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.
These are the most common types of mood disorders:
Major depression. Having less interest in usual activities, feeling sad or hopeless, and other symptoms for at least 2 weeks may indicate depression.
Dysthymia. This is a chronic, low-grade, depressed, or irritable mood that lasts for at least 2 years.
Bipolar disorder. This is a condition in which a person has periods of depression alternating with periods of mania or elevated mood.
Mood disorder related to another health condition. Many medical illnesses (including cancer, injuries, infections, and chronic illnesses) can trigger symptoms of depression.
Substance-induced mood disorder. Symptoms of depression that are due to the effects of medicine, drug abuse, alcoholism, exposure to toxins, or other forms of treatment.
Mood disorders are treated primarily through medications and psychotherapy. Even with treatment, it is not uncommon for mood disorders to persist throughout a lifetime or to come and go on occasion. Education about mood disorders help individuals suffering from these conditions recognize patterns of behavior and thought that are indicative of a mood disorder resurfacing – and prompt them to seek additional treatment.
Typically, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are prescribed to individuals coping with mood disorders to alleviate emotional distress. Dr. Mapatwana recommends the use of medications in combination with psychotherapy as the best treatment plan for mood disorders.
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is focused on changing thought patterns and behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy is often considered the benchmark therapy treatment for individuals living with mood disorders. It has been found to have significant positive treatment effects, and in some cases, psychotherapy alone is enough to treat a mood disorder.
Some mood disorders, such as bipolar depression, are usually treated with lifelong medication of mood stabilizers combined with psychotherapy. In addition, the severity of some mood disorders may cause hospitalization, especially if the affected individuals has tried to inflict harm on themselves or others or have thoughts or attempted suicide.