What Are the Causes of Teenage Mood Swings?

Jacob Queen

Teenage mood swings have been blamed on everything from environmental factors to hormones. Over time, experts have come to a general consensus that teenage emotional problems often stem from a combination of factors working together. Hormones and physical changes are typically considered a big part of the cause, but often, there are other external factors as well, such as new responsibilities and more stringent behavioral expectations that typically come into play during the teen years. The physical changes and the effects they have on a teen's coping ability can make it difficult for the teen to deal with lifestyle changes and the general increase in external stress factors, often leading to unexpected emotional outbursts.

Hormonal changes in adolescence can bring severe mood swings.
Hormonal changes in adolescence can bring severe mood swings.

Hormonal surges that occur during puberty are thought to be one of the main contributing factors leading to teenage mood swings. Changes in body chemistry can causes all sorts of confusing feelings, including everything from depression to anger, and in many cases, teens feel a growing need for independence, causing them to rebel against authority figures. The physical changes of puberty can also lead to worries about cosmetic appearance, adding additional stress and leading to emotional difficulties.

Societal pressure may cause teenage mood swings.
Societal pressure may cause teenage mood swings.

Some of the main factors that may be responsible for teenage mood swings are changes in the brain. Teens may look like adults on the outside, but the brain is actually still developing during the teen years, and the area in the brain that helps people control their emotions and regulate their behavior is one of the main areas that still needs development at that time. As a result, teens may find that it's much more difficult to keep their emotions contained, and the increase in hormonal activity can potentially make this more severe.

Changes in the brain can cause teenage mood swings.
Changes in the brain can cause teenage mood swings.

Another factor that often leads to teenage mood swings is the increasing pressure and stress that society gradually puts on people as they grow up. In many cases, experts suggest that teens aren't emotionally ready for the kind of responsibilities they're faced with, and all the hormonal changes they're dealing with don't typically make things any easier. Additionally, they often have the added confusion of their first real romantic relationships, leading to lots of upheaval in their lives that they've never had to deal with before.

Teenage mood swings can be a tough challenge for the parents, and for the teens themselves. Experts suggest that many teens may benefit from channeling energy into something else, like teen sports or other extracurricular activities at school. In some cases, mood swings can become so severe that they lead to dangerous behaviors or suicidal thoughts, and in these situations, therapy and other measures such as medication may be required.

New responsibilities and behavioral expectations may cause teenage mood swings.
New responsibilities and behavioral expectations may cause teenage mood swings.

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Discussion Comments

anon233155

I have many intense mood swings. My parents think it is just because I am a teenager, and that I am immature and whiny. How do I tell them that most teenagers do the same?

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