Can Anxiety Medication Cause Mood Swings?

Mood swing is a self-explanatory term referred to as an abrupt change in mood. Mood swings may be mild to severe. In our daily lives dealing with the so many stressors and life itself, people experience some amount of mood swing and that may not be clinically significant. Mood swings become clinically significant when they hamper with the daily activities, decision making skills of a person and push a person toward leading a traumatic and damaged life, which may endanger them as well as their close ones. Clinically significant mood swings are related to some underlying cause or disease, such as seen in bipolar disorder, severe depression, and women approaching peri-menopause or menopause due to hormonal imbalance, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), dementia, schizophrenia, thyroid disorder, substance use and some medications.

Can Anxiety Medication Cause Mood Swings?

Can Anxiety Medication Cause Mood Swings?

Anxiety medications, commonly prescribed can be divided into antidepressants, beta blockers and anxiolytics. The examples include SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SNRIs (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants), benzodiazepines (alprazolam, diazepam,temazepam, lorazepam), buspirone, antipsychotics (quetiapine, olanzapine, risperidone), beta blockers (propranolol, atenolol), alpha blockers (prazosin, clonidine, guanfacine), first generation antihistamines (diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine) and anticonvulsants (gabapentin, pregabalin, topiramate, divalproex, tiagabine, lamotrigine, vigabatrin, levetiracetam). The common examples of antidepressants include citalopram, escitalopram, clomipramine, bupropion, nefazodone, atomoxetine, desvenlafaxine, trazodone, venlafaxine, duloxetine, mirtazapine and fluoxetine.

Different anxiety medications are prescribed for different scenarios and conditions, which affect different receptors or neurotransmitters in the brain. While not all, but some anxiety medications do affect the mood and lead to mood swings. The examples of these are benzodiazepines, topiramate, gabapentin, quetiapine, bupropion, atomoxetine and levetiracetam. Since, these medications can affect a person’s mood, it is best advised to consult and report your doctor if you are having side-effects of these medications.

How Do Anxiety Medications Work?

Many medications are used to relieve anxiety and all these medications have different mechanism of action. Anxiety is caused by imbalance in certain chemicals in the brain, which include neurotransmitters (norepinephrine, serotonin and GABA). These neurotransmitters are associated with the well-being of a person. Anxiety medications work by altering the levels of these chemicals that help control the symptoms of anxiety and relaxes the mind and body and also helps block certain receptors in the brain.

Anxiety medications are used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, stage fright, obsessive compulsive disorders and panic disorders.

What Are The Causes Of Mood Swings?

There are various causes of mood swings. They can be caused by hormonal disturbance in the body, both in males and females. Although, women are more prone to experience greater hormonal fluctuations as in premenstrual symptoms, menopause or perimenopause and in pregnancy; men also experience mood swings due to reduced testosterone levels.

There are certain mental conditions that can lead to mood swings, which include depression, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, schizophrenia, dementia, and ADHD. Anxiety can also lead to mood swings that are mostly associated with emotional distress due to certain stressors.

Magnesium deficiency has also been associated with episodes of mood swings. It is responsible for biochemical reactions in body associated with up-regulation of mood. Low levels of magnesium are related to mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, headaches, and irritability. Magnesium is also known to stabilize glucose levels in blood that is helpful in preventing mood swings.

High intake of caffeine is another cause for erratic mood swing. Too much caffeine intake can lead to irritability, anxiety along with insomnia and low and bad mood.

Diet is another factor that affects mood. Unhealthy diet associated with increased sugar intake can lead to mood swings. Eating healthy and including lots of fruits and vegetables, proteins and healthy fats that provide all the nutrients can help improve mood changes. Staying hydrated and avoiding dehydration is also a mood booster. Fatigue and insomnia are all related to mood swings. Quality sleep is important for the body to heal, both physically and emotionally.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 19, 2021

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