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Managing ADHD mood swings in your child

Posted by
Dr Batra’s™

Mood swing is more common with a child or adult suffering from Bipolar disorder which is a mood disorder characterized with dramatic shift from a feeling of euphoria to depression. However, ADHD children could also have mood swings if they are very passionate about something or could have strong emotional reaction which could change their mood dramatically.

Apart from ADHD symptoms which are hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness; if your child shows any of these additional symptoms then you should be taking your child to the doctor to rule out for a mood disorder:

  • Poor or No appetite or overeating
  • Excessive sleeping or insomnia
  • Easy fatigue
  • Low self confidence

There are ways in which you can help your child recognize and regulate their emotions. Here are a few tips on how to manage ADHD mood swings in your child:

Do not react immediately: If your child has a sudden mood swing, try and control your reaction. If you react instantly it may make it even harder for you to gain control over your child. The child will not be in a state to understand or listen to you at that moment, so let him/her vent their frustration as long as it does not get extreme.

Reflect on the situation: Your child may not even be aware about the sudden mood change or even understand what he / she is feeling. Say something which can open the communication channel and helps your child express what he / she feels. For example you could say this, “You seem to be very angry about something. You were in a better mood just a few minutes ago…” this would be a more constructive way to help you know your child’s problem.

It’s important to empathize with your child: It is very important to show empathy to your child when he / she is having a mood swing. You can get talking to them about what is bothering them and know the reason before the negative feeling getting worse. You can even share with your child a story of something similar happening to you as a child which will make him feel better and understand his / her behaviour too.

Let your child know your feelings about his / her behaviour: It is also very important for you to make your child realize that their behaviour is upsetting those around him / her. You could put it forward as, “I am feeling upset by your behaviour. Could I know what is making you behave like this?”  Your child may open up about what is bothering him. This empathizing strategy will help you to know what is bothering your child and also to help them know you are not willing to be treated with disrespect.

Are the conventional medicines responsible for the mood swing: If your child is on any conventional treatment for ADHD  then it could be possible that this medicine could be one of the causes of mood swings? This could hold true in those cases where the time of mood swing is at the same time day after day. Bring this to your doctor’s notice so that the needful changes could be done. Rule out all possibilities for the mood swing and rectify at earliest.