As adolescents, have you ever wondered why you are sometimes happy and at other times sad, filled with anger or anxious? You are likely experiencing mood swings, which is a common and normal physiological occurrence.
Mood swings may manifest as loss of appetite for food, irritability, intense desire to be left alone undisturbed, display of disrespectful behavior to parents, or other elders, etc.
I remember very vividly when I was an adolescent at the age of 14 years; I hated to be corrected by my mum because I felt I was old enough to make my own decisions. This feeling in me resulted in so many conflicts between us and caused me to always withdraw into my shell. I didn’t realize I was experiencing emotional changes and seeking independence. This experience waned as I grew older. Looking back now, I think I could have been able to cope well with the emotional changes I was going through if I was armed appropriately with the relevant information.
My research on mood swings among adolescents reveals that:
Mood swing is not a disease among adolescents; it frequently occurs in the early adolescence (10-14 years) due to:
•Secretion of hormones; estrogen and progesterone in females and testosterone in males responsible for the development of female and male reproductive organs, respectively.
• Emotional changes involving independence, having self-identity and image, etc.
• The overwhelming feeling of pressure of responsibilities in the journey of being independent.
How to deal with mood swing as an adolescent
1. Always remember that mood swing is a normal phenomenon which will gradually wane as you age.
2. Ensure you have adequate sleep between 8 to 10 hours daily.
3. Eat adequate diet in the right proportions.
4. Do away with all electronic devices in your bedroom when it’s time to sleep to avoid distractions.
5. Exercise regularly
6. Talk to a trusted person about your fears and the cause of your anxiety
7. Cry if it will make you feel better.
8. Embrace joy by singing music that could uplift your soul.
9. Divert the attention you are giving to your worries to productive activities such as reading, helping people, drawing, singing or any of your hobbies.
Responsibilities of parents
1. Be calm and patient with your adolescents when they start manifesting signs of mood swing
2. Understand that mood swing is a normal occurrence among adolescents
3. Do not be judgmental
4. Be more friendly to them so that they can confide in you their fears
5. Pray for your adolescents
6. Encourage them to have adequate diet, sleep as well as engaging in exercises.
You may be battling with depression and not mood swing if there is (are):
a. Signs such as sadness, loss of appetite,irritability, weepy spells (extreme sadness accompanied by excessive crying, apathy (general loss of interest in life), suicidal ideation, etc. lasting more than two weeks.
b. Reduced school or professional performance
c. Significantly violent behavior and aggression
d. Isolation from peoplee. Abuse of drugs and other substances to boost low mood.
As an adolescent, you need to seek medical help urgently and inform a trusted person if you have any of the above symptoms.