Do you still suffer from teenage mood swings into adulthood?

Many teens suffer from a downward spiral of feelings that can leave their families reeling.

But experiencing these violent mood swings in adulthood can be detrimental to relationships and general well-being.

Speaking to FEMAIL, Jessica Seibel, Australian Clinical Dietitian and founder of JSHealth, and Tom McClaren, counseling psychiatrist, explain common causes of these mood swings later in life — and how simple lifestyle changes can help you become more balanced.

Jessica told how eating too much white bread, sugary foods or caffeine can all lead to imbalances in the body that can lead to mood swings, as can issues with hormone levels.

Meanwhile, Dr. MacLaren said these mood swings could be a symptom of a deep-rooted mental health problem that may require more attention…

Many teens suffer from a downward spiral of feelings that can leave their families reeling.  But experiencing these violent mood swings in adulthood can be detrimental to relationships and general well-being.  stock image

Many teens suffer from a downward spiral of feelings that can leave their families reeling. But experiencing these violent mood swings in adulthood can be detrimental to relationships and general well-being. stock image

hormonal imbalance

One common cause of dramatic mood swings is a hormonal imbalance.

Many women will experience this around the time in their cycle due to a shift in progesterone and estrogen levels, which rise and fall throughout the entire menstrual cycle.

Fluctuations in estrogen can cause similar swings, or depressed mood, during perimenopause (the phase before menstruation stops completely) and menopause.

Insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels, metabolism and energy, is also important for a balanced mood.

Jessica Seibel shares her advice with Femme

Jessica Seibel shares her advice with Femme

This is because fluctuations in blood sugar can lead to rapid changes in mood, including bad moods and irritability.

Anyone who thinks they have a hormonal imbalance should seek advice from a doctor.

Thyroid problems

Another cause of mood swings may be an undiagnosed thyroid problem. Imbalances and problems occur when the thyroid gland secretes hormones under or over it.

Hypothyroidism is a term for an underactive thyroid gland, which produces too few hormones, and hyperthyroidism describes an overactive thyroid gland, which produces too many hormones.

Research has shown that patients with thyroid disorders are more likely to have mood swings because they are prone to developing depressive symptoms.

Jessica explains that we need enough T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) for a healthy mood. These hormones also play an important role in controlling weight, body temperature, muscle strength, and the nervous system.

When it’s not balanced, which may be due to hyperthyroidism, our anxiety can rise and our moods can become more chaotic.

Lack of sleep

Lack of sleep can cause low mood, irritability, and anxiety.

Studies show that people who are sleep deprived report an increase in negative moods (anger, frustration, irritability, sadness) and a decrease in positive moods.

This happens because lack of sleep impairs the ability to adapt to frustrating situations, which leads to more anger.

The outer part of the brain, the cerebral cortex, helps with logic and decision making while the emotional center of the brain is known as the limbic system.

It’s the part of the brain that manages emotional responses, memories, decision-making, and fight-or-flight.

When an anger stimulus is sent to the brain, the amygdala decides whether to send it to the limbic cortex or the cerebral cortex and when a person is tired, the cortex is bypassed, resulting in a highly emotional response.

Jessica added that insomnia is often a symptom of mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

A vicious cycle occurs when anxiety and stress increase arousal, keeping the body awake and alert.

Your heart may beat faster and your breathing becomes fast and shallow which does not allow your mind to stop and rest making you more tense and anxious as the body remains in a state of contact of anxiety and irritability.

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Eating a lot of refined carbohydrates is a problem with mood balance.  Eating large amounts of unhealthy processed carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries, causes your blood sugar to rise and fall quickly.  This can lead to low energy and irritability.  stock image

Eating a lot of refined carbohydrates is a problem with mood balance. Eating large amounts of unhealthy processed carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries, causes your blood sugar to rise and fall quickly. This can lead to low energy and irritability. stock image

As a dietitian, Jessica said she “likes” to tackle mood swings nutritionally first and usually asks people to provide insight into their lifestyles and diets.

Little things like having too much caffeine or not drinking enough water can have a big impact on your feelings.

Blood sugar swings and nutritional imbalances are often to blame. Without a consistent source of fuel from the foods we eat, our minds and bodies don’t function well.

Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can cause your blood sugar to drop, leaving you feeling weak and tired.

Also if you reduce the variety of foods in your diet, it can be difficult to get the essential nutrients you need, for example, low levels of zinc, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids are linked. With deteriorating mood and low energy.

Jessica said probiotics and fish oil can also be beneficial along with saffron, and by adding more greens and protein to your diet allows for stable blood sugar levels and a better mood.

Additionally, eating a lot of refined carbohydrates presents a mood balance problem. Eating large amounts of unhealthy processed carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries, causes your blood sugar to rise and fall quickly. This can lead to low energy and irritability.

Practice

Exercise helps reduce feelings of anxiety because it not only releases endorphins and serotonin, but gives your brain something else to focus on, such as keeping your breathing steady.

Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers and trigger feelings of euphoria. In addition to improving your mood, endorphins also reduce feelings of sadness, depression, and anxiety and can increase your self-esteem.

Serotonin is sometimes referred to as the “happy chemical” because it contributes to well-being and performs many different functions within the body including regulating your mood. When your serotonin levels are healthy, you will feel more focused and emotionally stable.

When we exercise, our blood flow increases, which helps transport oxygen and nutrients to our muscles making us feel more energized and alert.

Jessica said that people who exercise regularly are generally more balanced and can better manage their personal and work lives.

Plus, she says that when combined with healthy, nutritious eating, sleep is improved, all of which go hand in hand for emotional well-being.

Psychological health

Tom McClaren, MD, consultant psychiatrist at Re: Cognition Health, notes that mood swings often persist into adulthood, especially for people with mental illnesses that make it difficult to control their emotions.

Tom McClaren, MD, consultant psychiatrist at Re: Cognition Health, notes that mood swings often persist into adulthood, especially for people with mental illnesses that make it difficult to control their emotions.

Tom McClaren, MD, consultant psychiatrist at Re: Cognition Health, notes that mood swings often persist into adulthood, especially for people with mental illnesses that make it difficult to control their emotions.

The London-based doctor says that sometimes “very small triggers” can trigger these angry, turbulent feelings “without warning” but for those who have grown up with more intense feelings and complex emotions, “mood swings can be more frequent”.

People with low moods, depression, and anxiety (all very common mental illnesses) can experience large mood swings that are difficult to predict.

Mood swings are caused by abnormal levels of a certain neurotransmitter, such as serotonin, which affects the brain and nervous system, altering your mood without you feeling in control.

Mood swings are also caused by the natural fluctuation of hormones, but can be exacerbated by factors such as lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, and psychological stress.

As an adult, it’s important to take care of your mental health and monitoring mood swings can be a good way to find out what’s causing them and whether they’re related to mental health.

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