What are mood disorders? Mood disorders, or affective disorders, are mental health conditions that are characterized by an impact on mood and the responsibilities in the brain that affect mood regulation. It’s a general term that encompasses a number of mental health conditions including both depressive disorders and bipolar disorders, which all have defining symptoms of mood mismanagement. Basically, every mood disorder is characterized by extreme shifts in mood. So, if you experience a range in mood from depressed to manic, you may be struggling with a mood disorder. Fortunately, recognizing the signs of mood disorders and why they may develop can help people living with these disorders understand that there is help available to them. And, begin on the path toward treatment which can help to regulate mood and manage debilitating symptoms of these conditions.
Depressive disorders are mental health conditions defined by experiencing symptoms of depression (sadness, hopelessness, despair, etc.) for certain periods of time. Some of these disorders include:
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): This is the type of depression most people think about when they picture depressive disorders. It’s characterized by experiencing symptoms of depression for two weeks or longer. In many cases, MDD develops after experiencing trauma. But, rather than depressive disorders subsiding as time goes on, they continue.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): This depressive disorder is when a person experiences depression during certain times of the year. For example, during the winter months.
Postpartum Depression (PPD): This type of depressive disorder occurs after a woman gives birth or after pregnancy loss.
Another set of mood disorders are bipolar disorders. Symptoms that characterize these disorders are ranges in mood that include both depressive and manic episodes. Depressive episodes are comparable to those that people with depressive episodes experience. Manic episodes include feelings of euphoria, sleeplessness, creativity, and irritability.
Bipolar I: This is the most severe type of depression and involves manic episodes that can last a week or longer. Depressive episodes for people with Bipolar I can follow manic episodes, but symptoms of both can also be present simultaneously.
Bipolar II: This type of bipolar disorder is less severe than Bipolar I as manic episodes don’t last as long or may not require hospitalization as manic episodes for people with Bipolar I might.
Cyclothymia: This is the least severe form of bipolar disorder. People diagnosed with this condition experience severe shifts in mood that are unprovoked and sudden. Furthermore, those diagnosed with this condition can have periods of normal mood in between manic or depressive episodes.
There are many things that contribute to the development of mood disorders including:
As there are several mood disorders, signs and symptoms may differ from person to person. However, there are some general signs and symptoms to look out for including:
Now that you know the answer to the question, “what are mood disorders?”, you have better preparation in order to identify whether or not you or a loved one may be living with one of these conditions. Fortunately, help is available. Delray Integrative Medicine offers outpatient treatment options for people living with mood disorders who want to establish healthy lifestyles.