Quick tips for managing ADHD mood swings
- Quick tip 1Don’t overreact to flare-ups.Don’t overreact to flare-ups.
If someone’s mood swing starts with an outburst, try not to react too quickly or intensely. Keeping yourself calm can help them regain control.
- Quick tip 2Reflect what you see.Reflect what you see.
When a bad mood doesn’t go away quickly, point out what it looks like. Be matter-of-fact: “You seem frustrated and annoyed.”
- Quick tip 3Ask what’s going on.Ask what’s going on.
Tell the person it’s OK to feel what they’re feeling. Having a safe place to talk can help people process and then let go of their emotions in a healthier way.
- Quick tip 4Share how you feel about the behavior.Share how you feel about the behavior.
You may worry about making the person with mood swings feel guilty or ashamed. But they need to know that their behavior affects others.
- Quick tip 5Do a perspective check.Do a perspective check.
If you’re having an ADHD mood swing, try to be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that mood swings are common in people with ADHD. Once you’re calmer, take a moment to reflect on what led to the mood swing.
People with ADHD often have trouble managing their emotions. And they tend to feel emotions more intensely than other people. The result? For some, it can mean mood swings that leave the people around them wondering what caused such a quick change in attitude and behavior.
It may not take much to set the pendulum in motion. Getting a bad grade, having to work late, even spilling a drink can instantly change a fine mood into a foul one. The anger or frustration may last the rest of the day — or disappear within 10 minutes.
When people with ADHD have mood changes, they may not see their behavior or how it’s impacting others. Afterward, they often feel bad about how they’ve been acting. They typically don’t mean to be moody or grumpy. But sometimes they may need support to build the skills to control it.