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What are Mood Swings?



Photo credit: Dominic Alves, 2011: Mood Swing –

Zoe Markopoulos -Psychologist (MAPS, CEDP)

Mood swings refer to a rapid or extreme change in mood, which may occur as a reaction to circumstances in the environment or as a result of a physical or mental health condition. The duration of mood swings can vary, and the exact cause can differ. Let’s look at mood swings in greater detail to understand what these are.

Mood Swings Defined

Mood swings may be the result of chemical imbalances and affected by sleep, diet, medication and stress. Mood can play a significant role in how individuals’ live their lives. For example, an adolescent dealing with issues regarding self-image and acceptance, or an individual who is under a significant amount of stress is more likely to experience rapid, unexplained changes in mood.

Mood Disorder

It is important to note that everyone has mood swings now and again. However, when these moods become extreme and interfere with personal and professional life it may signify the presence of a mood disorder, such as major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

Common symptoms of a mood disorder include:

·         Social withdrawal

·         Problems with concentration

·         Increased sensitivity

·         Loss of desire to participate in any activity

·         Disconnection from oneself

·         Illogical or exquisite thinking

·         A strong nervous feeling

·         Uncharacteristic behaviour

·         Dramatic sleep and appetite changes

·         Decline in personal care

What to Do For Mood Swings

If an individual is experiencing several enduring symptoms that are causing significant problems in their ability to study, work or relate to others professional help should be sought. Learning about symptoms or early warning signs, and seeking professional help can assist to reduce the severity of a mood disorder or even to delay or prevent the disorder overall. Professional help involves exploring any potential causes and developing methods to gain control over rapid changes in mood through journaling, exercising, maintaining a regular daily schedule, mindfulness, sleep hygiene and good nutrition.

Image - Z MarkopoulosIn her professional practice, Zoe Markopoulos applies her psychological and educational expertise in the effective delivery of psychology services to children and families. She recognises the importance of fostering resilience and addressing the social, emotional and educational needs of students. Zoe predominately aligns her work with the principles and techniques of cognitive behaviour therapy, positive psychology and mindfulness. A significant part of her work involves psychological counselling and assessment, developing and implementing evidence-based programs, and consultation. Zoe is also interested in self-care activities to help maintain physical, mental and emotional health.

Zoe has contributed to academic publications focused on coping, bullying, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, children and families. She is a member of the Australian Psychologist Society and is regularly involved with the College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists (Victoria), as a committee member. Zoe is currently completing the Psychology Board of Australia Registrar Program in Educational and Developmental Psychology.

Disclaimer: The information published in this column is based on each of the author’s own professional and personal knowledge and opinion. This information and opinion is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.

Read More of Zoe’s Articles

Binge Eating
Developing Strong Mental Fitness

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