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ADHD and Mood Swings: How to Deal?

ADHD mood swings
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


Is it nearing the end of your rope trying to manage your ADHD mood swings alone?

Most people think of traits like hyperactivity and difficulty focusing when the subject of ADHD is brought up. However, there are a few less known symptoms that might manifest in people with the disorder. One such is mood changes, which are frequently attributed to psychological issues other than ADHD.

This read explains why ADHD and mood swings are so closely related, as well as how to cope with emotional highs and lows.

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Does ADHD Cause Mood Swings?

Most ADHD patients—not all—experience intense emotional reactions that might affect their mood. According to expert studies [1*] , emotional dysregulation affects both children and adults with ADHD very frequently. Patients may find it challenging to self-regulate, making it tough to absorb and control the strong emotions they’re experiencing. This struggle can result in reactive mood fluctuations and even meltdown episodes.

The person with ADHD may also become upset due to other ADHD symptoms, like being easily distracted or having difficulties focusing, which can make emotions overpowering. These signs might quickly influence one’s mood and lead to frustration.

Emotional outbursts can occasionally accompany ADHD mood swings too. This can be attributed to the disorder’s characteristic symptom of impulsivity.

How to Deal With ADHD Mood Swings?

For adult patients, it can be part of their ADHD management regimen to work on their mood instability. There are a variety of ways to help you go through this process. Through the ways explained below, your confidence may rise as you develop the ability to control your moods, and you may also discover that managing your interactions is simpler.

1. Shift Your Attention

ADHD is characterized by inattentiveness. Have you ever considered that this symptom might help you? So, the next time you are experiencing mood swings, make it a practice to distract your mind as soon as your mood shifts. You may only need a book, video game, or discussion to jolt you out of your emotional misery. Remind yourself that this feeling will pass and that it is preferable to let it pass without analyzing it.

2. Find Out Your Triggers

When learning to control your ADHD, being conscious of your emotions and the outside factors influencing them is essential. People with ADHD may find it particularly challenging to disengage from emotional experiences and to move on after trying circumstances. To manage your mood swings, it might be quite beneficial to recognize and comprehend these triggers in yourself.

Some of the common emotional triggers for ADHD patients can be the following:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Rejection
  • Depression
  • Health issues
  • Poor sleep
  • Emotional experiences

MEDvidi’s mental health experts can help you find a legitimate solution to your problem.

3. Vent Out Your Emotions

Letting your emotions linger can seriously harm your mental well-being. Make time each day or every week to express your emotions. Play loud music, watch a sport, or sign up for a workout class at your neighborhood gym. Anything that effectively relieves stress will work.

It’s also necessary to let your irritation or anger out in a healthy way, but it’s also important to set aside some time to be calm. You’ll be more likely to stick to the plan and feel less bad about taking time for yourself if you schedule enjoyable activities.

How to deal with ADHD mood swings

4. Practice Mindfulness

According to recent studies [2*] , mindfulness may assist both children and adults with ADHD symptoms. Being mindful of your body helps you return to the present. You may be able to take a moment to refocus. It can also aid in the development of emotional maturity.

Online or at community centers, you can frequently participate in mindfulness practices. You can also practice mindfulness in your home daily with various apps.

Several types of techniques that are frequently used are:

  • Body Scan
  • Mindful Yoga
  • Sitting Meditation

5. Don’t Hyperfocus on Your Mood

Patients with ADHD have irregular attention spans. Although most adults and kids with ADHD struggle to stay focused on a particular subject, one of its opposites is hyperfocus. Even though sometimes this symptom can be beneficial, it may be harmful too. So, instead of allowing it to send you down an emotional rabbit hole, learn to use it to your advantage. Don’t pay too much attention to your bad mood; try to shift your focus to what’s pleasant for you.

6. Exercise Regularly

Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle can indeed enhance your state of mind. Regular, well-balanced exercise helps to release endorphins, which improve mood [3*] . Use a quick workout regimen to relieve frustration if you cannot undertake daily or lengthy exercise that causes fatigue. Find an exercise or a few activities that you can do frequently and readily, such as walking, yoga, squatting, or planking.

Learn practical skills of mindfulness with assistance from mental health professionals.

7. Eat a Healthy Diet

Your overall health is impacted by what you put in your body. A diet rich in high-fiber vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein will help you stay full and energetic for longer while also balancing your blood sugar levels and hormones. Remember that simple carbohydrates like potatoes and sweets can cause a blood sugar rise, which might impact your mood. If you decide to use any supplements, remember to consult your doctor first.

8. Good Sleep

A healthy system depends on getting adequate quality sleep. Most people discover that a good night’s sleep [4*] improves their moods, energy levels, and even appetites. The optimum sleep schedule for you should be rigid. Don’t keep any electronics in your bedroom, and go to bed at the same time every night. So that you can gradually transition into bedtime mode, keep your evening ritual minimal. Before going to sleep, a little light reading can help you relax and fall asleep quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does ADHD medication help with mood swings?

Medication for ADHD can aid in reducing focus issues and other related problems. However, stimulants may aggravate the signs and symptoms of emotional dysregulation in people with co-occurring ADHD and bipolar disorder.

2. What are the mood swings in ADHD like?

A person with ADHD may switch from one mood to another easily. For instance, going from sadness to rage. They might not be conscious of their actions or how they affect other people. Afterward, they often experience regret for their behavior.

3. Can mood stabilizers work for ADHD?

The levels of brain neurotransmitters are stabilized by mood stabilizers. So, when ADHD and other mood disorders are present, these medications can be utilized to treat the comorbid condition.

4. Do people with ADHD have bipolar?

Yes, bipolar disorders often occur with ADHD. Research [5*] indicates that up to 1 in 6 individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) may also have comorbid ADHD, and approximately 1 in 13 individuals with ADHD may also have comorbid BD.


Despite the fact that ADHD and mood swings are both prevalent, you can try the aforementioned strategies to control them. If you see that your moods are controlling you, it might be time to consult a mental health expert. A psychiatrist can do a deeper investigation. For a proper mental health screenings and management of your symptoms, you can get online assistance from the certified healthcare professionals at MEDvidi.


5 sources
  1. Emotion dysregulation in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a meta-analysis. (2020)
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  2. Behavioral and Cognitive Impacts of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review. (2019)
    Source link
  3. Special Issue - Therapeutic Benefits of Physical Activity for Mood: A Systematic Review on the Effects of Exercise Intensity, Duration, and Modality. (2019)
    Source link
  4. Relationship Between Sleep Quality and Mood: Ecological Momentary Assessment Study. (2019)
    Source link
  5. Comorbidity of ADHD and adult bipolar disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. (2021)
    Source link
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.