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Mood Disorders: What They Are, Symptoms & Treatment

Mood disorders are a category of mental health disorders that are constantly being updated as mental health and human psychology are constantly being explored.

Mood disorders can impact a person’s emotional state over long periods of time and cause disruptions in their daily life to varying degrees.

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Despite the impact a mood disorder can have, it may sometimes be completely hidden or unapparent to the individual’s family and friends.

Hence, it is always important to keep educating yourself on the various symptoms of mood disorders in case you observe any unusual behavior in your loved ones or yourself.

Depending on the type of mood disorder, different types of treatments may be offered by a mental health professional with some disorders requiring easy and less disruptive treatments such as Telehealth therapy.

And remember!

Always make sure to reach out to a professional before approaching any method of treatment or if you find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms covered in this post.

Mood disorders affect millions of individuals across the globe every day. So, without any further delay, in today’s post we are going to discuss what are some of the most common mood disorders, what their symptoms are and how they can be treated.

What is a Mood Disorder?

A mood disorder is a mental health condition that can affect a person's emotional state on a regular basis, causing disruptions in their life and daily activities.

It’s normal for anyone to experience mood swings from time to time. However, with mood disorder the changes in mood are more drastic and persistent over long periods of time.

Individuals diagnosed with a mood disorder are not always aware of the reason behind their mood changes, unlike a person diagnosed with a phobia for example, who acts in accordance with a deep and irrational fear towards a certain object or idea.

Mood disorders can be caused by a number of different factors such as genetics, family history, brain chemistry, or life experiences and events. The mood disorder can develop in an individual due to any single one of those factors or a combination of two or more.

Furthermore, the treatment for mood disorders can differ based on the type of disorder and how severe of a form it takes.

Treatment for mood disorders can be one or a combination of exercise, stress management, in-person therapy, and telehealth therapy.

What Are All the Mood Disorders?

According to the latest DSM-5 released in 2013. Mood Disorders are typically classified under one of two categories, depressive disorders and bipolar disorders.

In either case, it is important to consult a mental health professional through telehealth therapy or any other means before reaching a diagnosis. Some of the depressive related mood disorders include:

  • Major Depressive Disorder is the most common depressive disorder, characterized by subtle episodes of depression lasting at least two weeks, but typically last much longer. An individual diagnosed with major depressive disorder will exhibit changes in behavior or physical appearance such as a change in body weight, low energy, and a loss of interest in doing almost any activity.

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder, as the name suggests, is a more chronic and longer lasting form of depression. Persistent depressive disorder also known as Dysthymia is when the dip in overall mood or the symptoms of depression persist over the course of 2 years or longer in adults, or last more than 1 year in children.

  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder is a mood disorder diagnosed in children who exhibit persistent and chronic behavior of irritability and extreme emotional outbursts. So, the child would have emotional and anger outbursts frequently throughout the day. Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder can only be diagnosed in children up to 12 years of age.

  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a newly classified mood disorder affecting women during their menstrual cycle. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is characterized by low energy, fatigue, irritability, and feelings of anxiety or depressions, which typically occur a week or two before menstruation. Keep in mind, there is a distinction between Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and PMS. Even though they may share some common symptoms, PMDD is much more severe and less common.

All the depressive and related disorders share some common features such as the presence of feelings of sadness, emptiness, and negativity, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily physical and mental tasks.

On the other hand, bipolar and related disorders are characterized by manic episodes, or elevated mood followed by a depressive episode.

Some of the most common Bipolar and related disorders include:

  • Bipolar I Disorder is also known as manic-depressive disorder. Bipolar I disorder is where an individual experiences Manic episodes followed by depressive episodes and keeps switching between those two extremes. During a manic episode, which can last for a week or longer, the individual constantly feels elevated and high-spirited while having an inflated self-esteem during this period. On the other hand, during a depressive episode the individual will be low energy, unmotivated, and experience feelings of low self-worth.

  • Bipolar II Disorder can have just as big an impact as Bipolar I disorder on an individual’s life and daily activities. However, an individual diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder doesn’t ever experience a manic episode, instead they have had to experience at least one hypomanic episode which is less severe and lasts for a shorter period of time. Also, individuals diagnosed with Bipolar II typically experience major depressive episodes much less frequently than those diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder.

  • Cyclothymic Disorder is a mood disorder diagnosed in adults who experience milder symptoms than those diagnosed with either bipolar I or bipolar II disorders. In other words, individuals diagnosed with Cyclothymic disorder go through periods of time (at least 2 years in adults or 1 year in children) where they experienced symptoms of hypomania and depression without ever having manic, hypomanic, or major depressive episodes.

  • Substance/medication-induced bipolar disorder is a mood disorder where an individual experiences extreme mood changes and bipolar symptoms but only due to the intake of a substance such as alcohol, drug, or some form of medication.

How Common Are Mood Disorders?

Mood disorders are very common, affecting hundreds of millions of people all around the globe.

At the same time, some mood disorders are more common than others with depression being the most common on a global scale. In the United States alone it is estimated that 1 in 5 adults or approximately 20% of the population have experienced some form of a mood disorder at some point in their lives.

There are a number of contributing factors as to why mood disorders diagnoses have become increasingly common.

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Some of these reasons can be attributed to environmental factors such as childhood trauma, traumatic events, and a stressful lifestyle.

Another reason for the increasing number of mood disorders diagnosed by medical professionals is the spread of awareness regarding mental health while lifting the stigma around reaching out to professionals and receiving the appropriate form of treatment.

What Are the Symptoms of Mood Disorders?

Now each mood disorder has its own symptoms. However, there are some common signs or symptoms you can look for if you suspect yourself or a loved one of potentially having a mood disorder. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Sudden Mood Changes

  • Frequent Mood Swings

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness over long periods of time

  • Feelings of guilt or low self-worth

  • Frequent emotional outbursts

  • Loss of interest in activities that you previously found enjoyable

  • Changes in appetite or weight

  • Changes in sleep patterns (difficulty falling asleep or sleeping for too long)

  • Fatigue or lack of energy

  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions

  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

  • Irritability, agitation, or restlessness

  • Periods of mania or hypomania

Keep in mind! It is natural to have mood changes every now and then. Experiencing disappointment and negative emotions is a natural part of life.

However, if you feel yourself or a loved one experiencing one or more of these symptoms consistently over long periods of time, make sure to reach out to a mental health professional through telehealth therapy or any means at your disposal.

How Are Mood Disorders Treated?

Even though living with a mood disorder can be challenging in more than one way, there are multiple different treatment options for the individual to live a happy and fulfilling life.

As we’ve already covered, the right treatment for a mood disorder depends on its type and the severity of the symptoms accompanied with it.

Treatment for mood disorders typically involves some form of psychotherapy as it helps the individual throughout the treatment process.

There are countless forms of therapy available all over the globe. In fact, with a form of therapy like telehealth counseling you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home.

Additionally, you know What to Expect from Telehealth since you complete an assessment before your first appointment to get matched with the right counselor for your needs.

Living with a mood disorder may be tough, but no one should have to go through it alone.

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