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Difference Between Mood Swings and Bipolar Disorder

Mood Swings vs Bipolar Disorder

Our mood changes like that of the weather. This is one appropriate description with regards to our mood. It indicates that just like the weather can change without any warning, our mood may also sway differently due to various reasons. One moment you feel fine, and happy, then suddenly, you just scorn and get angry without any apparent reason. This is why we need to know how to distinguish between a person who is just being normally moody, or a person who may already have a mental issue to deal with.

Before we begin, we have to define what a mood is. A more general definition of a mood would indicate that it is the current state of the mind of an individual, disposition as of the moment, and subjective expression of the emotion being felt. As such, your mood may range from utter gladness or happy, to glum or deep sadness. An observer may only see the non-verbal signs of your mood through facial expressions or behavior, but it is the individual himself/herself who can basically indicate what his mood truly is.

Furthermore, you mood is usually influenced by a lot of factors, both internally and externally. For example, a person unable to sleep during the night may be irritable and gloomy in the morning, while a person who has had a good night’s sleep may show a warm demeanor and a happy atmosphere.

Individuals may also suffer from mood swings occasionally, either brought about by an external influence, or among females, hormonal changes. The question still remains, how do you discern an ordinary mood swing to having a psychological problem, such as a Bipolar disorder? Here’s why.

A Bipolar disorder is a mental condition in which an individual experiences extreme changes in mood for a distinct length of time, usually being manic or restless to being deeply depressed without any identifiable causes. Mood swings in a Bipolar are more intense in nature, thus, severely affecting an individual’s ability to perform activities of daily living.

Furthermore, ordinary mood swings may go away in a matter of days, while a Bipolar exhibits extreme mood changes lasting from weeks to even months. Furthermore, a Bipolar may exhibit shifts in the mood from being frightful to being depressed without provocation. This is not a characteristic of an ordinary mood swing, which may change due to an identified cause.

These are the major differences between just being moody or having a Bipolar disorder. You can read more about this topic though since only basic information are given here.


1. Our mood can change without warning, usually influenced by internal or external factors.

2. Mood swings are less intense, can go away in days, and cannot disrupt the life on an individual.

3. A Bipolar disorder can cause more intense effects to a person, taking weeks or months to occur, and usually disrupts the normal activities for living.

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