ADHD Mood Swings: The Link & How To Manage 2024
Modern life is stressful enough and can be especially stressful for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. Significant life stressors such as bereavement, world events, or illness can create chaos and affect mental health. Even ADHD mood swings are common in certain situations but can be effectively managed with the right support.
Even though genetics is a major risk factor for ADHD, other risk factors include poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise, and recreational drug abuse. There are many symptoms of ADHD, and mood swings are one classic sign in some people.
Drug treatments are available to manage ADHD mood swings, such as antidepressants, but these can often cause various side effects. This leads many to seek natural remedies instead.
So how are mood swings linked to ADHD, and how can such symptoms be managed? Let’s dive in to answer all of these questions.
Can ADHD Cause Mood Swings?
Because some people with ADHD may experience emotions more intensely than those who don’t, they may be more likely to experience mood swings. Luckily, there are solutions for minimizing these impactful emotions that can be personalized to your needs.
The Link Between ADHD And Mood Swings
ADHD affects the mind and personalities of sufferers in different ways. However, a common factor is that those with ADHD have trouble coping with various emotions, which can lead to sudden changes in mood, including severe mood swings.
Different emotions are felt more intensely by people with ADHD, and certain things can help tip the balance from a good mood to a bad mood in seconds. While their behavior may sometimes seem erratic to those on the outside, it can be difficult for the person experiencing it to control it.
Bad news or other negative events that others might take in stride can leave a person living with ADHD emotionally agitated. Anger associated with these mood swings can last a few minutes or for many hours.
This, in turn, can impact relationships with friends and family. The good news, however, is that sudden mood swings and other symptoms can help to diagnose ADHD in individuals so that they get help.
Symptoms Of ADHD
Short Attention Span
Anyone can have a short attention span if confronted by something of little interest to them. But for those with ADHD, this is frequent and can affect everyday life. A lack of concentration can lead those with ADHD to make careless mistakes at school or work.
Failing exams or making frequent mistakes at work can severely impact their futures, especially for those who remain undiagnosed. This is mainly because they may find it hard to absorb information and perform certain straightforward tasks.
Hyperactivity and impulsivity are other common traits displayed by people living with ADHD. Whether it is in the classroom, at work, at home, or in social settings, those with ADHD can find it hard to sit still without fidgeting.
Some individuals may also talk excessively, constantly interrupt others, and generally display minor antisocial behavior. Acting on impulse, which can often lead to poor decision-making, is another common symptom that affects sufferers, and this can often lead them to both social and financial difficulties.
Those with ADHD forget things more often than non-sufferers, whether trivial things like birthdays, other special occasions, or important work appointments or deadlines.
Forgetfulness can lead to poor performance at school or work and can negatively affect relationships with partners, friends, and even family.
Inability To Get Things Done
We all have tasks to perform in our lives that we would much rather avoid altogether, but most of us get them done eventually. For those with ADHD, failing to complete things or constantly putting off certain tasks becomes the norm.
More time is spent thinking about or avoiding what needs to be done. This symptom can also be linked to forgetfulness and short attention span disorders.
Again, this can have minor or major consequences depending on the importance of what is being avoided.
What Causes ADHD Mood Swings?
Frustration is a major contributor to mood swings in both adult and child ADHD sufferers. This is primarily due to the other common symptoms of ADHD that contribute to this frustration.
For example, an inability to concentrate or perform certain tasks or forgetfulness all add to the frustration those with this condition feel.
Anxiety is a common mental state experienced by most individuals at some point in their lives. Anxiety disorders affect mood and can lead to depression. Those with ADHD suffer regular bouts of anxiety, making everyday life hard.
Social situations and work-related activities can further fuel anxiety. This can have an adverse effect on mood, which can be expressed as anger and sadness.
With so many different ADHD symptoms to cope with, it comes as no surprise to discover that other negative symptoms like depression may also present themselves. Depression is common in those with ADHD, which can be due to the condition itself or caused by the mental stress accompanying it.
In addition, those with ADHD may also suffer from other mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder. This disorder is one of several mental health conditions that can exacerbate the symptoms of depression.
Poor Stress Management
Life can be stressful for us all, and everyone has their own way of managing it. However, those with ADHD can find stress overwhelming simply because it adds to their mental burden.
How To Manage ADHD Mood Swings
Keeping A Diary
There are certain ways that people with ADHD can try to manage their mood swings, and these include keeping a daily diary to try and identify triggers. This journaling can be done under the guidance of a mental health professional or individually.
Writing down personal thoughts during a mood crisis can help individuals better understand ADHD mood disorder. This can be useful for both child and adult ADHD sufferers.
Breaking down tasks into small sections can make them feel less overwhelming and make it easier to focus. This can increase the likelihood that tasks can be completed without mood swings hindering the process.
Regularly engaging in exercise can also help improve mood and the symptoms of depression, and so can eating a healthy, balanced, and nutrient-rich diet. Spending time outdoors in the sunshine is also good for mental health!
When To Seek Professional Help
Self-management of ADHD symptoms is possible to a certain extent, but many times professional help is needed. If you feel your ADHD is affecting your quality of life and impeding your ability to complete everyday tasks, seek the guidance of a professional.
Once ADHD has been diagnosed by a psychiatrist, then ADHD treatment can begin with ADHD medication or certain behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Such professional help needs to first be discussed with a healthcare practitioner to determine the best course of action.
“Does ADHD cause mood swings?” is a question often asked by people living with ADHD as they look for solutions to their mental issues. ADHD does cause mood swings and many other mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
If you suspect that you have ADHD, a diagnosis can be made by a psychiatrist who will ask you questions, study your behavior, and note your symptoms.
Then it is up to the individual to choose what path they would like to go down to help deal with these numerous ADHD symptoms. Natural remedies such as physical exercise and good nutrition can help, as can some antidepressants and behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy.
It is likely a mix of several remedies that can help those with ADHD improve their symptoms and regain control of their lives.
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- CDC (2022). Symptoms and Diagnosis of ADHD. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2023). Bipolar Disorder. [online] Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder.
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2021). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults: What You Need to Know. [online] Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/adhd-what-you-need-to-know