Mood Disorder

What is Mood Disorder?

Mood disorders are mental health problems such as depression, bipolar disorder and mania.

It is normal for your mood to change, and most people go through times of feeling sad.  However, when these feelings last for a very long time or interfere with your life, you may have a mood disorder.
Mood disorders can occur in anyone, including children.  The cause of these disorders is not fully understood, but sometimes they may be related to a medical condition, substance abuse and/or life events.

The most common types of mood disorders include major depression, dysthymic disorder (milder depressive disorder) and bipolar disorder, in which episodes of severe depression and mania (elevated mood) occur in the same individual.

It is normal for your mood to change, and most people go through times of feeling sad.  However, when these feelings last for a very long time or interfere with your life, you may have a mood disorder.

Causes of Mood Disorder

The exact cause of mood disorders is not known, however, most mood disorders are linked to chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters, which regulate moods, feelings and behaviour.

It is believed that changes in the levels of these neurotransmitters can lead to mood disorders.  In some cases, it appears that genetics may contribute to mood disorders, though environment often plays a major role.

Mood disorders can often be triggered by a traumatic event or stress in your daily life.  While it is normal to have changes in mood due to life events, usually you are able to recover from stressors.  However, when you have a mood disorder, your ability to cope with stress is decreased, increasing the presence of symptoms.

Symptoms of Mood Disorder

Often, mood disorders will start out as mild feelings of sadness or inadequacy. Mild negative feelings are normal, but if these feelings continue for a long time or are very intense, you may have a mood disorder.

You may experience mood disorder symptoms daily or just once in a while.  Some examples include:

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness or inadequacy
  • Hostility or aggression
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Loss of interest in daily life, work, school, people
  • Problems interacting with loved ones
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Changes in appetite
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Guilt

Symptoms of heightened mood that may accompany mood disorders include Mania.  Mania is the presence of an abnormally elevated mood. Symptoms of Mania include:

  • Abnormally high energy level
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Poor judgment
  • Racing thoughts
  • Talking fast or switching conversational topics rapidly
  • Impulsive behaviours such as overspending
  • Feelings of omnipotence
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Treatment for Mood Disorder

It is important to seek prompt treatment for a mood disorder to reduce the severity of symptoms and manage any complications.

At Think Psychological Services we provide individualised psychotherapy treatments for mood management.  Somatic Experiencing, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), anger management, sleep management, psycho-education, neuro-feedback and other modalities are utilized to address the root causes of the mood disorder.

In some cases we also encourage family therapy groups. These groups incorporate family members or significant others into the patient’s treatment environment.

Where necessary, Think Psychological Services will work with medical professionals to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your needs.  Medication, along with cognitive therapy, behavioural therapy and lifestyle modification may be required.

Mood Disorder