We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What Are the Causes of Major Mood Swings?

By Jessica Hobby
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Major mood swings, or dramatic, abrupt changes in someone's mood, have a wide variety of causes. Women may experience significant changes in their mood prompted by gynecological processes. Major mood swings may also occur as a symptom of medical problems such as psychiatric disorders, conditions that affect the central nervous system, and other diseases. People may also induce their own mood swings through stress, taking medications, and substance abuse.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause, perimenopause, and hormonal changes during and after pregnancy are frequently responsible for mood swings in women. Women, especially those in their late 20s and early 30s, often experience monthly PMS which can cause major mood swings. Symptoms of PMS often vary in intensity from month to month, so those who suffer from PMS may only experience minor changes in their mood. Similarly, older women who are approaching or going through menopause may experience major mood swings caused by hormonal changes in their body. Additionally, sleep disturbances brought on by hormonal changes during menopause may also induce mood changes.

In addition to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy that may bring on mood swings, women may experience serious mood swings after childbirth as a symptom of postpartum depression. Major postpartum mood swings do not include the baby blues, or small attitude changes that last for only a few days. The most serious cases of postpartum depression lead to severe mood swings that may be a sign of postpartum psychosis, which also includes paranoia and hallucinations. These bouts of depression will often last for weeks or months and, in some cases, can become dangerous for both mother and child.

People with psychiatric disorders, specifically personality disorders and bipolar disorder, often experience major mood swings. The specific causes of these disorders are frequently debated, but it is believed that they result from a combination of genetics and upbringing. Treatments for mental illness may include psychotherapy and medications; in extreme cases of those with psychotic mood swings, hospitalization may be necessary.

Conditions that affect the central nervous system, such as dementia, brain tumors, and meningitis, often cause mood swings. In later stages of cardiovascular diseases and lung diseases, such as emphysema, the brain is often starved of blood and oxygen needed to properly function, which may also result in major mood swings. Medications taken regularly for a disease or a condition may also cause changes in mood as a side effect.

Additionally, those who abuse prescription drugs, street drugs, and alcohol are also susceptible to severe mood swings that coincide with their cycle of usage. An abuser may be happy or euphoric while using and become angry or depressed as the drugs leave his or her body.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.