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Stress, Depression & Anxiety

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Added April 23, 2014

Teenage Mood Swing

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How often do you feel insecure? Argumentative? Impulsive? Rebellious? When was the last time you flew off the handle? Stormed off?  Slammed a door? Had a teenage mood swing? Whether you blame your moodiness on out-of-control hormones or the stress of being a teenager, you're probably right. The good news is you're totally normal. The bad news is you are the owner of an adolescent brain that is still a work in progress.


Being a teen is a lot like being a chick inside an eggshell. You're pushing out against the wall of the shell, trying to find your identity, struggling to break away, yet not quite ready to survive on your own. Most other animals skip this four-year gap in maturity altogether, developing rapidly from infancy to full adulthood. But we are different. Scientists have only recently discovered that this stage has its own unique biology, making at least some teenage mood swings inevitable.


Researchers once believed that the teenage brain was fixed at the end of childhood, and that a teenage mood swing could be blamed on raging hormones or a lack of experience. But more recent MRI scans reveal that not only is there a major reorganization in the teenage brain, but it continues to develop until the early twenties.


So it's not necessarily what happens in your life that makes you have mood swings; it's how you react to what's happening in your life. Hopefully there's some comfort in learning that your testiness is the result of your brain chemistry rather than a flaw in your personality. These are the facts: 

  • Researchers at the State University of New York say adults have a hormone called THP that's released at times of stress to help calm a person down. But this hormone works the opposite in teens, actually increasing anxiety. They aren't sure why, or how long it takes until it stabilizes in adulthood, but it certainly contributes to teenage mood swings.
  • Scientists at San Diego State University learned that as puberty kicks in, a teen's ability to recognize other people's emotions takes a downward turn, sometimes by as much as 20%. Teens experience a sudden increase in nerve activity, leading to what they call a "noisier" brain. This temporary state may make it difficult to process information, read social situations correctly, and empathize accurately, all of which could lead to crankiness.
  • A lack of sleep is another predictor of moodiness. While most adults start to produce the darkness hormone melatonin at about 10:00 p.m., teens studied in a sleep laboratory were found not to begin producing it until 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Try to go to bed earlier to prevent mood swings from occurring.


How can you get through a teenage mood swing? Getting through adolescence and surviving it is an achievement, a rite of passage. Settle down by counting to 10 or catching your breath. Talk it out. Exercise. Sleep enough. Use your creative gene. Cry if you must. And have patience to understand this teenage mood swing will pass. If your mood does not lift, speak to a responsible adult you trust to help you overcome your teenage mood swings.

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comments so far
Posted August 07, 2012
Whenever I'm stressed it's hard for me to breathe. It's a little hard to explain and my parents don't understand me either. But I do not have asthma and this happens like every August. I do not know why and it just started to happen last year. I can't sleep at night either. I think it is stress. Not sure.
Posted July 27, 2012
Just like not even 5 minutes ago i got mad at my sis because she would not answer me when i was screaming at the top of my lungs but i wasn't that mad then she came and all of a sudden i started screaming at her then i slammed the door really hard and then opedned it and screamed again then slammed it harder then punched the computer desk hard. ( evil...i know)but i am about to go apoligize to her haha! stupid puberty....>:(
Posted December 23, 2011
recently i get irritated to the smallest of things...... for like, i couldn't tie my hair neatly so i had to ask my mom......... so i got angry that i couldn't do it...... those stuff r just silly i know. but i have no idea how to control my anger...
Posted June 27, 2012
I have mood swings like every other teenage girl, but when I have a mood swing, instead of blowing up and getting angry, I shut down and then become stressed out with anxiety and depression because I don't know what's wrong with me. I wish I could just blow up and get angry and release some of this stress!! Does anyone else feel like this?
Posted April 14, 2012
im super stressed out but my family keeps calling it lazynesss but im 2 busy doing my h.w when can they get that through there heads
Posted July 12, 2012
I get super stressed and i dont know how to deal with it very well. I blow up on random people who just set me off sometimes and I dont try it. I try to relive my stress and deal with it but i cant. Then when its really bad i get an anxiety attack and cant breath. anyone else get this? advice?
queen supreme
queen supreme
Posted September 18, 2011
ha ha lol
Posted December 18, 2011
I want to know the difference between just having a teenage mood swing, and having bipolar disorder. I have been experiencing some anxiety and depression lately and I'm usually a pretty chill, happy person. I get angry easily, and just the other day, I starting laughing really hard for really no particular reason and it went on for about 20 minutes, then I was fine again. The littlest things irritate me, and my irritability doesn't seem to have anything to do with my period because I haven't had my period in months (there's no chance that I'm pregnant). I think I may have Bipolar II Disorder, which is less severe than Bipolar I Disorder. I want to talk to a doctor about it, but I don't know how to tell my parents. Can someone give me any advice?
Posted August 06, 2011
Haha people never know what to expect from me anymore because of this and what they say my "blondeness"
Posted August 07, 2011
lol I love it how we teens have our own "biology" XD
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