Mood Disorders and Young Adult Milestones

Graduating from high school or college is a time of great change. Transitioning from one milestone to the next can be exciting or anxiety inducing. For some young people, such a change in setting and responsibility can have a dramatic impact on the state of their mental health.

Mood Disorder


Mood disorders are one of the most common mental health problems experienced by young adults. According to Jerry Halverson, M.D., one in 10 people are affected by a mood disorder. The problem presents itself dramatically when young adults’ life transitions change their routines, inducing feelings of anxiety that can lead to impaired performance or risk-taking behaviors.

Medical science recognizes different types of mood disorders but offers no known method of prevention. The risk for development increases when one or more persons in a family are diagnosed as having a mood disorder. The common types of mood disorders include the following:

  • Major depression. A period of depression lasting two or more weeks. May include a loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities.
  • Bipolar disorder. Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is a state of depression coupled with a state of elevated mood.
  • Dysthymic disorder. A low-grade depressive state that lasts more than two years.
  • Medically related mood disorder. Depression caused by a medical illness.
  • Substance related mood disorder. Depression caused by medications, drug abuse, or toxin exposure.

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Symptoms of a Mood Disorder


Certain mood disorder symptoms may look like exaggerations of the teenage lifestyle. It may be easy to miss the need for mood disorder treatment in young adults because low-self esteem, sleep disturbances, and difficulties with relationships are possible indications. There are many mood disorder symptoms, but treatment will most certainly help in cases involving the following:

  • Hostility or aggression
  • Hypersensitivity to failure or rejection
  • Running away or threats of leaving home
  • Suicidal thoughts or threats
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feelings of guilt or inadequacy
  • Persistent state of feeling helpless, hopeless, or sad

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Mood disorders are a real medical problem, and therapy is readily available. Young adult mood disorder treatments are determined on an individual basis by a psychiatrist or mental health professional. Following a mental health evaluation, young adult mood disorder treatments and general mood disorder treatments are based on the following factors:

  • Age of patient
  • Health of patient
  • Medical history
  • Severity of condition
  • Type of mood disorder
  • Tolerance for medications
  • Response to therapy
  • Individual preferences, opinions, and expectations

Young adult mood disorder treatment may involve both medication and therapy. Individual cognitive-behavioral therapy or family therapy may be used in combination with medication. Changes in therapy may be recommended at any time by the therapist when treating mood disorders.

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Get Help


Young adults and older adults are not immune from mood disorders and without treatment, a person’s quality of life may suffer. Whether for yourself or your child, help is available. The Bridges to Recovery team is ready to work with you and provide the best mood disorder treatment available. Contact us today to talk about your challenges and expectations, and get on the road to recovery!