Like the weather, a person’s mood is changeable – but someone struggling with a substance abuse disorder can experience such dramatic changes of mood that it can have a serious impact upon their relationship with others and their life prospects.
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What are Mood Swings?
A mood swing is a sudden, possibly extreme change in a person’s mood. In normal circumstances, changes in mood tend to happen relatively gradually – although, of course, things can happen which can drive sudden mood changes even in the absence of a substance abuse problem or other condition: as somewhat extreme examples, somebody in a bad mood might find that mood dramatically improved by a lottery win, while on the other hand a happy person having a good day would understandably have their mood affected by an accident, being made redundant etc.
On the other hand, in people suffering from certain disorders mood swings can be triggered by much less significant factors – or even none at all – and whereas in the average person moods (especially those caused by specific events like those in the example above) tend to persist for a while, in those for whom mood swings are a problem they may move through several different moods very quickly, and or oscillate between emotional highs and lows with great frequency.
What Causes Mood Swings?
As noted, external events can have a significant influence upon a person’s mood. Frequent mood swings, however, often an indication of the presence of, and caused by, disorders including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Epilepsy and autism can also cause frequent mood swings, as can various degenerative diseases affecting the central nervous system, of which Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Hormonal changes such as those which take place during pregnancy and menopause, and potentially over the course of a woman’s monthly cycle, can also be drivers of mood swings.
The use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs can also cause mood swings; some psychoactive substances can affect mood whilst they are active, while the repeated consumption of drink and drugs over time can affect brain chemistry, rendering an individual much more susceptible to mood swings.
Mood Swings as an Addiction Symptom
Mood swings can be symptomatic of addiction in that they may manifest whilst the user is under the influence of drugs, but as noted above can also result from changes in brain chemistry caused by protracted/abuse. They can also form part of an instance of withdrawal syndrome, as well as resulting from other conditions which may develop as a result of addiction (such as depression).
What Are the Symptoms of Mood Swings?
Mood swings are themselves a symptom rather than a distinct condition. When it comes to identifying the presence of mood swings, the term is effectively self-explanatory: sudden volatile changes in mood, often without an identifiable cause.
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How Are Mood Swings Diagnosed?
Again, mood swings would not themselves typically be diagnosed but would rather be one aspect of a diagnosis of the causative condition, which could include a substance abuse disorder.
How Are Mood Swings Treated?
Treatment for mood swings would be dependent upon the nature of the underlying condition identified (for example, someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease would understandably receive different treatment from that given to someone diagnosed with major depressive order); if no underlying condition is diagnosed, an individual may be encouraged to engage in psychotherapy to identify and address issues which may be contributing to mood volatility.
If a person experiencing mood swings seeks help for a substance abuse disorder, any psychotherapeutic element of an addiction treatment plan would typically also address their volatile moods, and it is possible that some medication may be prescribed to treat any underlying causes identified (again, for example, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder etc).
Ready to get Help for Your Addiction?
If you suffer from an addiction – or believe you are developing one – and this is having an impact on your mood, it can rapidly have a detrimental impact upon your relationships with others and upon your professional and/or academic environment. As soon as you are able to admit your condition, you are able to take the first steps towards recovery.
Get help today
Right across the country there are now many excellent facilities and organisations treating addiction. You too can benefit from such treatment, and the sooner the better: reach out your GP and/or an addiction specialist today to discuss what options may be available to you.
Take control of your life – get started on the road to recovery
You may feel that you have lost control of your life as a result of your addiction – but with help, you can take it back. Make that call to your GP and/or an addiction specialist today, and take that first crucial step on the path back to happiness.
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