Feeling happy one day, and stressed out or frustrated another, is completely normal. No one should be expected to be in a good mood all the time. We all experience stress whether through work, home life or our relationships which can lead to being in a poor mood occasionally. However, if you start to experience sudden and extreme shifts in your moods, and it begins happening more frequently and is unexplainable, it may be time to look a little deeper into the root of the problem.
Irregular mood swings and irritability can come from a few different causes: Mental health, substance abuse, and hormones.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, "approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year,” and “approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities…” Bipolar disorder and personality disorders both have symptoms that include sudden and extreme mood swings. If you feel that your irritability and mood swings may be caused from a mental illness, speak to your doctor right away.
Substance abuse may also cause changes in your mood. For example, those who drink alcohol on a regular basis are depleting their serotonin levels and depressing their nervous systems. Both of these processes can cause your mood to fluctuate, and you will experience similar issues using other substances as well. If you feel that substance abuse is the cause of your mood swings, seek medical and professional help.
Another cause of irritability and mood swings, although shocking and maybe less obvious, is a change in your hormones or a hormonal imbalance.
For women experiencing a hormonal imbalance or going through menopause, one of the main side effects is changes in mood and irritability. Estrogen is known to boost serotonin levels which can help fight off depression and mood swings, as well as promotes a healthy sleep cycle. Estrogen also increases GABA, which raises endorphins. So, if a woman has low levels of estrogen, it may be the cause of irritability and mood swings. Furthermore, Progesterone is what helps balance estrogen, in turn helping promote sleep, having a natural calming effect, and it normalizes libido. Low levels of progesterone can cause insomnia and be a key factor of what causes mood swings and depression. The third female hormone is cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. If this one is out of whack it can cause depression, create agitation, and cause insomnia.
For men, irritability and mood swings may be caused from Irritable Male Syndrome, or andropause. Starting as early as age 30, men may notice their body start to change, as well as their hormones. This is called andropause: a change in their hormone levels, more specifically, a decrease in testosterone. This change is sometimes referred to as “male menopause.” Low testosterone levels can cause men to become irritable, have mood swings, cause changes in sleep patterns and become depressed.
For both men and women, the best way to treat irritability and mood swings caused by a hormonal imbalance is with Hormone Replacement Therapy. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a therapy to help with anti-aging health and longevity, as well as getting your hormones back in balance. This practice is designed to help both women and men as they go through things like menopause and loss of testosterone. HRT incorporates individualized doses of hormones that emulate nearly identically those each patient had as a younger woman or younger man.
At Physicians Age Management Centers/LongevityMed, we can help you get back on track. It's what we do every day, and our specialty. Are you ready to take back your life and be in control? Take our hormone test for Men or Women today to get started, or request a FREE consultation.