What's the Difference between Severe Mood Swings and Depression?

By Gina C. | Updated: Jun 18, 2020


Some people have difficulty understanding the difference between mood swings and depression. In order to deal with what's happening to your emotions, you need to understand the difference between these two very different things.

What's the Difference between Severe Mood Swings and Depression?

Severe Mood Swings

A mood swing is an abrupt change of emotion, which can arise through hormonal changes that occur in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. They can also be a symptom of a variety of disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit disorder (ADD). They can also be a side effect of certain prescription medications.

Anyone can experience mood swings at certain points throughout their life. One moment you may be elated with happiness, and the next unable to control your sadness. It can be confusing and you may not understand why you're feeling or acting this way.


Depression is long-term period of sadness regarded as a serious illness. Depressed people remain sad for weeks, and it can interfere with their everyday life.

How to Tell Them Apart?

If you are wondering if you are depressed and require special attention, or if you are experiencing mood swing episodes, there are a few things to look out for:


How long are you sad? If it comes as a sudden burst and then retreats, it is probably a mood swing. If symptoms strongly linger for days, weeks, or a month, then you are probably experiencing a form of depression.


If you are unable to work, have fun with friends, and take care of yourself, then you are probably experiencing depression. With mood swings, functionality in daily activities tends to remain intact.


The severity of your symptoms can also be a good indicator of depression or mood swings. Everyone has bad days, which can make them feel melancholy and want time to themselves. But if you lose interest in your favorite activities, and can't get out of bed, you may be experiencing depression. If you are able to go out and have fun after a sudden outburst, you probably are undergoing a mood swing.

More Information

If you are experiencing depression, you should see a doctor. This is a serious condition, and it merits full treatment. If you are experiencing mood swings and don't believe that menopause is to blame, you should also consult a doctor.

Click the following link for more information on mood swings .

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