Mood disorders affect nearly ten percent of the population of the United States, and close to half of these cases are classified as severe. Researchers are working hard to find ways to give the men, women and children suffering from these conditions some relief from their symptoms, but only half of the people with a mood disorder are currently undergoing treatment for their psychological condition. The illnesses seem to strike women at twice the rate of men, and researchers have found evidence of a strong genetic link, since mood disorders often appear in more than one member of the same family.
What is a Mood Disorder?
Mood disorders, sometimes referred to as affective disorders, have been recognized by the medical community as serious psychological illnesses in need of treatment since the early 1980’s. Unlike the varying emotions that everyone feels in reaction to tragic life situations, mood disorders cause sufferers to have lingering emotional difficulties that often impact all aspects of their lives. Depression and Bipolar Disorder are two of the most commonly diagnosed Mood Disorders.
What are the Symptoms of a Mood Disorder?
Mood Disorders affect people in a variety of different ways depending on their age, gender, and diagnoses. The following are some of the symptoms most commonly reported by those suffering from these problematic illnesses:
- Feelings of sadness that do not abate when the triggering incident has resolved
- Persistent feelings of being without hope or helpless to change the situation
- Thoughts of guilt, inadequacy, or low self-worth
- Disturbances in normal sleeping patterns
- Extreme appetite changes or rapid weight loss or gain
- Unusual tiredness and inability to focus
- Physical complaints, such as headaches, fatigue, or stomach pain
- Trouble maintaining healthy relationships
- Unprovoked episodes of anger or hostility
- Difficulty making choices or decisions
- Constant feelings of being rejected or of having failed
- Lack of desire to participate in activities that were once pleasurable
- Withdrawing or running away from friends or family
- Contemplation of suicide or actual suicidal attempts
While most people experience fluctuating moods from time to time, those with Mood Disorders seem to have more intense emotional highs and lows, lasting for prolonged periods of time.
What are the Causes of a Mood Disorder?
Researchers have decided that two major factors play a role in the development of a Mood Disorder. An imbalance of the brain chemicals associated with positive moods has been found in the majority of people who experience the symptoms of this illness. Researchers have also found a strong familial link and now think that many people are genetically predisposed to developing certain Mood Disorders. These factors can be influenced by a stressful triggering event or by fluctuating hormones that can result in the onset of a Mood Disorder.
Subtypes of Mood Disorders
Two of the most common subtypes of mood disorders are major Depression and Bipolar Disorder.
Major depression is diagnosed when symptoms of sadness or irritability and loss of pleasure in normal activities show no signs of abating after a period of two weeks. At least four of the other symptoms of a Mood Disorder must be present as well, and the symptoms should not be related to grieving or substance abuse.
Bipolar Disorder, sometimes labeled Manic Depressive Disorder, is a subtype of Mood Disorder in which the sufferer swings rapidly from a state of deep depression to a state of mania or euphoria.
Treatment Options for Mood Disorders
Doctors can successfully help patients cope with the symptoms of their mood disorders, but no single cure for these illnesses has yet been discovered. Some of the tools for treatment that are used by medical professionals, either independently or in some combination, include the following:
- Psychodynamic therapy to help with relational problems, determine stressors, and change the negative ways that patients view themselves and their environment
- Family therapy to find underlying problems and strengthen the support system
- Antidepressant drugs to ease symptoms
- Alternative therapies such as exercise programs, yoga, nutritional advice, or acupuncture to help patients developing coping strategies
- Short or long-term in-patient treatment
Mood Disorders FAQ
Learning as much as possible about their mood disorders can help patients and their families feel more control over these illnesses. The following are common questions that often arise during a first consultation:
How long does it take to get over a Mood Disorder?
While a Mood Disorder is a lifetime condition for most people, many begin to find symptom relief very quickly after treatment begins. The road to good psychological health is a process, and patients should know that treatment can sometimes takes months. Most patients see gradual improvement when they follow their personal treatment plan.
Is there a way to prevent someone from developing a Mood Disorder?
At this time, the best hope is early detection of symptoms and appropriate intervention to keep the symptoms from escalating and causing the patient greater stress. A strong familial support system may also help patients to recognize the severity of their problems and seek help before relationships begin to deteriorate.
How will the doctor decide on appropriate treatments?
Doctors will take into account several factors before developing a treatment plan for Mood Disorder patients. They will consider their patients’ ages and genders, as well as the state of their current physical health. They will also factor in any previous adverse reactions to medication and the severity and type of mood disorder being exhibited. Doctors may also prescribe various treatments based on the strength of a patient’s support system and the help that may be available.
Why Bridges to Recovery for Mood Disorder Residential Treatment
Patients with Mood Disorders are searching for a beautiful, tranquil facility with knowledgeable physicians, psychologists and trained staff who understand their battle against this illness that has taken over their lives. Bridges to Recovery provides the perfect environment for their recovery. The compassionate doctors and staff at these top-of-the-line residential treatment centers have the experience and expertise to help patients find ways to cope with their feelings and begin to move forward in their lives.