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What Are the Common Causes of Mood Swings in Boys?

By Meshell Powell
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Mood swings in boys are relatively common and may have a variety of causes, although hormonal changes that occur during puberty are the primary contributing factor. Other causes may include emotional or biological issues, such as stress or normal changes to the brain. In some cases, mood swings in boys may be caused by medical conditions such as ADHD, depression, or bipolar disorder. Any specific questions or concerns about individual cases of mood swings in boys should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Hormonal changes during puberty are the leading cause of mood swings in boys. Testosterone is the male hormone that is fundamental to the development of the male reproductive system and is responsible for other changes as well, such as the deepening of the voice and the development of body hair. During puberty, testosterone levels increase, sometimes causing emotional disturbances and mood swings.

In addition to hormonal changes, puberty can trigger stress and frustration, which may lead to mood swings in boys. Peer pressure and adolescent teasing about the changes accompanying puberty can lead to anxiety and mood swings. Hereditary problems relating to emotional control may begin to become noticeable during adolescence as well.

Studies have shown that the brain continues to grow and change during puberty. These changes are thought to involve the ability to form judgments and exercise self-control. These difficulties, especially when combined with other factors of puberty, may lead to the development of mood swings in boys.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly referred to as ADHD, frequently causes mood swings in boys. This condition affects the ability to focus or concentrate and can become frustrating and embarrassing for the patient. The lack of impulse control associated with this condition can be a source of ridicule by peers, especially during the teenage years. The combination of teasing and feeling out of control may lead to the development of mood swings.

Mood swings in boys may sometimes be caused by psychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder. This condition is characterized by specific patterns involving mood swings and other behaviors. This illness requires close medical supervision, as those with bipolar disorder often engage in violent or self-injurious behaviors during an episode. Prescription medications are frequently combined with talk therapy in order to treat those with bipolar disorder, and counseling may be recommended for caregivers and other loved ones so that everyone can learn to cope with the difficulties and challenges caused by this type of mental illness.

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
By pleonasm — On Jan 17, 2014

@MrsPramm - There is a difference between the normal mood swings that any boy is going to have and the symptoms of a severe mood disorder though.

And this isn't a new problem. There are horrible cases from back when lobotomies were the latest, greatest psychiatric prescription of children who ended up with permanent brain damage because their parents thought they were "moody and uncooperative" and wanted a cure. Medication might not be as traumatic, but I do think it can be used as an unnecessary crutch in some cases.

By MrsPramm — On Jan 16, 2014

@bythewell - ADHD is a real disorder though and severe mood swings can indicate other problems as well. I don't think that medication is the solution to everything, but some parents who have to deal with a child who is suffering from something have no other options. There's only so much you can do with a child to help them to concentrate if they have brain chemistry that makes that impossible.

I don't think it's a good idea to start shaming everyone who puts their child on medication, because in some cases it is absolutely necessary for the health and well-being of both child and parents.

By bythewell — On Jan 16, 2014
Be cautious if you are being told your child needs medication to control his or her mood swings. Some children are just naturally more exuberant than others and feel everything more deeply, or at least show it more easily.

This might seem like a disorder if you don't know how to deal with it, or how to teach them to deal with it, but medicating something like that is just going to cripple them emotionally as adults. They'll never learn how to contain themselves naturally, and have a hard time adjusting to life off the medication.

I think medication should be the last resort for anyone and it's a tragedy that it seems to be prescribed at the drop of a hat these days.

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