Can Mood Swings Be a Symptom of Diabetes?

If you've ever been called "hangry," you can likely understand how your metabolism and mood can be connected. Similarly, a drop in blood glucose (sugar) levels can stir up feelings of uneasiness, anxiety, and irritability, causing mood fluctuations.

In addition to managing the more direct symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), dealing with a chronic disease can significantly impact your mental and emotional health. For instance, people with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to have depression than people without diabetes.

In this article, you will learn how diabetes and dealing with a chronic medical condition can impact your mood and overall quality of life.

Mood swing concept illustration

Ponomariova_Maria/iStock/Getty Images

What Are Mood Swings?

A mood swing occurs when you fluctuate from a good to a bad mood, and vice versa. Mood swings can be short-lived or persist for days and even weeks.

There are lots of things that can contribute to mood swings, including:

  • Physical or social changes
  • Stress
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Environmental factors
  • Medical conditions

Some degree of variation in your mood is normal. However, if you notice your mood swings are becoming more severe or more frequent, or are out of character for you, it's a good idea to consult your healthcare provider for an evaluation.

When Your Mood Is an Emergency

If you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, dial 988 to contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) and connect with a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

Are Mood Swings a Symptom of Diabetes?

Mood swings can signify all sorts of imbalances in your mind and body. While they aren't always traditionally listed as a symptom of diabetes, several mental and emotional symptoms may contribute to changes in mood. These include:

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Impatience
  • Confusion

In addition, managing diabetes can take a toll on mental health by increasing your risk of depression, or a negative mood, and lowering your overall quality of life.

Several other factors may also contribute to, or trigger, mood swings.

Stressful Lifestyle Changes

Stress can be a significant contributor to mood swings. Whether chronic stress or stress from new or challenging lifestyle changes, you may notice increased shifts in your mood after things like:

  • Job loss
  • Relationships ending
  • Buying a home
  • Moving to a new city
  • Financial hardship
  • Death of a close friend or relative

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes and endocrine disorders that affect hormone levels can also be a driver of mood swings. Mood changes from hormones are common with the onset of puberty, in the teenage years, during pregnancy, and menopause.

Reproductive hormones aren't the only ones that can trigger mood changes. The dozens of hormones in your body regulate different processes, such as fluid and electrolyte balances, metabolism, blood pressure, and sleep. For example, an imbalance in your thyroid hormones could cause depression or irritability that may be linked to mood swings.

Physical or Mental Health Disorders

Chronic illness (physical or mental) can also lead to mood swings. Both bipolar disorder and depression are mood disorders that can bring about mood swings.

Physical diseases can play a role, too, especially when they impact your hormones, body function, and overall quality of life. Diabetes, for example, may affect your mood due to the toll taken on your body, personal life, general well-being, relationships, and lifestyle.

Treatments and Management of Mood Swings

Working with your healthcare provider to find the underlying cause of your mood swings—whether a physical or emotional issue—is the first step in identifying an effective treatment.

Possible treatments for mood disorders outside of treatments linked to any other underlying condition may include things like:

It can also help to take steps to improve your overall health and well-being. This may include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Staying active or exercising regularly
  • Staying socially engaged with friends and family

When to See Your Healthcare Provider

It's not unusual to have occasional mood swings. But, if these mood swings affect your daily life, personal relationships, job, or overall well-being, it can help to talk to your healthcare provider.

If you have suicidal thoughts or thoughts of hurting yourself or others, call 911 and seek immediate medical care.

Summary

Many physical and mental health conditions play a role in your mood. Hormone imbalances or conditions linked to hormonal issues—like diabetes—may indicate mood swings.

See your healthcare provider if you are dealing with a chronic disease like diabetes and have difficulty controlling your mood.

A Word From Verywell

Diabetes can affect many aspects of your life beyond your blood sugar. Mood swings and other lifestyle challenges aren't uncommon for people with endocrine disorders like diabetes.

Getting underlying conditions, like diabetes, under control can help improve mood stability. It's important to speak with your healthcare provider to rule out other potential contributors.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are mood swings a sign of type 2 diabetes?

    While mood swings aren't necessarily a direct sign of diabetes, diabetes can trigger significant mood changes. Chronic diseases often cause lifestyle changes and increased stress; diabetes also causes hormonal shifts, all of which may contribute to mood swings. If you have new or worsening mood swings with your diabetes, see your healthcare provider to rule out any other conditions or complications.

  • How do you manage mood swings caused by diabetes?

    Managing your diabetes by controlling your blood sugar levels is the best way to keep diabetes—and its potential complications—in check. Talk to your healthcare provider about lifestyle changes you can make to avoid additional complications that could worsen your mood.

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and mental health.

  2. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Mood disorders.

  3. American Diabetes Association. Hyperglycemia.

  4. American Diabetes Association. Hypoglycemia.

  5. University of Michigan School of Public Health. Is your mood disorder a symptom of unstable diabetes?

  6. Schweizer-Schubert S, Gordon JL, Eisenlohr-Moul TA, et al. Steroid hormone sensitivity in reproductive mood disorders: on the role of the gabaa receptor complex and stress during hormonal transitionsFront Med. 2021;0. doi:10.3389/fmed.2020.479646.

  7. Ritchie M, Yeap BB. Thyroid hormone: influences on mood and cognition in adultsMaturitas. 2015;81(2):266-275. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2015.03.016

  8. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Hormones and the endocrine system.

By Rachael Zimlich, BSN, RN
 Rachael is a freelance healthcare writer and critical care nurse based near Cleveland, Ohio.