Mood Disorder

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Do you frequently feel sad, irritable, angry, or empty? 

Do you go from feeling extremely happy to deeply depressed for no apparent reason? 

Or perhaps you experience periods of intense mania followed by bleak depressive episodes.

If you can relate to any of the above, you may have a mood disorder. 

Here, we will explore the different mood disorder types, common signs and symptoms, and effective treatments to help you better understand the condition and get the care and support you need and deserve.

If you or a loved one think you may be suffering from a mood disorder, it’s important to speak to a mental health professional who can offer further information and advice.

Contact our friendly team today to discuss our mood disorder treatment program and begin your journey to lasting transformation and recovery.

What is a mood disorder?

A mood disorder is a mental health condition that can have a profound impact on your emotional state.

It is common for people with mood disorders to experience a range of emotions that vary in intensity.

For instance, an individual may experience extreme sadness, anger, or joy (or experience these emotions simultaneously).

People with a mood disorder live in an emotional state or mood that is distorted or inconsistent with their circumstances. 

Of course, it’s natural for us to experience fluctuating moods occasionally, depending on what is going on in our lives. 

However, the see-saw of emotions often experienced by people with a mood disorder are not always triggered by an external situation or event and can severely affect a person’s ability to function and live everyday life.

Mood disorders can have a significant impact on your behaviour, affecting your ability to perform specific tasks or activities, such as going to work or school.

They may also increase a person’s risk of suicide.

Additionally, to receive a mood disorder diagnosis, your symptoms must be present for several weeks or longer.

There are several types of mood disorders, and you must receive a formal diagnosis from a doctor or a mental health professional rather than self-diagnosing and treating it yourself.

What causes mood disorders?

There are several types of mood disorders, with many factors contributing to their development. 

These range from an imbalance in brain chemicals to environmental factors such as early childhood trauma, home environment, family issues, cultural expectations, social media exposure, and substance abuse. 

There is also a tendency for mood disorders to be genetically passed on from our parents.

Risk factors for mood disorders

Some of the common risk factors for mood disorder include:

  • Congenital disabilities
  • Genetics or a family history of mood disorders
  • Changes in chemical brain structure
  • Having a physical illness, such as cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease or Parkinson’s disease
  • Suffering from a substance addiction or co-occurring mental health condition
  • Experiencing a traumatic event, chronic stress, or significant life change

Types of mood disorder

There are various mood disorder subtypes. However, the most common types involve depressive and manic episodes.

Depressive moods are characterised by intense sadness, despair, melancholy, and low energy. 

In contrast, when a person experiences a manic (or hypomanic) episode, they may experience higher energy levels, elevated mood, or be highly talkative, confident, and friendly. 

There are various types of mood disorders, and only a mental health professional or doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. 

They include the following:

Major depressive disorder

Major depressive disorder is also known as clinical depression. 

The symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) include periods of extreme sadness that are out of proportion to an individual’s situation or life circumstances. 

Other symptoms of MDD may include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies you once enjoyed
  • Irritability 
  • Tiredness
  • Memory loss
  • Crying uncontrollably
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Problems sleeping

Causes of MDD

Experts have not yet identified an exact cause for major depressive disorder.

However, some researchers noted that medical conditions such as hypothyroidism may cause major depressive disorder in some people.

Although it is entirely natural to experience periods of sadness, particularly after a traumatic event (such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or a severe illness) experts explain that you may have major depressive disorder, particularly if your symptoms persist for at least two weeks or longer.

Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)

Persistent depressive disorder is a continuous, long-term form of depression. 

Individuals with this condition may find it challenging to shake off symptoms of low mood, which can last for several years. 

You may feel empty and sad and experience difficulty completing specific tasks or activities.

In addition, you may also lose interest in what you once enjoyed or got pleasure from.

Persistent depressive disorder is typically not as severe as major depression; however, you may experience symptoms that are mild, moderate, or severe. 

These symptoms can last many years and harm your relationships, work, school, and daily activities. 

As well as the above, if you have persistent depressive disorder, you may experience: 

  • A pervasive sense of hopelessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor appetite
  • Low energy levels
  • Sleep issues
  • Poor concentration

Researchers say that because the condition is long-term, people with persistent depressive disorder must cultivate healthy coping mechanisms.

Many with the disorder benefit from an integrated treatment plan that involves a combination of talk therapy and medication.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is also sometimes called bipolar affective disorder. 

A hallmark symptom of bipolar disorder is when an individual alternates between periods of mania and depression, meaning the person oscillates from having high energy to low energy, with various other symptoms in between.

In the manic stage, the person is often unusually upbeat, jumpy, wired, highly excitable, or overconfident. 

The manic period can last from a few days to several weeks and is followed by debilitating feelings of sadness, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, and low mood.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder symptoms tend to be more pronounced than other mood disorders and can include the following:

  • Constantly changing ideas and decisions
  • Erratic moods
  • Restlessness or hyperactivity
  • Rapid speech and/or continually interrupting others
  • Increased energy, which can present as being obsessive about exercise or other activities
  • Not needing much sleep 
  • Inflated self-image
  • Uncontrollable spending
  • Hypersexual behaviours
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Engaging in risky behaviours such as fast driving or other dangerous pursuits

Bipolar disorder types

There are four types of bipolar disorder, with the most common being Bipolar I and Bipolar II.

  • Bipolar I disorder is an acute form of the condition and may be severe enough to require hospitalisation.
  • Bipolar II disorder may cause depression cycles similar to Bipolar I; however, a person is more likely to experience hypomania rather than mania. Hypomania is a less extreme or disruptive form of mania. 

Bipolar II does not always require hospitalisation. However, a person living with this mood disorder may need medication and therapy to help them cope with daily life.

Psychotic depression

Psychotic depression is a severe mood disorder characterised by hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. 

Individuals with psychotic depression may also experience the following symptoms: 

  • Psychomotor impairment
  • A state of stupor 
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • A persistent sad, low, or hopeless mood
  • Unexplained changes in appetite and weight
  • Constant feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Suicidal thoughts

Psychotic episodes can cause much distress and upset for the individual and their family and friends and may require hospitalisation in some cases.

Individuals with psychosis can often become a danger to themselves and others due to the intensity of their symptoms and behaviours.

Substances such as marijuana, cocaine, and hallucinogens can trigger drug-induced psychosis and paranoia under specific conditions or if a person has been using these drugs for a long time.

Treatment options for psychotic depression

Treatment for psychotic depression may require hospitalisation, depending on the severity of symptoms and other factors.

Individuals with the condition are often prescribed specific medications to help control their symptoms, including antidepressants and antipsychotics.

Various therapies can also help individuals manage their condition and feel better.

Some of the most effective therapies for psychotic depression include:

Cyclothymic disorder

Cyclothymic disorder causes emotional ups and downs that are less extreme than bipolar disorder. 

Individuals living with cyclothymia may experience erratic moods, ranging from mild lows to moderate highs. 

For instance, you may experience times when your mood noticeably shifts up and down from your baseline. 

You may feel on top of the world for a time, followed by a low period when you feel somewhat down. 

These mood changes tend to be short-lived and may disappear quickly.

Researchers say that although the symptoms of cyclothymia disorder are less extreme than those experienced in bipolar disorder, it’s vital that you seek treatment as the condition can impair your ability to function and increase your risk of developing bipolar I and bipolar II. 

Treatment for cyclothymic disorder often includes a combination of talk therapy and medication, with close monitoring and ongoing follow-up with your physician.  

Medical-related depression disorder

Major or generalised depression is common in people living with a debilitating disease, injury, or illness. 

Severe or chronic medical conditions that co-occur with major depression include cancer, stroke, chronic pain, heart disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. 

Symptoms of medical-related depression include persistent low or depressed mood and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

If you think you may have symptoms of medical-related depression, it’s important to seek the support and guidance of a mental health professional who can advise you on the best course of treatment.

Contact our friendly team today for further advice and support.

Postpartum depression disorder

Post- or peripartum depression is much more severe than the ‘baby blues’ that many women experience after having a baby.

This condition can start during pregnancy or a few days or weeks after giving birth.

Experts say that although the ‘baby blues’ is prevalent after having a baby, it does not last for more than two weeks.

Research shows that those who don’t seek medical help for postpartum depression are at greater risk of developing major depressive disorder later on. 

Therefore, if you are concerned that you may have postpartum depression disorder, you must talk to your doctor, who can provide further information and support about how to move forward and get the help and treatment you need.

Postpartum depression symptoms can vary but typically include the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme sadness and low mood
  • Severe agitation or irritability
  • Finding it difficult to look after yourself or your baby
  • Withdrawing from contact with other people
  • Lack of energy or feeling tired all the time
  • Experiencing frightening thoughts, i.e. you may have thoughts of harming your baby
  • Problems concentrating and making decisions

Women with postpartum depression often struggle to bond with their newborn babies. In severe cases, they have suicidal thoughts or may even attempt suicide.

Fortunately, support and help are available for those with postpartum depression and many midwives and health visitors are trained to recognise the signs of postnatal depression and have strategies and techniques that can help.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder 

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD) is commonly known as premenstrual tension (PMT) and is characterised by mood changes and irritability before a woman’s menstrual cycle and a few days into it. 

Premenstrual symptoms range from irritability and mild anger to rage, aggression, restlessness, sleep problems, and loss of interest in activities usually enjoyed. 

PDD usually lasts around seven to ten days and disappears when the period cycle is complete. 

Contact your doctor or physician if you think you have symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Early diagnosis can help you get the treatment and support you need sooner, allowing you to manage your symptoms and live a better quality of life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be triggered when an individual experiences or witnesses a terrifying or traumatic event such as a physical assault or severe car accident.

PTSD symptoms can present days, weeks, or even years after the traumatic event occurred. 

People with PTSD typically experience intense emotional and physical reactions when memories or thoughts of the trauma are triggered.

For example, a person’s symptoms may be triggered by specific sounds, smells, people, objects, or places that remind them of the traumatic event.

PTSD symptoms can include the following:

  • Recurring nightmares
  • Flashbacks or re-experiencing where it can feel like you are relieving the traumatic event again
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Avoidance behaviours which may include avoiding places, people, or situations that reinforce memories of the trauma
  • Hypervigilance
  • Substance abuse to cope with unpleasant memories or symptoms

Post-traumatic stress disorder is usually treated with medication and talk therapy.

Moreover, trauma treatments that can help treat PTSD symptoms are also highly effective and can help release any stored trauma in the body.

These treatments include:

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that is triggered by seasonal weather changes. 

It is more common among people living in regions that experience fewer daylight hours, including late autumn to late winter. 

SAD is a similar condition to generalised depression. However, one way to distinguish seasonal affective disorder from generalised depression is that symptoms should disappear or reduce as the weather starts to improve and there are more daylight hours. 

If your symptoms do not disappear once the season changes, you may be experiencing clinical depression.

Moreover, if you are concerned that you may have SAD or generalised depression, speak to a mental health professional who can give you an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Intermittent explosive disorder (IED)

Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is often dismissed as a person ‘’acting up’’ or “flying into a rage”; however, it is a recognised mental health disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Episodes of unwarranted anger characterise IED and include emotional outbursts that are out of proportion to the situation or circumstance. 

These outbursts can involve verbal or physical aggression that is triggered by external stressors and is not premeditated or planned.

The condition can cause distress and impairment in various aspects of a person’s life.  

Studies show that IED is often linked to road rage and gender-based violence.

If you think you or a loved one may have intermittent explosive disorder, you must speak to your doctor or a healthcare professional who can advise you on the next steps and treatment options.

What are the common signs and symptoms of mood disorders?

Mood disorder symptoms can differ from person to person depending on the type of mood disorder and severity of symptoms they may have. 

However, the most common signs and symptoms of mood disorder generally include the following:

  • Pessimism
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Constant fatigue and low energy
  • Feeling empty and unfulfilled
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Feeling restless, edgy, and impatient
  • Poor concentration
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest in people and activities
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Unexplained physical aches and pains
  • Digestive problems
  • Suicidal thoughts, ideas, or suicide attempts

How are mood disorders treated?

Mood disorder treatment depends on an individual’s diagnosis and symptoms.

It’s essential that a medical specialist or mental health professional diagnoses a mood disorder.

Your physician or healthcare provider may conduct an assessment, which will involve taking your medical history and performing a physical exam to rule out physiological causes such as a thyroid problem or vitamin deficiency.

Mood disorders often respond well to an integrated treatment program that includes the following:

  • Medication such as antidepressants, mood stabilisers, and antipsychotics
  • Individual therapy 
  • Group therapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Lifestyle changes, including cultivating a more balanced, nutritious diet, increased exercise, and practising healthy sleeping habits

Mood disorder treatment at Centres for Health and Healing

Centres for Health and Healing offers a specialised treatment program for mood disorders or dual diagnosis tailored to each client’s personal needs and preferences. 

We adopt an integrated treatment approach incorporating various treatment modalities, including personalised therapy, holistic healing, and aftercare support.

With our strategic approach, mixed therapeutic methods, and staff with decades of knowledge and experience, Centres for Health and Healing provides the setting, resources, and tools necessary for deep transformational healing and complete recovery.

We are proud of the high success rate of our treatment programs at Centres for Health and Healing and are more than happy to provide any further information you may need.

Seeking professional help for a mood disorder is the first step to regaining a fulfilling, healthy, and happy life. 

Contact us today if you’d like a confidential and free chat with one of our highly-trained professionals at Centres for Health and Healing in Ontario, Canada.

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