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What Are Mood Disorders?

What Are Mood Disorders?

If you have extreme mood swings, bouts of sadness, low energy, or other ailments, you may be experiencing the first sign of a mood disorder. You’re not alone. Nearly 10% of American adults have symptoms of mood disorders every year. Fortunately, treatment is available.

Types of Mood Disorders

Many kinds of mood disorders may be treatable with ketamine therapy, but you and your healthcare provider must first agree on what you’re dealing with. Common types of mood disorders include:

  • Postpartum depression happens during pregnancy or following delivery.
  • Dysthymia is a long-term type of depression that can last for two or more years. If you have this condition, it may seem like the symptoms aren’t that bad occasionally.
  • Seasonal affective disorder is a kind of depression most common during certain seasons when there are fewer hours of sunlight. It usually begins in late fall or early winter, lasting until spring or summer. Occasionally, you may have symptoms during the late spring or summer, and they could be like what you’d experience with major depression. In most cases, they disappear or subside during spring and summer.
  • Psychotic depression is a kind of severe depression paired with psychotic episodes, like hallucinations or delusions. The instances can be upsetting or worrying and often carry a theme.
  •  Depression is linked to a medical condition, certain medicines, or substance abuse.

Bipolar depression also is a mood disorder and has four sub-types to be aware of:

  • Bipolar I the most severe form, with manic episodes stretching for at least seven days and sometimes requiring hospitalization.
  • Bipolar II disorder causes cyclical depression, like bipolar I. Someone with this ailment also experiences hypomania, a less severe kind of mania.
  • Cyclothymia is often regarded as a milder version of bipolar disorder. If you have cyclothymia, it’s not unusual to have nonstop irregular mood swings, fluctuating from mild to modest emotional highs to mild to modest “lows” for long periods of time.
  • Other or unspecified kinds of bipolar disorder.

Ketamine therapy and other forms of treatment may reduce symptoms of mood disorders, so ask your healthcare provider for more information.

How to Spot a Mood Disorder

If you experience a mood disorder, your overall emotional comportment or mood is one-sided or inconsistent with what’s happening and can restrict your means to function. You could have extreme sadness, empty moods, or be depressed, or your instances of depression may rotate with being extremely happy. It’s important to understand that mood disorders present a higher risk of suicide. It’s not unusual for some people to experience anxiety disorders simultaneously, which can harm your mood the same as depression. 

Symptoms may include:

  • You feel hopeless or helpless
  • You have low self-esteem
  • Feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness
  • Extreme guilt
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, wanting to die, or trying to take your life
  • You’re no longer interested in things you used to find enjoyable
  • You experience relationship difficulties
  • Sleep problems
  • Problems with appetite and weight loss or gain
  • Low energy
  • Problems focusing
  • Problems with decision making
  • You often complain about physical aches or pains like headaches, stomachaches, or general tiredness, which never improve with treatment
  • You’ve run away or threatened to run away from home
  • You’re overly sensitive to failing or being rejected
  • Irritability, hostility, or aggression

Causes and risk factors

No one knows for certain the cause of a mood disorder, but it could be something specific based on what you’re experiencing – genetic, biological, environmental, or something else entirely.

What are the risk factors?

  • Your family history
  • You were diagnosed before with a mood disorder
  • Trauma, stressors, or chaotic life changes could trigger depression
  • You take certain medicines or have a physical illness or major diseases, like cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, or heart disease
  • The physical structure of your brain and how it functions, especially related to bipolar disorder

Diagnosis & Treatment

Treating a mood disorder or other mental illness is possible, but it depends on the diagnosis, which includes:

  • A thorough physical examination to see if there’s an underlying medical cause for your symptoms.
  • A mental health assessment to determine if your thoughts, emotions, or behavior are triggers and whether you or a family member has a history of mental illness.
  • Comparing symptoms to criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for mood disorders.

Symptoms of a mood disorder can be successfully treated with psychotherapy, self-help, diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, or ketamine.