Mood Related Disorders
As the name suggests, people with Mood-Related Disorders have difficulty with emotions. The most common conditions known are Depression and Bipolar Disorder. Depression describes a broad range of conditions where the individual has negative, heavy feelings of loss and sadness, anxiety, emptiness, low self-esteem, and a bleak outlook. In contrast, Bipolar Disorder displays a range of emotions from depression to euphoria, sometimes within minutes.
Research shows a strong link between mood disorders and the chemicals in the brain. When an imbalance occurs within the nervous system, the body responds to the increase or decrease of chemicals secreted by altering the mood leading to either mania or depression. These reactions are often common among family members as chemical imbalances run in families. So it’s not unusual when one person in the family is diagnosed with a mood disorder for others to recognize similar symptoms and seek treatment.
What are some of the symptoms seen in mood disorders?
Individuals with mood disorders have trouble coping with emotional situations, stress, crisis, and life events. As a result, they tend to have low self-esteem and feel sad, anxious, and empty inside.
Other symptoms typical of depression include:
- Feeling hopeless or helpless.
- Expresses a bleak or negative outlook on life.
- Uncharacteristically sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical, or moody
- Feeling inadequate or worthless.
- Excessive guilt
- Repeating thoughts of death or suicide, wishing to die, or attempting suicide
- Loss of interest in usual activities or activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
- Relationship problems
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Changes in appetite or weight (eating more or less than usual)
- Decreased energy
- Trouble concentrating
- There is a decrease in the ability to make decisions, forgetfulness, disorganization, and “out of it.”
- Frequent physical complaints (for example, headache, stomachache, back pain, or tiredness) that don’t get better with treatment
- Running away or threats of running away from home.
- Extremely sensitive to failure or rejection
- Irritability, hostility, or aggression
- Drinks more or abuses drugs, including prescription sleeping pills and painkillers
Treatment Can Help
Since a chemical imbalance may cause mood-related disorders, antidepressants, and mood-stabilizing medications serve as the first choice for treatment in many cases. The expectation is that they help restore the nervous system’s chemical balance. However, medications may take up to three to four weeks to show improvement in symptoms which can sometimes cause patients to give up hope and stop treatment before the drugs have had time to work.
Other treatments used include family therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and transcranial stimulation.
Types of Mood-Related Disorders
Bipolar Disorder gets its name from the two opposites in the moods associated with this condition. A person with bipolar disorder struggles with mood swings ranging from extreme depression to extreme mania. Once known as “Manic/Depression Disorder,” the symptoms of the condition became known by the range of mood shifts ranging from periods of extremely “up,” elated, irritable, or energized behavior (manic episodes) to very “down” sad, indifferent, or hopeless periods (depressive episodes). Episodes may last a long time, such as two years, or as short as a few days.
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder is a condition that occurs in children and youth ages 6 to 18. It involves chronic and severe irritability resulting in severe and frequent temper outbursts. The temper outbursts can be verbal or can involve behavior such as physical aggression toward people or property. These outbursts are significantly disproportionate to the situation and are inconsistent with the child’s developmental age. Often triggered by frustration, the episodes occur on average three or more times per week. Between the outbursts, the child’s mood is persistently irritable or angry most of the day, nearly every day.
The difference between Depression and Major depression is the length of time it lasts. For example, if someone stays in despair for over two weeks, it is considered a major depressive episode. Characteristics of severe depression include losing interest in usual activities, feeling sad or hopeless, and other symptoms for at least two weeks.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)
Characterized by chronic depressive episodes lasting at least two years, Persistent Depressive Disorder (dysthymia) may sometimes be severe. In contrast, others may be less intense, but the depressed mood persists throughout the two years or longer.
Postpartum depression may occur during pregnancy and after delivery. The woman has extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion, interfering with her ability to care for and bond with her infant. The severity and length of time postpartum depression varies but may be severe enough to lead to suicide or harm to the child.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder occurs in women about a week before their menstrual cycle. They experience severe depression, irritability, anger, marked anxiety or tension, or mood swings. Other symptoms may include decreased interest in usual activities, difficulty concentrating, lack of energy or easy fatigue, appetite changes with specific food cravings, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, or feeling overwhelmed or out of control. Physical symptoms may include breast tenderness or swelling, joint or muscle pain, a sensation of “bloating,” or weight gain.
Psychotic depression occurs when people have severe depression and psychosis, such as delusions or hallucinations. The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
Schizoaffective Disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by schizophrenia symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. Still, it also includes mood disorder symptoms, such as mania and depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder is characterized by the onset of depression during winter when there is less natural sunlight. This depression generally lifts during spring and summer. However, winter depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns to Seasonal Affective Disorder every year.
Substance-Induced Mood Disorders
Substance-induced mood disorders such as depression resulting from the effects of medicine, drug abuse, alcoholism, exposure to toxins, or other forms of treatment.