Mood disorders are mental health conditions that cause people to feel extreme, ongoing emotions that can affect their everyday life. There are a few different types of mood disorders, but all of them cause people to feel things like sadness, anxiety, or irritability more than is typical for them. Mood disorders can make it hard for people to go to work or school, take care of themselves, and interact with other people. They can also be very distressing and difficult to live with. If you think you might have a mood disorder, it’s important to talk to a doctor or mental health professional. They can help you figure out what’s going on and get the treatment you need.
Mood disorders are common in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 18.8 million American adults live with some form of mood disorder.￼￼￼￼
The types of mood disorders
There are a variety of mood disorders that can affect people. The most common mood disorders are depression and bipolar disorder, but there are also other types of mood disorders that can occur. Some of the other types of mood disorders include:
dysthymia- a chronic, low-level depression
major depressive disorder- a more severe form of depression
psychotic depression- a form of depression that includes psychosis, or delusions and hallucinations
cyclothymia- a form of bipolar disorder where the person experiences mild mania and hypomania episodes along with periods of depression
bipolar I disorder- a type of bipolar disorder where the person has at least one manic episode
bipolar II disorder- a type of bipolar disorder where the person has at least one hypomanic episode and at least one depressive episode
mixed bipolar disorder- a type of bipolar disorder where the person experiences both manic and depressed episodes simultaneously
rapid cycling bipolar disorder- a type of bipolar disorder where the person experiences four or more episodes of mania, hypomania, or depression within a 12 month period.
Some of the Rare Mood Disorders
There are also some rarer mood disorders that can occur, such as:
seasonal affective disorder (SAD)- a type of depression that occurs during certain seasons, most commonly winter
premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)- a type of depression that occurs before menstruation
catatonic disorder- a type of mental illness where the person is in a state of stupor or extreme apathy
psychotic disorder not otherwise specified (NOS)- a type of mental illness that includes psychosis but does not fit into any other category.
borderline personality disorder- a personality disorder that involves unstable moods, relationships, and self-image.
dependent personality disorder- a personality disorder where the person is excessively needy and relies on others for support.
The symptoms of mood disorders
The symptoms of mood disorders can vary depending on the type. However, common symptoms include:
Persistent feelings of sadness or irritability
Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
Changes in appetite or weight
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
Thoughts of death or suicide￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
To diagnose mood disorders
Mood disorders can be difficult to diagnose, as they can resemble other mental health conditions or physical health problems. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to diagnosis, but your doctor will likely ask you a series of questions about your symptoms and medical history. He or she may also perform a physical exam and order lab tests to rule out other causes of your mood changes.
If your doctor suspects that you have a mood disorder, he or she may refer you to a mental health specialist for further evaluation. Specialists who may be involved in diagnosing mood disorders include psychiatrists, psychologists, and clinical social workers. Mood disorder diagnosis may involve taking a detailed history of your symptoms, completing psychological testing, and using rating scales to assess your mood.
Treatment of mood disorders
The treatment for mood disorders depends on the type. However, common treatments include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Medication may be prescribed to help regulate the patient’s mood. Therapy can help patients understand and manage their condition. And lifestyle changes, such as exercise and stress management, can help improve the patient’s mood.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
The long-term effects of mood disorders
Mood disorders can have a number of long-term effects. For example, mood disorders can lead to substance abuse, problems at work or school, and strained relationships. Additionally, mood disorders can increase the risk of suicide.￼￼￼￼￼
If you think you may have a mood disorder, it’s important to seek professional help. Treatment can help improve your symptoms and prevent the condition from getting worse.￼￼￼