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Mood Disorders

posted by: The Owner in Mood Disorders


Mood disorders are mental conditions that play with a person’s mood. The two most known disorders are major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder, but these aren’t the only ones. There are many versions of depression and bipolar, less intense and harder to diagnose. What they all have in common though are persistent moods and changes in mood.
If you usually feel low, pessimistic, withdrawn, having trouble sleeping or eating right or if you feel “kind of” depressed and after a few days you feel very capable and almost manic, you could experience a less severe form of major depression or bipolar disorder. In all mood disorder, people have a hard time feeling neutral or normal. They either feel low or too elated. They find it hard to feel stable, calm and equilibrated. These moods and mood shifts cause damage in person’s life and make them feel unhappy.
Mood disorders are more spread out that you might originally think. Many people, across the globe, struggle with these problems. Unfortunately, most often they struggle in silence and isolation. There are cases of people who manage to find a familial and social support as well as speak out and spread awareness about these problems. Spreading awareness helps those in isolation feel like their problems are not as unique as they might have thought.
Dual diagnoses in these cases are not a rare thing. People with bipolar disorder, major depression, dysthymia, cyclothymia and all the rest of the mood disorders usually also suffer from anxiety disorders and even maybe addictions. This is because managing their emotions is also a hard task. With proper treatment, this skill can be learned and the conditions can be dealt with better.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V talks about these mood disorders:
Depressive disorders
• Major depressive disorder
• Atypical depression
• Melancholic depression
• Psychotic major depression
• Catatonic depression
• Postpartum depression
• Seasonal affective disorder
• Dysthymia

Bipolar disorders
• Bipolar disorder
• Bipolar I
• Bipolar II
• Cyclothymia

Let’s take a look at four of the most common mood disorders. Major depressive disorder and its less severe brother – Dysthimia, as well as Bipolar disorder and its less severe sister – Cyclothymia.
Major depressive disorder
If you have major depression you are probably feeling miserable. This mental disorder causes symptoms such as constant low or anxious feelings; trouble sleeping alright – either too much or too little sleep and waking up in the middle of the night; eating too little or not eating enough; low energy; lack of enjoyment for past pleasures; finding it hard to focus; finding it hard to make decisions; persistent hard feelings of guilt, hopelessness and worthlessness; suicidal ideation
Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is a mixture of depressive symptoms and manic symptoms. Everything a person diagnosed with major depressive disorder feels, a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder feels as well. The same feelings of hopelessness, guilt, lack of enjoyment and sleeping/eating problems are present. However, after a period they are replaced by totally opposite feelings: elation, high mood, optimism, too much confidence in one’s strengths and powers; lack of sleep or need to sleep – these part of the manic episode. Bipolar disorder is characterized by these two episodes: depressive episode and manic episode.
Dysthymia
As we’ve mentioned before, Dysthymia is Major Depression’s little brother. This disorder is very much like major depression, only its symptoms are not so intense and severe but usually lasts longer. It is a much milder form of depression, yet quite unsatisfying. Most of the times, it even goes undiagnosed. Since there are no episode of major depression, the person suffering from it might not even be aware they suffer from a condition. They might simply think – “This is the way I have felt for most of my life”.
Symptoms of Dysthymia include: lack of energy or drive, low self-esteem and problems in finding joy in everyday things. People with dysthymia are usually withdrawn about their low feelings and even mask them when together with friends or family.
Cyclothimia
Have you heard of this disorder before? It’s a less severe form of bipolar disorder. It presents the same type of symptoms as in bipolar disorder: a shift between depressive symptoms and manic symptoms. Which means emotional ups and down but Cyclothimia, however, never causes depressive episodes or manic episodes. The symptoms never get as bad as that.
When it comes to this condition, the symptoms are these: Hypomanic symptoms such as overly happy, unreasonably optimism, too good of a self-image, risky behavior, irritation, lack of need for sleep, having a hard time focusing etc. Depressive symptoms such as feeling terribly low, feeling like you are about to cry all of the time, eating and sleeping problems, not being able to stand still, having a hard time focusing and suicidal thoughts.
Treatment
Treatment involves medication, psychotherapy and complementary therapies and actions.
Medication
Usually major depression and bipolar disorder are treated with medication prescribed by a psychiatrist, alongside psychotherapy. The other less severe disorders don’t always need medication, only in some cases. With these two more severe ones antidepressants and mood stabilizers are mostly used. Lithium is one of the most used prescription drug in treating Bipolar disorder. As for major depression, SSRI’s, SNRIs, NDRIs, atypical antidepressants and tricyclic antidepressants are the available options. Your doctor will find the perfect fit for you.
Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy comes in the aid of the medication in the case of major depression and bipolar disorder. It can also be a single tool, without any medication being used. Usually a combination of the two works best. Psychotherapy (talk therapy) involves seeing a therapist regularly where you will talk about your symptoms, life, and ways to manage your feelings, behaviors and mental disorder. Here you will find better ways to run your life and handle your mental illness, in some cases especially the less severe mood disorders cure them completely.
Complementary therapies and actions
Changing your lifestyle can help you just as much as medication and psychotherapy can. However, only changes in your life might not be enough. If you are in treatment for a mental illness, think about starting a low impact sport such as swimming, which does not only pump your blood but also relaxes you. Consider picking up a hobby such as photography, sewing, crafting hand-made objects, playing an instrument or dancing. Find a yoga & mediation therapist, art therapist or equine therapist which will help you process your emotions in healthier ways. It might feel hard to do, but these can all help you improve your mood and help your treatment.

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