Mood disorders are a group of possible diagnoses in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental health disorders, classified by a disturbance within an individual’s mood. Two primary groups of mood disorder are most regularly recognized by most health professionals, and the classification is typically made according to the evidence of whether an individual has ever experienced a hypo-manic or manic episode. The two established types of mood disorder are depressive disorder, such as major depression or major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder, formerly referred to as manic depression.

Both of these disorders are highly treatable with the right help, but unfortunately many people fail to seek out the assistance that they need due to an uncomfortable stigma or misunderstanding that surrounds the issue of Mental illness. It is important to recognize that mood disorders can develop in response to a variety of factors, including as a reaction to medical conditions, a side-effect of substance abuse, in acknowledgement of a difficult period during someone’s life, or as part of an underlying genetic predisposition.

Understanding the term ‘Mood’ in a Medical Context

Most of the time, the word ‘mood’ is used simply to refer to the way that someone may feel at any given moment during their day. For example, someone may tell you that he or she is in a ‘bad mood’, or a ‘good mood’. However, mental health professionals consider the term somewhat differently, using it in clinical settings to describe a consistent emotional state that may affect the way a person experiences the world around them. A large majority of people who do suffer with mood disorders are usually able to find treatments that can be effective in helping them manage their lives more easily. A combination of medication and talk-based therapies are typically used to help individuals feel better about their situation and adjust thought processes that may contribute to their illness, difficult circumstances, or general anxiety.

The Characteristics of Mood Disorders

A mood disorder is capable of significantly disrupting an individual’s life in a variety of ways, impacting their ability to carry on as normal. Someone who is suffering with a mood disorder may find it difficult to function as they normally would at work, cope well in social situations, or continue to build positive relationships. In some cases, the symptoms of mood disorders can be severe enough that they require an individual to be hospitalized for a period of time in order to better ensure their safety and the safety of those around them.

In particularly severe instances of bipolar disorder and major depression, it is possible for psychotic symptoms to be present which describes a patient’s disconnection with reality. Often, psychosis can lead patients to believe that they are hearing voices or seeing things due to hallucinations, or believing irrational thoughts due to delusion.

How Common Are Mood Disorders?

The National institute of Health, (NIH), have conducted studies into the prevalence of mood disorders and discovered that approximately twenty percent of the adult population throughout the United States will experience some form of mood disorder during their lives. Unfortunately, due to the common social reaction that many people have to the concept of mental health and illness, only 20% of people who do have a mood disorder currently benefit from the correct treatment.

Throughout the world, mood disorders account for one of the main causes of disability, with depression leading the poll for mental health issues most commonly experienced.

How Mood Disorders can be treated

Mood disorders are diagnosed by health professionals, usually with experience in the field of mental health. Usually, in order for a diagnosis to be made, the health professional must interview the patient, and following that interview, a decision regarding the best course of treatment can be made.

Although most forms of mood disorder are very treatable, it is important to note that some people may find that they are dealing with their issue for a lifetime, or experience several recurring episodes. In some cases, individuals will only suffer from brief, acute episodes of depression or mania that can be resolved with the correct treatment. However, other people could suffer from periods of depression that last for several years at a time. Often, bipolar disorder is considered a lifelong condition that will require constant management and ongoing treatment.

As with many forms of anxiety disorders and personality disorders, the primary methods of treatment are typically a mixture of medication and psychotherapy. Where medication may be used to help treat symptoms and manage the condition by reducing chemical imbalances that may be occurring within an individual’s brain, psychotherapy is used to address the underlying psychological issues that may be exacerbating or worsening a disorder.

Many health professionals argue that the use of medication alone is simply not enough to properly address depressive disorders, as it does not address the psychological issues that exist beneath the symptoms. Medication can help to manage a person’s experience of depression, but it will not change their situation, or help to battle against low self-esteem, negative thought patterns or destructive behavior that may play a significant role in that depression. That is why psychotherapy is used to help patients learn effective coping skills and healthier thought patterns so that they may deal with future episodes in a more positive manner.

Unlike major, clinical, or even mild depression, the treatment for bipolar disorder will typically include a focus on continuous medication throughout an individual’s life. Although psychotherapy options can be used to help those suffering with bipolar manage stress more effectively and cope with difficult emotions, mood stabilizers are required to reduce the risk of manic or hypo-manic episodes, and other medications can be prescribed alongside this.

The effectiveness of treatment for any mood disorder will depend on a variety of factors, including how willing the patient is to comply with the concept of treatment. If you believe that yourself, or a loved one may be suffering from a mood disorder, then it is important you seek help as soon as possible. Contact Creative care today for further help on what to do next, and how to begin treatment.