Psychiatry: What Is a Mood Disorder?

Mood Disorder Massapequa, NY

Just about everybody will feel sad or depressed at one point or another in their lifetime, but for those with a mood disorder, those feelings of sadness are more intense and difficult to manage. In the psychiatric world, a mood disorder is a form of depression or bipolar disorder. Most are typically characterized by intense and prolonged periods of sadness, extreme mood swings and feelings of helplessness.

Mood disorder symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Mood disorders present themselves differently in every individual, so there exists no one-size-fits-all checklist for symptoms. However, there are common symptoms of mood disorders for which individuals should be on the lookout:  

  • Prolonged feelings of sadness or anxiety
  • Feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Relationship issues
  • Decreased or increased appetite or weight
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Lack of sex drive or interest in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Irritability, aggression or hostility
  • Repeated thoughts of suicide or death

The symptoms of a mood disorder may mimic those of other mental health conditions. For this reason, a person should undergo psychiatric therapy to get an accurate diagnosis. A psychiatrist can typically diagnose a mood disorder via a review of a person's medical history and a thorough psychiatric evaluation.

Upon forming a diagnosis, the mental health professional can prescribe treatment. Most mood disorders can be successfully treated with psychotherapy, antidepressants, family therapy and other forms of therapy. Many patients experience the most success with a combination of psychotherapy and mood stabilizing medications.

The different types of mood disorders

Not all mood disorders are created equal. Below are some of the most common types of mood disorders and what each entails.

Major depressive disorder

Major depressive disorder is characterized by prolonged and chronic periods of extreme sadness. Individuals who live with this type of mood disorder demonstrate a decreased interest in activities once enjoyed along with other depression symptoms.

Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)

A person with dysthymia may live with chronic depression. This type of depression is considered "low-grade" and is typically characterized by irritability and bouts of sadness that last for two years or more.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme ups and downs. A person with this type of mood disorder may go through periods of mania followed by episodes of depression. Mental professionals refer to the less extreme form of bipolar disorder as cyclothymic disorder.

Seasonal affective disorder

As its name suggests, SAD is a form of depression often associated with the seasons. Many people experience symptoms of SAD when the days get shorter.

Substance-induced mood disorder

Individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol often experience symptoms of depression during or soon after using an intoxicating substance. Many people refer to these feelings of depression as "withdrawal," but prolonged substance abuse can perpetuate a chronic mood disorder.

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder

This type of disorder commonly affects children. It is generally characterized by outbursts and temper tantrums that are inconsistent with the child's developmental age.

Conclusion

Mood disorders are nothing to be ashamed of. However, because they are often disruptive, individuals should seek an accurate diagnosis and treatment as soon as they suspect something is amiss.

Request an appointment here: https://www.evolvepsychiatry.com or call Evolve Psychiatry at (631) 773-1096 for an appointment in our Massapequa office.

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