Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are psychological disorders that are characterized by emotional disturbances. Or in simpler terms, if you have a mood disorder your regular emotional state/mood is distorted or inconsistent with your current life situations. Major depression, dysthymia (also known as persistent depressive disorder), bipolar disorder, substance-induced mood disorder, and mood disorders related to another health condition are the most common types of mood disorders. Mood disorders can be successfully treated with medications and psychotherapy.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Major Depressive Disorder is commonly and simply known as depression. People who are depressive have behavioral/cognitive changes and feel extremely trapped, inactive, and unmotivated which come in periods/episodes. All of these disappear at the end of a depressive episode. After a single Major Depressive Disorder episode, it would be diagnosed as a single episode of MDD. After more than one episode, the diagnosis then becomes Major Depressive Disorder (Recurrent). Individuals with a major depressive episode or major depressive disorder are at increased risk for suicide. Seeking help and treatment from a health professional dramatically reduces the individual's risk for suicide. Studies have demonstrated that asking if a depressed friend or family member has thought of committing suicide is an effective way of identifying those at risk, and it does not "plant" the idea or increase an individual's risk for suicide in any way. Epidemiological studies carried out in Europe suggest that, at this moment, roughly 8.5 percent of the world's population are suffering from a depressive disorder. No age group seems to be exempt from depression, and studies have found that depression appears in infants as young as 6 months old who have been separated from their mothers. Women suffer double the risk of major depression than men. This is because women's disorders tend to lead to vulnerability, where as men's disorders tend to be more external and involve substance abuse.


Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder include:
  • Sad mood for most of the day
  • Significant weight loss/gain without dieting
  • Significant increase/decrease in appetite
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Loss of energy/fatigue
  • Feeling worthless

Dysthymic disorder

Dysthymic disorder is a long-term form of depression. The exact cause of dysthymia is not known but it may involve more than one cause such as biological differences, brain chemistry, inherited traits, and life events. Dysthymia occurs more often in women than in men. Many people with dysthymia have a long-term medical problem or problems such as anxiety, alcohol abuse, or drug addiction. Also most people with dysthymia will have an episode of major depression at some point in their lives. Dysthymia in the elderly is often associated with difficulty caring for oneself, isolation, or medical illness. And in children, they may be irritable and have a depressed mood.


  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Too little or too much sleep
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Poor concentration

The baby blues

You’ve just had a baby. You expected to be basking in new mom bliss. You expected to be celebrating the arrival of your little one with your friends and family. But instead of celebrating, you feel like crying. You were prepared for joy and excitement, not exhaustion, anxiety, and weepiness.
You may not have been expecting it, but mild depression and mood swings are common in new mothers—so common, in fact, that it has its own name: the baby blues.
The vast majority of new mothers experience at least some symptoms of the baby blues, including moodiness, sadness, difficulty sleeping, irritability, appetite changes, concentration problems. Symptoms of the baby blues typically show up within a few days of giving birth and last from several days to a couple of weeks.

Postpartum depression

Unlike the baby blues, postpartum depression is a more serious problem—one that you shouldn’t ignore. However, it’s not always easy to distinguish between the two.
In the beginning, postpartum depression can look like the normal baby blues. In fact, postpartum depression and the baby blues share many symptoms, including mood swings, crying jags, sadness, insomnia, and irritability. The difference is that with postpartum depression, the symptoms are more severe (such as suicidal thoughts or an inability to care for your newborn) and longer lasting

Do you have an increased risk for postpartum?

People with the following symptoms have an increased risk of developing postpartum depression.
  • History of postpartum in your family
  • Poor support from your family and friends
  • High stress (financial problems, family problems, etc.)
  • Physical limitations
  • Depression during pregnancy
  • Previous depression
  • Have bipolar disorder
  • Previous battles with premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Children, youth and depression

Mental illnesses like depression can be experienced in children and teens. It can be difficult for adults to understand their problems when they view it from an adults' perspective; but it can be hard and overwhelming for children growing up and its important that depression in children and youth is taken seriously.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

known as "winter depression" or "winter blues", is a specifier. Some people have a seasonal pattern, with depressive episodes coming on in the autumn or winter, and resolving in spring. The diagnosis is made if at least two episodes have occurred in colder months with none at other times over a two-year period or longer. It is commonly hypothesised that people who live at higher latitudes tend to have less sunlight exposure in the winter and therefore experience higher rates of SAD, but the epidemiological support for this proposition is not strong (and latitude is not the only determinant of the amount of sunlight reaching the eyes in winter). SAD is also more prevalent in people who are younger and typically affects more females than males.


Bipolar mood disorder is another name for manic depressive illness, or manic depression, all three are the same. Their is two stages a person goes through with this illness; depressed or sad, and mania or overactivity.This disease is called bipolar disorder because the mood swings a person with bipolar disorder have can alternate between two completely opposite poles, extreme happiness, and supreme sadness. It's a psychiatric illness that causes major disruptions in lifestyle and health.When people experience symptoms of both a manic and a depressive episode at the same time, they're said to be experiencing a mixed state (or mixed mania). They have all of the negative feelings that come with depression, but they also feel agitated, restless and activated, or “wired.” Those who have had a mixed state often describe it as the very worst part of bipolar disorder It is not a character flaw or a sign of personal weakness.

This disorder causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior–from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other. More than just a fleeting good or bad mood, the cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks, or months. And unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of bipolar disorder are so intense that they interfere with your ability to function.

Bipolar disorder can look very different in different people. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others experience only a few over a lifetime!

A Celebrity's Story

Demi Lovato an actress and singer found out she has the bipolar disorder. She was in treatment when she found this out. Previously Demi self-medicated and coped with bad decisions developing an eating disorder, depression, and self-harm. When Demi found out what she was dealing with she sought out help from family, friends, and health professionals. After treatment Demi says “Now I live well with bipolar disorder,”.

Robin Williams committed suicide in August 11, 2014 due to bipolar disorder. Suicide is a common symptom of severe, clinical depression. When properly treated, the feeling of suicide often go away as the depression lifts. But even under treatment, sometimes people choose to take their own life.

Fact: The suicide rate for people with bipolar is 15%


The illness tends to run in families and appears to have a genetic link. Like depression and other serious illnesses, bipolar disorder can also negatively affect spouses and partners, family members, friends, and coworkers.Bipolar disorder may result from a chemical imbalance within the brain. The brain's functions are controlled by chemicals called neurotransmitters. An imbalance in the levels of one of these neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, may cause bipolar disorder. When levels of this chemical are too high, mania occurs. When levels of norepinephrine drop below normal levels, a person may experience depression. Levels of other neurotransmitters, such as and dopamine and serotonin are also believed to play a role.
There is a significant genetic component to bipolar disorder. If a family member has bipolar disorder, other family members may be at risk. However, stress of some kind often is needed to trigger the onset of the disease. The disease does not occur just because of one gene, and the cause of the disease is likely a combination of multiple genetic and environmental factors.Sometimes a period of emotional stress, drug use, an illness, or another event seems to trigger the onset of the disease. Stresses can also trigger a manic or depressive episode in people who are known to have the condition. Symptoms may emerge gradually or suddenly during childhood, adolescence, or adulthood.
The causes of bipolar disorder aren’t completely understood, execpt for the fact that it often runs in families. The symptoms can be subtle and confusing; so many people with bipolar disorder are overlooked or misdiagnosed–resulting in unnecessary suffering. But with proper treatment and support, you can lead a rich and fulfilling liveability to function.

The disorder can look very different in different people. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others experience only a few over a lifetime!

The best way to treat this disease is to talk to your family or local doctor. I am bipolar and I got prescribed Risperidone. It restores the chemicals in your brain to help you with your normal everyday lifestyle. You do not have to take prescribed drugs, their is a few ways to help treat the disease. But everyone is different so it's best to just see a doctor.

Substance induced mood disorders

A mood disorder can be classified as substance-induced if its etiology (the cause or origin of a disease) can be traced to the direct physiologic effects of a psychoactive drug or other chemical substance, or if the development of the mood disorder occurred contemporaneously with substance intoxication or withdrawal. Also, an individual may have a mood disorder coexisting with a substance abuse disorder. Substance-induced mood disorders can have features of a manic, hypomanic, mixed, or depressive episode. Most substances can induce a variety of mood disorders. For example, stimulants such as amphetamine, methamphetamine, and cocaine can cause manic, hypomanic, mixed, and depressive episodes.


Depression is the "low" mood of bipolar disorder. Symptoms of derpression can include:
  • Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
  • Pessimism, indifference
  • Loss of energy, persistent lethargy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
  • Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness
  • Inability to take pleasure in former interests, social withdrawal
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

Risks and causes of Depression

Life problems can trigger depression, like being fired from a job, getting divorced, or losing a loved one. Such events can cause stress and can be troublesome is coping with depression.
The risk of depression in women is nearly twice as high as it is for men. When a family member has the diagnosis, their brother, sister, or children have a higher chance of the same diagnosis. Relatives of people with depression are at increased risk of bipolar disorder.


Mania is the "high" in the mood of bipolar disorder. Symptoms of mania can include:

  • Heightened mood, exaggerated optimism and self-confidence
  • Excessive irritability, aggressive behavior
  • Decreased need for sleep without experiencing fatigue
  • Grandiose thoughts, inflated sense of self-importance
  • Racing speech, racing thoughts, flight of ideas
  • Impulsiveness, poor judgment, easily distracted
  • Reckless behavior
  • In the most severe cases, delusions and hallucinations

People experiencing a manic episode often talk a mile a minute, sleep very little, and are hyperactive. They may also feel like they’re all-powerful, invincible, or destined for greatness.
But while mania feels good at first, it has a tendency to spiral out of control. People often behave recklessly during a manic episode: gambling away savings, engaging in inappropriate sexual activity, or making foolish business investments, for example. They may also become angry, irritable, and aggressive–picking fights, lashing out when others don’t go along with their plans, and blaming anyone who criticizes their behavior. Some people even become delusional or start hearing voices.

  • Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic OR extremely irritable
  • Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
  • Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
  • Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
  • Racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
  • Highly distractible, unable to concentrate
  • Impaired judgment and impulsiveness
  • Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
  • Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)

Therapies for mood disorders

Depending on ones specific case, doctors may use strategies like:

- psychotherapy
- antidepressant drugs
- family therapy
- holistic lifestyle programs

the goal is to help with underlying mental issues, brain chemistry and find ways to alleviate stress daily.

IF YOU NEED HELP CALL 1-888-997-3147

It’s important to talk about these things
There are more people battling with these mood disorders than we are aware. People affected by these mood disorders are afraid to tell and they think they are too different. We need to be freer to talk about it in our society so that they realize that it’s ok for them to admit they feel the way they do. If they do realize it’s ok then they might seek help and life could change for them in a positive way.

What to Say to Someone With a Mood Disorder

You are not alone (let them know you are there for them).
I may not exactly understand how you feel, but i care about you and want to help.
Whenever you want to give up, tell yourself to hold on for just another hour or minute.
We will get through this together.

Postpartum Psychosis (PPP): This is the most severe of all of the PPD and has a prevalence of about 1 or 2 in a thousand births. The symptoms may be similar to postpartum depression (severe insomnia, anxiety and agitation, suicidal and homicidal thoughts, bizarre feelings and behaviors), except that the person experiences psychotic episodes. These may include auditory hallucinations. For example, you or your family member may hear voices when no else one is there. Sometimes the voices are derogatory or command the mother to hurt herself or her baby. The mother may also have delusional beliefs, which are fixed ideas that are not true and are inconsistent with reality. Typically these are of a religious type. For example, the mother may think child is possessed, or the devil or Christ. The onset for PPP is usually within three months after birth. Infanticide, although rare, is most common with this type of psychosis. Treatment for PPP typically invloves anti-psychotic medications. A commonly used anti-psychotic medications is Zyprexa (Olanzapine), which is also FDA approved as a stand alone drug for Bipolar I disorder. It tends to treat all three symptoms of PPP-depression-mood swings and psychosis. Other so-called atypical anti-psychotic medications are also often used, including Risperidal (Risperidone), Seroquel (Quetiapine) and Clozaril (Clozapine). Sometimes the older "typical" anti-psychotic medications such as Haldol (Haloperidol) may be used but these tend to have more side-effects. The risk of postpartum psychosis increases if the mother had a postpartum depression or if she had a postpartum psychosis The risk of recoccurence is about 30% to 50% after each delivery.
Some professionals believe that postpartum psychosis is a bipolar spectrum disorder and up to 80% of cases have either had a prior bipolar episode or may have a latent predisposition for this disorder. Thus some physicians automatically use a mood stabilizer with PPP even in the absence of mood swings. In a similar vein, in order to prevent PPP, early treatment in women with prior episodes may include psychotherapy, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers or other medications right after birth, before actually symptoms present.
Having treated a number of women with PPP myself, I would like to share that it is an extremely serous disorder and requires immediate attention and treatment. Often the mother may not have any insight that there is something wrong with her or she may continue to believe that the delusions are not real no matter what you say to her. That is way family intervention is very important. The risk of suicide increases with either postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis.

Although these are the most common postpartum disoders, researchers are finding that other mental conditions may also first appear after birth as well. These include obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders and other anxiety disorders. My own opionion is that many other mental disoders may first appear after birth, but little research has ben done in this area so far.

Depression and discrimination
About 79% of people who have been diagnosed with depression say they have experienced discrimination because of their mental disorder.

My view of being bipolar...
It's a genetic link in my family. Being bipolar really effects your life. My mood swings are not severe but they happen more than enough. I go from being extremely happy
to sad or mad. In summer I could stay awake for 24 hours without being tired, and yet only get about 4 hours of sleep and be ready to go. I believe that lots of the manic episodes happen during summer and more depressed episodes happen during the winter. I stoppped caring about school and my grades all dropped. I was always getting mad at my family and started to drift away from them cause i was always pushing them away. At one point i was a very boring person cause i was thinking of a million things at one time that i would just sit there quiet cause i was so busy thinking. I don't tell stories the same as i used to.. when i start talking it just starts coming out so fast that i mix up my words, lots of the time i mix two words together and create a new one.cartoon13.jpg,P00759/
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