What is a mood disorder?
Mood disorders encompass several mental disorders that impact emotional management, likely as a result of chemical imbalances in the brain. Mood disorders can also develop as a result of environmental factors, life events or stressors. Some individuals are at an increased risk of having a mood disorder if they have a family history of bipolar disorder, depression or other mood disorders
What are the common signs of mood disorders?
Signs of mood disorders in adults can vary depending on the severity of the disorder and how much the disorder is impacting the individual’s life. Serious or persistent mood disorder symptoms are particularly impactful to quality of life, within the social, occupational, physical, medical, and emotional contexts.
Common signs and symptoms of mood disorders in general include:
- Changes in sleep – either sleeping too much or too little
- Changes in weight – either gaining or losing weight
- Changes in appetite – either eating too much or too little
- Feelings of sadness or emptiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities that were previously enjoyed
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of helplessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Muscle aches, headaches and stomach aches
- Lowered libido and loss of interest in sexual activity
- Difficulty meeting daily obligations, such as schoolwork or responsibilities at work
- Trouble in interpersonal relationships
- Feelings of grandiosity
- Heightened energy, during periods of mania
Severe mood disorder symptoms can include:
- Thoughts of suicide
- Feeling that life is not worth living
While many mood disorders share similarities in terms of signs and symptoms, individual disorders can also have their own unique symptoms. “Depression,” for example, is an umbrella term for a type of mood disorder that actually consists of several different subtypes of depressive mood disorders. Common types of mood disorders include:
- Major depressive disorder – Characterized by prolonged, recurring periods of extreme feelings of sadness, emptiness, helplessness or hopelessness. To be diagnosed as a major depressive disorder, symptoms typically must persist for at least two weeks.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – Characterized by depression that often appears in the winter months or areas with fewer hours of daylight. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder often dissipate during periods with more hours of sunlight per day and reappear with gloomy weather.
- Premenstrual dyspeptic disorder – Characterized by mood swings, anger, irritability and depression during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, after ovulation through to the end of menstruation. The premenstrual dyspeptic disorder is distinct from the typical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
- Postpartum depression – Characterized by symptoms of depression after an individual gives birth, lasting for weeks or months following the baby’s birth. A key element of postpartum depression is that it often disables or prevents the individual from functioning at their previous levels in terms of work, school, home life, and/or relationships. Postpartum depression can also make it more difficult for mom and baby to bond.
- Bipolar disorder – Characterized by alternating periods of major depression and mania, it is also known as manic depression or manic-depressive disorder. There are two distinct types of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I disorder is characterized by episodes of both major depression and mania or hypomania. Bipolar II disorder is characterized by episodes of major depression followed by or preceding episodes of hypomania, however, mania is not present in bipolar II cases.
- Cyclothymic disorder – characterized by alternating mood swings and symptoms similar to hypomania and depression. Cyclothymic disorder is a type of bipolar disorder, however, its mania and depression symptoms are not characterized as being as severe as bipolar disorder.
- Depression as a result of a medical condition – Characterized by symptoms of major depression in individuals who have also been diagnosed with chronic conditions like cancer, autoimmune diseases or paralysis.
- Depression as a result of substance use disorder – Characterized by depression during or following the use of or withdrawal from substances like opioids, benzodiazepines or alcohol. Depression itself can be a side effect and symptom of withdrawal from substances.
Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare is dedicated to your treatment and sustained wellbeing. In our practice and your treatment plans, we abide by our core values of integrity, dedication, passion, and collaboration. Mood disorders can be effectively treated using a medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. You deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life.
Please note that this information is meant to provide an overview of mood disorders rather than a mechanism for diagnosis. If you believe you are struggling with a mood disorder, reach out today at 678-274-4936.
If you or someone you know are experiencing a medical emergency or is struggling with thoughts of suicide, dial 911 for immediate medical care.