Mood and Behaviour
Whether you have a short temper or frustrated by your mental clarity, then mood swings or emotional distress can be a serious situation to deal with. A number of natural remedies and nutritional supplements can help reduce the effects of mood changes or persistent mood issues.
The causes for mood and behavioural problems can be varied:-
A stressful, chaotic or unbalanced lifestyle.
Lack of sleep or too much sleep
Unhealthy diets lacking in the necessary vitamins and nutrients- Particularly unhealthy blood sugar controls.
Hormonal changes – for teenagers, female or male adults
Alcohol or drug abuse, or smoking withdrawal
Chemical imbalance in the brain
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Side effects of certain medications.
Approaches which help to reduce anxieties, mood swings and depression can include herbal remedies, nutrient supplements and relaxation therapies. Diet is vitally important. Temporary emotional issues can be reduced using flower remedies particularly for children.
Mood is a complex phenomenon where neurotransmitters in the brain play a major role in determining our moods. Fluctuation in the balance of these chemicals causes mood swings. The changes in neurotransmitters can arise because of brain chemistry or because of changes outside the brain. These neurotransmitters are dependent on what protein we eat and how amino acids in these proteins are used metabolically. Individual amino acids can be used as supplements if any deficiency is identified.
A mood swing is when you feel happy and cheery one moment, miserable and grumpy the next or vice versa. They are common, and can be considered within the normal range of emotions. Most of us will have experienced mood swings, especially when under stress or particularly going through hormonal changes. Mood swings can vary in duration. Low mood might be described as feeling fed-up, down, having ‘the blues’ or feeling sad . Episodes of low mood may be accompanied by mood swings. Low mood is a relative normal emotion that we have all experienced.
Feelings low in mood are very similar to the emotions we might describe if suffering from mild depression, but to a lesser degree of severity, and yet can feel their mood lift when good news arrives. We are more likely to suffer from low mood when under stress. Low emotion inhibits our ‘capacity’ to cope with the everyday problems and is the reason that anxiety can often accompany episodes of low mood. Stress, anxiety & low mood are commonly experienced in our modern world and are unpleasant emotions which are all interlinked and can form a vicious circle.
Stress is not an illness in itself. It tends to manifest itself by way of unpleasant symptoms, both physical and mental. These can include the feeling of nervousness, a racing heartbeat and sharpening senses, as well as a feeling of being overwhelmed, irritable or restless. Continual stress can affect our adrenal systems and our digestive systems and in turn these can affect our nervous systems. Anxiety is the reaction to undue stress and finding an effective management technique for it goes a long way towards easing the symptoms.
What is important with low mood is to distinguish it from depression. Depression is a medical condition in which the sufferer experiences feelings outwith the normal range of emotions. Those with depression may feel incapable to deal with past events whereas those with anxiety are more concerned with being unable to deal with future tasks.
It is important to examine your symptoms carefully, as stress, anxiety and low mood may lead to more serious health conditions, including high blood pressure and heart problems. The good news is that they are all treatable, often through a combination of self-help techniques, nutrient support and herbal remedies. If low mood continues without improvement, it can be a sign of depression and an indication that one or more neurotransmitters are now significantly deficient.
How to Manage Your Mood Swings? The principles of taming mood swings sound simple, but are often a challenge to incorporate into daily life. It takes effort, and unfortunately, there’s no easy pill or magic trick. Tips to help manage mood swings:
Get enough sleep
Limit caffeine or stimulants like alcohol, energy drinks & Avoid Illicit drugs
Keep to a nutritious diet with plenty of water Avoid excessive carbohydrates and processed foods. Eat a diet consisting of a complex carbs with a protein at each meal
Find a displacement activity and get enough exercise Whether it’s playing a sport, joining a yoga class or hobby. All are great outlets for our life stressors Exercise increases our endorphins –
Mood swings are one of the most commonly experienced symptoms of the menopause. Mood swings affect every woman differently, although there are many consistencies in the symptoms. Most women experience unexplained moods which are continually changing, reactions far stronger than a particular situation merits, irritability and less tolerance or patience than normal. The menopause is a time when the body is going through major hormonal changes. The hormones which trigger ovulation and menstruation are also important for releasing a mood-regulating chemical called serotonin.
As these hormones decline when you approach the menopause, so does the level of serotonin. Unfortunately the decline of these hormones is not a smooth and steady descent but a bumpy road down. When serotonin level is high, your mood soars; when it is low, so is your mood.
Dietary changes are beneficial, and several herbs can be used to your advantage to help control mood swings: including St. John’s Wort, Avena sativa, Passionflower, Ginseng Rhodiola Rosea. For Menopause the herb Sage may reduce hot flushes but Red Clover or other phytoestrogens may be more effective at reducing mood. The superfood from South America, Maca, may stabilize female hormones and mood.
It is well known that menopausal symptoms are not as significant to many in Asia and this probably explained by nutritional differences-particularly much less dairy, phyto-oestrogenic foods, higher levels of essential fatty acids, iodine and magnesium.
Men have their world of emotional ups and downs and can experience mood swing. Changes in men's hormonal balance can also result in physiological changes, which eventually results in psychological changes. Men's mind conforms to the changes in the physiology of men, that is, things like puberty and mid-life crisis. The rise and fall of certain chemicals has a significant effect on a man's emotions. Any form of general and regular exercise can help keep the testosterone levels balanced. This will help in reducing the aggressive and fickle mood swings. You can also compel your brain to start thinking rationally about the mood problem, rather than acting abruptly and aggressively in a situation.
Anxiety can consume vitamins and minerals at a higher rate than normal. Support for the adrenal system with Vitamin B5, and Vitamin C can reduce nervousness. For adrenal support other nutrients would be required. Low magnesium levels increase nervousness (or less calmness) because of their impact on muscle tensions.
Mild depression may be assisted by herbal remedies and studies have shown that low Vitamin d and also low essential fatty acids are associated with more risk of depression. High EPA fish oils and Vitamin D have been used along with other anti-depressants to improve mood.
Neurotransmitter balances and mood and behaviour
Many experts believe that an imbalance of neurotransmitters in our brain can cause mental health problems? Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers between nerve cells. They affect mood, behavior, sleep and more. Symptoms of an imbalance can include: depression, anxiety, aggression, poor concentration, poor memory, lack of motivation and energy mood swings, hyperactivity, ADHD, panic attacks, impulsive behaviour, sleeping problems, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Key neurotransmitters that affect our mood include: acetylcholine, norepinephrine (noradrenalin) and dopamine, GABA, serotonin, phenylethylamine.
What causes Neurotransmitters to be out of balance? The nervous system is always active, a healthy well balanced nervous system depends on a constant and adequate supply of the various neurotransmitters. Research has shown that many factors associated with today’s fast-paced lifestyle deplete our pool of neurotransmitters and hormone levels
Chronic stress is the primary contributor to neurotransmitter imbalance.
Poor dietary habits lead to nervous system imbalance, especially if the poor diet is combined with high stress. Diets with insufficient proteins or too many high glycaemic carbohydrates will increase excretion of neurotransmitters. Also, diets low in Omega-3 fatty acids will lead to poor neuron function because our brain cell membranes are composed primarily of lipids and Omega-3 fats help to stabilize these membranes.
The third major factor to neurotransmitter imbalances is neurological toxins.
The last major influence is genetics.
What can we do to help prevent or treat a neurotransmitter imbalance: Keep stress levels low. Balance vitamin and mineral intake, eat enough high-protein foods with every meal. Eat enough omega-3 fat. Omega-3 fat stabilizes the brain membranes and is needed for proper brain cell function. Diets low in this fat can badly affect the quality of the neurons and lead to faulty signals.
Test for heavy metal toxicity, chemical toxicity and hormone imbalances and, if detected, get suitable treatment. A blood or urine test can detect a neurotransmitter imbalance.
Whether an out of balance brain chemistry comes from the mind and emotions taxing your brain chemicals, or is an inherent chemical imbalance in the brain itself, the situation can be helped and often cured by directly re-balancing the brains neurotransmitter chemistry. Antidepressant and antianxiety drugs are not the only effective way to change brain chemistry, you can for example increase serotonin levels with diet, supplement, and amino-acid therapy.
The blockage of serotonin metabolism and receptor malfunction may be a result of autoimmune response. There have been more and more reports that shows autoimmune response in the nervous system is one of the major causes for neurological and psychological problems. Toxin accumulation in the body might be one of the main reasons causing autoimmune response. The toxins include endogenous metabolic toxins, environmental toxins and toxins from pathogens. Our immune system is sensitive to the presence of toxins and will do everything to eliminate them. Autoimmune response is another important factor causing neurotransmitter imbalance. The response can be either in energy level or in biochemical level.
Many diseases start with problems in digestive system. Because of modern life styles such as busy schedule, emotional stress and environmental toxins, digestive function is often compromised. High stress and toxins cause reduction of digestive enzymes and weak immune function in digestive system. Over growth of Candida yeast and bad bacteria in digestive tract leads to further damage to the lymphatic tissue and receptors on the intestinal lining. All of the above cause food indigestion, malabsorption of nutrients such as vitamins and amino acids, and blockages of neurotransmitter production. Solving digestive issues becomes a priority for neurotransmitter related conditions.
Hormone Correlation to Depression and Anxiety: Most of the female patients who suffer from anxiety and depression often complain that the symptoms get much worse before their monthly menstruation or during their menopause. Once their hormones are balanced, anxiety and depression may not be their major concern any more.
Thyroid hormone imbalance also causes anxiety and depression.. Low thyroid function can be a result of high adrenal stress or autoimmune response. Addressing root issues for the low thyroid function works much better for the patient than just supplementing with thyroid hormones.
Imbalance of Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) system is another cause for anxiety and depression. HPA function also plays roles in the production of other neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine etc. This is the major reason why stresses may induce depression and anxiety and make the symptoms much worse. Successfully addressing HPA function helps to control depression and anxiety much easier.
Emotion Correlation to Depression and Anxiety: Emotion can be a trigger to depression and anxiety attack. Emotional effect on depression and anxiety comes from either stressing HPA system or blocking meridians. Emotional therapy reduces the stress and tendency to have depression and anxiety. for the HPA system.