Attention Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderA man experiencing mood swings from ADHD

For a variety of reasons, ADHD can cause mood swings. Frequent shifts in mood are a common sign of ADHD.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms most commonly include hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. These interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, academic and/or work functioning.

ADHD is a mental health condition that affects nearly 8 million adult and 6.1 million children in the United States.

Emotional Dysregulation and Mood Swings

If you have ADHD, it is common to feel deeply. This can look like your emotions are amplified. When this happens, your mood may change quickly and without warning.

Emotional dysregulation affects from 25% to 45% of children with ADHD and about 70% of adults with ADHD report emotional dysregulation.

When you are emotionally dysregulated, your emotions will feel more intense. This means more anger and sadness as well as more happy and excited. When you get dysregulated, you might suddenly go from one emotion to the other, creating mood swings.

Anxiety and Depression

When you have ADHD, difficulties focusing and concentrating and being distracted can lead to irritation and frustration, and in turn, mood swings. As you become aware that you are different from others, your self-esteem can really be effected.

This will effect your anxiety and depression and can create shifts in mood. Studies show that if you have ADHD, you will be more prone to anxiety and depression.

If you have symptoms of inattention, you might be feeling a lot of stress. Things like making careless mistakes, finding it hard to follow through and finish tasks, difficulty organizing and managing activities and being easily distracted and forgetful all can lead to anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.

Not completing things or falling behind can alter your mood. You might feel like you’re failing or that your efforts aren’t good enough.

If you have symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity, dealing with this can cause emotional dysregulation. Things like feeling fidgety and restless, unable to quietly engage in things you like doing. You might be constantly in motion or on the go, talk excessively, or interrupt others. When problems occur, related to these symptoms, it might effect your mood.

ADHD Medications and Mood Swings

Medications that you might take for ADHD can affect people in different ways, including creating mood swings. These medicines can be highly effective in treating many ADHD symptoms. But, emotional symptoms such as shifts in mood are less likely to be treated by medication.

Stimulant medications can trigger sudden or severe changes in mood. Especially when they start to wear off, you might feel more irritable or agitated. If you are concerned about this, speak with your doctor and see what they recommend.

Learning To Cope With Mood Swings

You can learn to cope with your mood swings by understanding the triggers that cause them. You can begin to learn about what your behavior is during the mood swings, and why you have them.

Self Awareness

Self-awareness is critical. Understand when and why your mood swings occur. Start to investigate and collect information on what time of day you have shifts in mood, what you were thinking and what activities you were engaging in at the time. You can also make a note of what you ate and how much sleep you had the night before. Record this information so you can discuss it with your therapist. Then you can develop a plan for how to cope.

It’s important to be gentle with yourself as you are exploring this. Please don’t blame yourself and be hard on yourself.
As you start to get better at noticing your mood has changed, sometimes jumping into a different activity can help. Read a book, go outside, work out, play a video game, or call a friend. These can help shift your mood. Often, this mood will pass, and sometimes it’s best just to wait it out by doing something different.

Mindfullness Meditation

Practicing meditation can calm both your body and mind so that you feel more focused and grounded. It can help you keep your emotions balanced so that your mood stays more even. This is an important skill for everyone, and if you have ADHD, you might want to add it to your daily routine.

There are so many wonderful moving meditations, guided meditations, chanting exercises, and calming music meditations on YouTube and other venues such as Insight Timer. I encourage you to explore listening to these until you find those that are the most useful to you. For example, you can search guided meditation for self esteem or, calming and relaxing guided meditations.


Staying active helps to reduce stress and ease frustration. You feel happier and more balanced. When your mood is elevated and your stress levels are low you are less likely to experience sudden emotional shifts.
You can go to the gym, play a sport, take a walk, hike, swim, do yoga or anything that gets your body moving! Just being out in nature often promotes calm and reduces stress. Exercise can make it easier to focus, which then helps you regulate your emotions and have more control over your mood.


Research has found that certain foods and manufactured ingredients can activate or worsen ADHD symptoms. Refined sugars, food additives and preservatives, saturated fats, artificial colorings and food modifiers like MSG can be detrimental.Try to avoid foods with these substances in them.

Getting a balanced diet, which includes fruits and vegetables, may help protect you against the symptoms of ADHD. It may also lessen the effects of sudden alterations in mood.

A diet full of veggies, fruit, whole grains and lean proteins will keep your energy stable. Sugar, white bread, white rice, and potatoes can cause your blood sugar to spike and then negatively affect your mood.

You might also want to watch how much caffeine, alcohol or marijuana you consume, as these can also cause mood swings. When you have ADHD, you will already have a tendency towards shifts in mood, so adding substances into the mix can exacerbate the problem.


Make sure you get good sleep. If you have problems with sleep, it’s important to research what you can do to remedy this situation. When you get some good rest, you will be calmer and more at ease, which will help you prevent and manage mood swings.


ADHD can often make focusing a challenge. But, you probably also have a super power where you can hyper focus on something you are really interested in.You have the ability to focus very intently on things, and when this concentration is broken, it can be disorienting. Give yourself a few moments to breathe and come out of your hyper focused state.

If you can learn what your passion is, it can become a great resource for you. You can relax into the things you love doing when you are in a bad mood. Turn to your passion, whether it is work or a hobby.

Neurofeedback for ADHD Mood Swings

Neurofeedback is a great therapy for calming your mood swings. It restores emotional regulation, calms anxiety and greatly eases depression. It can also increase your executive function and help you focus.

You sit in a comfortable chair and watch a calming video. I set the system to a brain wave frequency that restores resiliency. When your brain creates that frequency, the picture on the screen moves, and gets brighter and bigger.

Your brain very quickly figures out that the picture will be nicer if the brain continues to create the desired frequency. Your brain is wired to want all the input it can get. All you have to do is sit and watch the video. Your brain unconsciously does the work for you.

After a few minutes, you will start to actually notice how you feel when your brain is making this brain wave frequency. We find the best frequency for you, where you really notice that you feel better.

If you think I can help with therapy and/or Neurofeedback, send me an email at or give me a call at 310-314-6933. I would be happy to talk with you.