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Teenager with mood disorder holding her face

Did you get sad after the birth of your first child and aren’t sure why? Are you struggling with the death of a parent? Do you find it difficult to get through long winter days? These could be signs of normal anxiety or something more serious, like depression. Fortunately, many symptoms of mood disorders can be treated.

WHAT ARE MOOD DISORDERS?

A mood disorder is a mental health class that health professionals use to broadly describe all types of depression and bipolar disorders.

“Children, teens, and adults can have mood disorders. However, children and teens don’t always have the same symptoms as adults. It’s harder to diagnose mood disorders in children because they aren’t always able to express how they feel.”

How are they treated? Medicine, therapy, self-care, and certain therapies can help soothe mood disorders.

TYPES OF MOOD DISORDERS

Based on a study by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, about 1 in 5 Americans suffer from a mental illness, including various mood disorders. To put that further in perspective, almost 21 million American adults who are 18 and older suffer from a mood disorder.

  • Postpartum depression (also known as peripartum depression) is a kind of depression that happens during pregnancy or following delivery
  • Persistent depressive disorder (also known as dysthymia) is a chronic kind of depression that can persist for two years or more, during which time the symptoms may occasionally see a reduction in severity.
  • Seasonal affective disorder. This is another kind of depression that some people try to cure with lamps that mimic natural light. It happens during certain seasons, typically beginning in late autumn or early winter and lingering through spring or summer. Less frequently, these depressive episodes may also start when it’s late spring or summer. Signs of winter seasonal affective disorder can mimic those resembling major depression but disappear or become less severe during warmer months.
  • Psychotic depression is a kind of severe depression paired with psychotic episodes, like seeing or hearing things that someone else doesn’t, or being subject to fixed but false beliefs. The episodes can be disturbing or unsettling and often feature a theme.
  • Depression that’s linked to an ailment, medication, or substance abuse.

CAUSES OF MOOD DISORDERS

There could be many underlying causes, depending on the kind of the illness. Different biological, genetic, environmental, and other influences have been linked to mood disorders. And anyone can be affected differently. 

Possible causes of mood disorders include any one or more of the following:

Family history

According to an Australian medical research institute, “bipolar disorder is the most likely psychiatric disorder to be passed down from family. If one parent has bipolar disorder, there’s a 10% chance that their child will develop the illness. If both parents have bipolar disorder, the likelihood of their child developing bipolar disorder rises to 40%.”

Previous diagnosis of a mood disorder could make you more predisposed to being diagnosed with the same or another mood disorder. 

Trauma, stress, or other life changes

According to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health, trauma, stress, and significant life changes can result in mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder. It may also trigger episodes of mania.

Physical illness or use of certain medications

Research has uncovered a link between mood disorders like depression and major diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Brain structure and function

This may be especially true in cases where a person has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. According to one study, links have been discovered between the “disturbances of emotional processing, cognitive performance, neurotransmission, autonomic regulation and neuroendocrine responses that are associated with mood disorders.”

The symptoms of mood disorders can be managed with psychotherapy or other treatment.

DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT

Mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder are serious illnesses. A medical doctor, psychiatrist, or another mental healthcare specialist often diagnoses such disorders with a physical examination and a thorough health account and psychiatric assessment. Different tests and diagnostic procedures may be used, like blood tests, industry-standard criteria, and health questionnaires. You may be asked about your personal and family history of mental illness and whether your doctor can speak with family and friends with your permission.

How are mood disorders treated?

Your healthcare provider may recommend psychotherapy, self-help, certain medications, or newer forms of treatment like ketamine infusion.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you suffer from depression, bipolar, or any other mood disorder, don’t despair. With time and care, most of the symptoms can be managed to allow you to live a productive life. But warning signs shouldn’t be ignored and could be indicators of a worse problem. Thankfully, they are treatable. Contact us today to learn more.

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