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November 29, 2015 / 17 Kislev, 5776
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Are Mood Swings Medical In Nature?


Dear Dr. Yael:

Like Anonymous (December 6 letter), my husband is tense and always on edge. I smile more than him, and am a happier and more gregarious person. I see life differently than my husband; I guess I have the “shovel,” not the “spoon.”

The home in which I was raised was more loving and positive than his. But I must add that in my view, the hyperglycemia from which my husband suffers affects his personality. Anonymous might consider looking into the possibility that her husband is suffering from some medical issues. Perhaps he cannot control his tense behavior.

What is your take on the possibility of one’s tense personality being related to hyperglycemia? While my hypoglycemia affects my weight, I have an easygoing personality. Can you please share with us any information you might have about this subject?

A Reader

Dear Reader:

What an interesting and thoughtful take on the subject. Research has shown that extremes in blood sugar levels can bring about significant mood changes. Furthermore, frequent changes in blood sugar levels, or glycemic variability, can also influence the mood and overall quality of life for those with hyperglycemia. This condition can also affect a person’s concentration and make him or her feel grouchy.

For its part, hypoglycemia is shown to have even more significant effects on an individual’s mood. In addition to moodiness, other symptoms include depression, crying, exaggerated concerns, negativism, irritability, belligerence, combativeness and rage. Most of these symptoms are also associated with hyperglycemia because individuals suffering from this condition are likely to have fluctuating sugar levels, and might also have low sugar levels when taking too much insulin. We must always take medical issues into account when observing a prolonged change of mood in a loved one. If someone is acting different and no significant outside stressors are apparent, I would advise the individual to go for a check-up to ensure that there is no medical reason for the change.

It is important for people with hyperglycemia to be very careful with their sugar intake and sugar management, as the sugar alterations generally cause changes in a person’s mood. Regular exercise and balancing sugar levels are helpful remedies. You should consult your doctor and/or nutritionist as to how you can better stabilize your husband’s moods. While it is important to understand that he cannot always control how he is feeling, it is also helpful for you to attempt to cure some of the effects that the hyperglycemia is having on him.

That being said, I would venture to say that medical issues might not be playing a role here. Most research indicates that hypoglycemia, which you suffer from, is related to moodiness, depression, and crying – moods that seem not to affect you. I believe that the difference between your positive, easygoing mood as opposed to your husband’s tense disposition is more likely related to your upbringing. With my psychotherapist mindset, it is more likely that your differences in attitude are related to your childhood experiences.

People’s imago is the image in which they were raised. As imago therapy teaches, people tend to subconsciously look for marital partners who complete their unfulfilled imago issues or those who are similar to or opposite of their parents or other significant people in their lives. The imago therapy I use with my clients is very effective in helping them understand their behavior during marriage. Therefore, since so many factors are related to people’s behavior, e.g. childhood experiences, friends made, rapport with rebbeim and teachers, etc., it is unreasonable to attribute any single factor to a person’s behavior.

It is admirable that you are able to look for possible reasons as to why your husband is acting a certain way. It is difficult to not live in the moment, but rather to take a step back from what is happening and figuring out why it is occurring. It is easy to react poorly when someone is tense, and much more difficult to take the high road by trying to understand what is going on that makes a person act a certain way. You seem to be going the extra mile in trying to recognize what is going on with your husband and being cognizant of his medical issues. I hope that readers learn from your sensitivity and become more aware of the effects their moods may be having on their loved ones.

If all of us make a sincere effort to be maximally aware of others’ backgrounds and life experiences, we will increase the chances of successfully helping others deal with adversity. Hatzlachah!

About the Author: Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Respler will be on 102.1 FM at 10:00 pm Sunday evenings after Country Yossi.

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