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Facts About Mood Disorders

MedlinePlus reports that about 10% of the population over 18 years old suffers from a mood disorder. While discussions about mood disorders usually focus on mental health, this mental disorder also increases a person’s risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. In order to treat any this type of mental health disorder, it is important to learn the facts about mood disorders.

What is a Mood Disorder?

The length of time a person is affected by extreme happiness or sadness is what distinguishes a disorder from normal responses. Typically, a person with a mood disorder suffers from extreme emotional shifts for at least a couple of weeks.

What do all mood disorders have in common?

All mood disorders related to a person’s extreme emotional states. Unlike their healthy peers, people with a mood disorder experience intense emotions for longer periods of time.

Further examination of the facts about mood disorders suggests that anyone of any age can suffer from a mood disorder. Children, teenagers, and adults are all at risk.

Johns Hopkins Medicine claims that a chemical imbalance in the brain is likely to be blamed. When discussing who is at risk for a mood disorder, it is worth mentioning that there is evidence that this problem appears to run in families.

Types of Mood Disorders

Depressive Disorders

While the challenge of treating mood disorders is always a top priority, fully understanding what constitutes depressive symptoms is key for identifying mood disorders. Clinical depression is a common mental health disorder that causes symptoms that impact every aspect of life.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that the standard for a diagnosis of the clinically depressed is based on experiencing a minimum of two weeks of symptoms.

Facts about mood disorders indicate that there are several different types of depressive disorders. A persistent depressive disorder is categorized as a condition that lasts for two years or longer. While symptoms may be more severe on certain days and less active on others, the lengthy, two-year timeframe is how this particular type of depressive condition is distinguished from other types.

Many women fall into a depressive emotional state after giving birth to their babies. New mothers who suffer from this condition are intensely sad and anxious. Feeling exhausted is another common symptom.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) occurs for some people when there is less sunlight. When examining facts about mood disorders, it is clear that the fall and winter months are when people with this disorder experience symptoms. Recognizable symptoms of SAD are increased sleep, withdrawal from social activities, and weight gain.

Research on the subject of facts about mood disorders uncovered these common depressive symptoms listed below.

  • Relentless sadness or anxiety
  • Empty mood
  • Hopelessness
  • Low energy levels
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Regular thoughts of death
  • Suicidal impulses
  • Increased aches and pains
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Moving slowly
  • Oversleeping
Woman needing help for her mood disorders

Bipolar Disorder

When studying facts about mood disorders, it became clear that bipolar disorder is primarily characterized by dramatic shifts in activity levels, mood, and energy. Also referred to as manic-depression, people suffering from this disruptive disorder experience manic periods when they are extremely up and energized. Mood swings from this energized manic state are often followed or preceded by a downturn to a depressive state.

Bipolar I Disorder

When a person is diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder, it means that the manic episodes last seven days at a minimum. This diagnosis is also made for patients who must be hospitalized due to dangerous manic episodes. In most Bipolar 1 Disorder cases, patients also experience depressive episodes that last two weeks or longer.

Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar II Disorder is distinguishable from Bipolar I Disorder based on the intensity of the manic episodes. People who suffer from Bipolar II Disorder experience depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes that are much less intense and dangerous.


Cyclothymia is the third category. When a person exhibits hypomanic and depressive symptoms for two full years or more, then they are classified as having Cyclothymic Disorder or Cyclothymia.

Below is a list of symptoms associated with a manic episode.

  • Increased energy levels
  • Irritability
  • Feeling high on life
  • Needs very little sleep
  • Feels wired
  • Racing thoughts
  • Talks fast
  • Involved in risky behaviors
  • Eats or drinks too much
  • Overspending

Inpatient Versus Outpatient Treatment Options for Mood Disorders

Mood disorders present a serious challenge to the quality of life. One of the first decisions is to choose inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Inpatient Treatment

During a crisis, inpatient treatment is warranted. Staff members provide the support and guidance necessary to reduce dangerous risks.

Outpatient Treatment

A majority of patients find they can get the help they need from an outpatient treatment program. Services offered are case management, medical assistance, and individual interventions.

Additionally, education on relevant topics like symptom management, medication, and living skills gives patients the coping skills necessary to improve their quality of life and stay safe. As a full-service offering, vocational and housing counseling are also provided in many outpatient treatment programs.

Treating the different types of mood disorders in California

Therapy Options for Mood Disorders

Inarguably, any examination of treatment options when discussing facts about mood disorders must include therapy as a viable way to treat mood disorders.

Individual Psychotherapy

This counseling type provides an excellent forum for individuals to learn and practice coping strategies for an improved life where symptoms can be managed. Family therapy is also an extremely effective way to improve the family dynamic by teaching relatives about communication strategies that can be used to improve stress levels.


As the popular adage suggests, knowledge is power. Psychoeducation teaches problem-solving skills and healthier habits conducive to managing symptoms.

Group Therapy

Group therapy can also be invaluable for many patients. Listening to peers with similar issues is very helpful. Group therapy fosters a cooperative environment where individuals can learn better communication skills.

Holistic Treatments

A healthy diet and regular exercise can positively impact your mood. By eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, and fish, blood sugar is managed, and your mood remains calm. It is also important to avoid sugar and caffeine.

Larry Christensen, Ph.D. was quoted in WebMD, claiming that approximately 20% to 25% of his patients said they felt less depressed after eliminating caffeine and sugar from their diet.

Ongoing research suggests that certain nutrients impact mood and can manage mood. Specifically, foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 are mentioned as healthy choices for people suffering from a depressed mood. Folate is also considered important.


Exercise has been shown to get rid of the blues. In terms of holistic treatments and how to treat mood disorders, exercise is a proven choice. You can answer the question, what do all mood disorders have in common by explaining how they all improve with exercise. When you exercise, you reduce stress levels and bolster mood.

Medications for Mood Disorders

A discussion about mood disorders would not be complete without reviewing medications.

It is important to remember that not all medications are created equally. Depending on the symptoms being treated, one prescription might be better than another.

Common Medications to Treat Depressive Disorder

Some of the most common prescription options used for treating symptoms are Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. These antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). With few side effects, this is the most popular type of medicine prescribed for this purpose. They positively impact serotonin in the brain.

Another class of medications, known as serotonin and norepinephrine inhibitors (SNRIs) is also frequently prescribed. This type of prescription medication follows behind the SSRIs above as the second most popular choice in the battle against the blues. Common medications in this category are Cymbalta, Pristiq, Effexor, and Fetzima.

A popular norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRTs) choice that round out the list of popular depression prescriptions is Wellbutrin. Due to its low incidence of side effects, Wellbutrin is a favorite choice.

Common Medications to Treat Bipolar Patients

When the question arises about treating mood disorders, medication is always a top consideration in emergencies. When healthcare professionals prescribe medication to treat bipolar disorder, they select antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and options for managing anxiety. One or more of these may be combined to quickly manage symptoms.

Lithium, Symbyax, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, bipolar disorder medications, and antidepressants are typical choices for fighting bipolar disorder. There is some trial and error involved as physicians determine which medications or combinations work best for a particular patient.

The Correct Combination of Medication Takes Time

Considering that it can take as long as eight weeks to carefully evaluate prescription medications’ effectiveness for the treatment of mood disorders, it is important to carefully monitor patients for possible side effects or ineffectiveness.

Several types of medications are used to treat bipolar disorder. These include mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and medications that relieve anxiety. Your doctor may prescribe one or a combination of medications for maximum effect.

Finding the right medication or combination of medications requires some trial and error experimentation. Patients may need to change medications due to side effects.

It can take up to eight weeks to see the full effects of each medication designed to treat mood disorders. Usually, only one medication is changed at a time. This helps doctors better monitor and identify which prescription isn’t working.

Start Treatment for Mood Disorders in California Today

When contemplating what is a mood disorder, it is always crucial to examine the facts about mood disorders and how to treat them. Considering the devastating impact of not knowing how to treat mood disorders, it is especially critical to consult with a trained professional in cases where mood swings and depression are posing a risk to mental or physical health.

Don’t suffer one more day. Contact Montare Behavioral Health in Los Angeles, California.