide valuable insights, coping strategies, and support to help individuals navigate their emotions effectively.


In cases where mood swings are severe and significantly impact daily functioning, medication may be prescribed. Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or hormonal treatments can help regulate mood and alleviate symptoms of mood disorders.

Supportive Relationships

Building a strong support system of friends and family can provide emotional stability during periods of mood swings. Having individuals who understand and empathize with your experiences can make a significant difference in managing mood fluctuations.

Self-Care Practices

Engaging in self-care activities can promote emotional well-being and reduce the frequency and intensity of mood swings. This can include activities such as taking time for hobbies, practicing mindfulness, journaling, or engaging in creative outlets.


Mood swings can be disruptive and challenging to navigate, but with the right understanding and strategies, individuals can regain emotional balance. Identifying the underlying causes of mood swings is crucial in determining the most effective remedies. By adopting healthy lifestyle habits, seeking therapy or counseling, considering medication when necessary, fostering supportive relationships, and prioritizing self-care, individuals can take proactive steps towards managing and alleviating mood swings. Remember, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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