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What Are the Different Causes of Mood Swings in Men?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Mood swings in men are relatively common and may have a variety of causes, although hormonal imbalances are among the leading causes of this symptom. Additional causes may include depression or bipolar disorder. The exact causes of these mood swings are not always easy to diagnose, and a doctor will likely perform blood tests to rule out organic causes before referring the patient to a psychiatrist for psychological testing. Treatment depends on the underlying cause and may include the use of prescription medications, counseling, or herbal supplements. Any specific questions or concerns about mood swings in men should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Hormonal imbalances are the most commonly reported reason for mood swings in men and have been equated with the symptoms of menopause in women. As a man ages, the levels of the male hormone known as testosterone begin to naturally decline. Hormone replacement therapy may be helpful in reducing these symptoms when the mood swings are associated with this type of imbalance. If the mood swings occur in men less than the age of 30 or if the symptoms are severe, there may be another underlying cause for the frequent changes in mood. Simple blood tests can determine whether hormonal issues are present.

Depression has been linked to the development of mood swings in men. This may be due to life changes such as divorce, death of a loved one, or job or financial difficulties. In some cases, there may be an organic cause for depression, such as a chemical imbalance. In addition to mood swings, symptoms of depression may include changes in sleep patterns, an overall feeling of hopelessness, or appetite changes. Treatment for depression often involves a combination of herbal remedies or prescription medications and psychological counseling.

Bipolar disorder is an often misunderstood contributing factor to mood swings in men. The exact causes for this condition are not completely understood, although genetic factors or a history of trauma or abuse are thought to trigger the development of this disorder in many people. Symptoms of bipolar disorder, also referred to as manic-depressive disorder, may include frequent mood swings, abnormal changes in behavior, and difficulty maintaining healthy relationships. Those with bipolar disorder have a higher than average risk of developing habits of self-injury or suicide. Treatment can be complicated and almost always requires a combination of medications and intensive psychological therapy.

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Discussion Comments
By Animandel — On Mar 26, 2014

@Feryll - What separates normal mood swings from conditions that require treatment are the length of time the changes last and the frequency of their occurrence. None of us is the same all the time, and a person reacts differently depending on the situations he is faced with.

If you are concerned about a friend or family member then that is a sign that there might be a problem. Sometimes offering yourself as a sounding board can help you determine whether the other person needs medical help.

By Feryll — On Mar 25, 2014

I have an uncle who went through a divorce and then he lost his job, in large part because of the strain the divorce put on him. Everybody around him noticed the changes he was going through. Basically, he was lifeless and didn't feel like doing anything.

Several members of the family suggested we all get together and convince him to get medical help. However, other members of the family said the depression he was going through was to be expected because of the changes in his life.

Sometimes its difficult to know when someone is suffering from depression that is part of the healing process and when he is trapped by a condition he cannot shake loose from.

By Drentel — On Mar 25, 2014

I get mood swings when my blood sugar levels drop. When this happens I am easily annoyed and I tend to snap at people. Once I realize what is happening I have a snack or meal and I go back to my usual easy-going self before long.

By Sporkasia — On Mar 24, 2014

I once interviewed and became close friends with a man who was manic-depressive. When I met him, he was being treated for the disorder. He told me that before he began receiving treatment he was outgoing and upbeat during his manic periods and this was when he would spend time with his friends.

When he was going through periods of depression he would avoid his friends and associates and see them very little. Because of this behavior most people had no idea how severe his mood swings were, and they were surprised when he eventually revealed his condition.

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