Do you ever find yourself getting really irritable for almost no reason? Or suddenly feeling down without knowing why? Going from sadness to anger to joy in a matter of minutes can make many teens feel as though they're losing their grip. But why is the feeling of being on an emotional roller coaster so common among teens?
Dealing with constant change and pressure is part of the answer. Maybe you're starting a new school and not able to see old friends as much. Getting good grades or wanting to be better in sports or other activities can be a concern for many teens. It might feel as though there just isn't enough time to do everything.
Being a teen means struggling with identity and self-image. Being accepted by friends feels extremely important. Teens also may notice, for the first time, a sense of distance from parents and family. You may feel you want to be on your own and make your own decisions, but it can also seem overwhelming and even a bit lonely at times.
As fun and exciting as this time is, it also can be a time of confusion and conflict. It can take a while for teens — and their families — to feel comfortable with the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Another important cause for mood swings is biology. When puberty begins, the body starts producing sex hormones. These hormones — estrogen and progesterone in girls and testosterone in guys — cause physical changes in the body. But in some people, they also seem to cause emotional changes — the ups and downs that sometimes feel out of control.
Understanding that almost everyone goes through mood swings during their teen years might make them easier to handle.
Feeling irritable or short-tempered can be signs of depression. So can feelings of boredom or hopelessness.
Many people think of depression as feeling sad, but depression also can bring feelings of moodiness, impatience, anger, or even just not caring. When depression gets in the way of enjoying life or dealing with others, that's a sign you need to do something about it, like talking to a counselor or therapist who can help you deal with it. Also, if you ever feel like hurting yourself, that's more than just a bad mood and you need to tell someone.
Here are some things you can do that might make those bad moods a bit easier to handle:
Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: August 2015
|National Mental Health Association (NMHA) NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans through advocacy, education, research, and service.|
|Mental Help Net This site offers helpful content for those seeking help for addiction, eating disorders, and other mental and emotional troubles.|
|Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance The mission of this group is to educate patients, families, professionals, and the public about depressive and manic-depressive illnesses.|
|American Psychological Association (APA) The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.|
|Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) CMHS is a federal agency that provides information about mental health to users of mental health services, their families, the general public, policy makers, providers, and the media.|
|Choosing Your Mood Choosing your mood means being in control of it instead of feeling like it's controlling you. Here are tips on how to create the right mood to help you succeed at what you're trying to do.|
|Finding Low-Cost Mental Health Care If you need mental health care but don't think you can afford it, you're not alone. Get tips on finding low-cost or free mental health care in this article for teens.|
|Emotional Intelligence Just as IQ is a way of being academically smart, emotional intelligence (EQ) is a way of being people-smart. But unlike IQ, we can work on improving our EQ. Here are some tips.|
|When Depression Is Severe Severe depression can cloud a person's thinking and lead some people to think that life isn't worth living. But severe depression can be treated. Find out what to do and how to get help in this article for teens.|
|Why Do I Fight With My Parents So Much? Part of being a teen is developing your own identity -one that is separate from the identities of your parents. Read about why you and your parents seem to be constantly at odds.|
|Why Do People Get Depressed? There's no one reason why people get depressed - many different things can play a role. Find out more about the things that can trigger depression.|
|Talking to Your Parents - or Other Adults Whether it's an everyday issue like schoolwork or an emergency situation, these tips can help you improve communications with your parents and other adults.|
|Optimism Optimists see the good in things -- and science has discovered that optimists can do better in life. The good news is, even pessimists can be more optimistic. Find out how.|
|Seasonal Affective Disorder Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that affects some people and appears at the same time each year.|
|Stress & Coping Center Visit our stress and coping center for advice on how to handle stress, including different stressful situations.|
|Dealing With Anger Do you wonder why you fly off the handle so easily sometimes? Do you wish you knew healthier ways to express yourself when you're steamed? Check out this article for help with dealing with anger.|
|5 Ways to Fight Depression It's important to take action against depression - it doesn't just go away on its own. In addition to getting professional help, here are 5 ways to feel better.|
|Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorders are one of several medical conditions called depressive disorders that affect the way a person's brain functions. Find out more about bipolar disorder.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.