Mood Disorders 2017-05-29T18:25:28+00:00

Mood disorders are mental health problems such as depression and bipolar disorder.  Mood disorders can occur in anyone, including children and teens.

The cause of mood disorders is not fully understood, but an imbalance in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters is likely to play a role. Just like a change in our hormones (another powerful chemical in our bodies) can cause us to be moody, have acne breakouts, influence our sex drive, etc.), neurotransmitters in our brain like serotonin and dopamine, can impact our moods, energy level, etc.  Having too much or too little of one of these chemicals in our brain can cause significant changes in our emotions and energy.  Mood disorders can sometimes also be related to a medical condition or substance abuse.

The most common types of mood disorders include major depression, dysthymic disorder (milder depressive disorder), and bipolar disorder, in which alternating episodes of depression and mania (elevated mood) occur in the same individual.   We all experience changes in our mood, and most people go through times of feeling sad. When these changes in mood are severe or interfere with your life, however, you may have a mood disorder.

We all experience moments of sadness.  Sadness is a normal emotion.  Major Depressive disorder (MDD) is much more than feeling temporarily sad or blue.   One of the defining factors of Major depressive disorder is that there does not have to be an outside influence that is causing a person to feel sad, such as losing a beloved pet, or breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend.  A person with MDD can feel down and blue despite having everything in their life appear to be going well.  MDD lasts for a minimum of two weeks and can continue for much longer periods if left untreated.  MDD affects a person’s ability to carry out their work, and daily activities.  It often interferes with a person’s ability to have satisfying and meaningful personal relationships.

Symptoms

  • Feelings of intense sadness
  • Loss of enjoyment in activities that one  previously found enjoyable
  • Lack of energy and motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Slowed motor skills
  • Having difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Changes in appetite (can be increased appetite and can also be little or no appetite)
  • Withdrawal or isolating behavior
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Increased drug or alcohol use
  • Thoughts of suicide

*Mental disorders should only be diagnosed by a trained medical professional.  Symptoms are listed for information only and not for diagnostic purposes.  Diagnoses is complicated and can have many variables.  DO NOT ATTEMPT to diagnose yourself or someone else based on symptoms you see listed herein in yourself or someone else.  If you are concerned and recognize some of the listed symptoms, seek help from a trained professional.

Sometimes people who appear depressed may actually have an illness called Bi-polar disorder.  People who have bi-polar disorder have episodes of depression, mania and periods of normal mood in between.  The time between these different mood episodes can vary greatly from person to person.  The depression symptoms of a person with bi-polar disorder include some or all of the symptoms of major depressive disorder.  Mania, on the other hand, is the opposite of depression.  A person experiencing mania may have an elevated mood, be over confident, very talkative or extremely irritable.  People with bi-polar disorder do not always have equal depressive to manic episodes.  Often times a person with bi-polar disorder will have many more depressive episodes than manic episodes.  It is not uncommon for a young person with bi-polar disorder to be initially diagnosed with depression as they have not yet experienced there first manic episode.   Young people can experience different symptoms than adults, including mixed episodes (feeling manic and depressed at the same time), rapid mood fluctuations, aggression and high emotional reactivity.

Symptoms

  • Elevated mood and increased energy
  • Inflated self-esteem or overconfidence
  • Irritability
  • Rapid speech
  • Racing thoughts
  • Risk taking behaviors
  • Decreased need for sleep

*Mental disorders should only be diagnosed by a trained medical professional.  Symptoms are listed for information only and not for diagnostic purposes.  Diagnoses is complicated and can have many variables.  DO NOT ATTEMPT to diagnose yourself or someone else based on symptoms you see listed herein in yourself or someone else.  If you are concerned and recognize some of the listed symptoms, seek help from a trained professional.

If you look at suicides, most of them are connected to depression. And the mental health system just fails them. It’s so sad. We know what to do. We just don’t do it.

– Rosalynn Carter

Treatment for Mood Disorders

This information is provided for information purposes only and should not be substituted for professional medical advice.  As with any medical illness, you should always seek professional medical advice on how to treat and manage your illness. 

This information is provided for information purposes only and should not be substituted for professional medical advice.  As with any medical illness, you should always seek professional medical advice on how to treat and manage your illness.

When correctly diagnosed and treated, people with mood disorders can live, stable, productive, healthy lives.  The following can be included in treatment of mood disorders:

Antidepressant and mood stabilizing medications — especially when combined with psychotherapy have shown to work very well in the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder.

Psychotherapy — most often cognitive-behavioral and/or interpersonal therapy. This therapy is focused on changing the person’s distorted views of himself or herself and the environment around him or her. It also helps to improve interpersonal relationship skills, and identifying stressors in the environment that may be triggers and how to avoid them.

Family therapy — Helping family members understand the illness, it symptoms and how to effectively help their family member deal with their illness.