What Is a Mood Disorder?
While it’s normal for your emotional state to fluctuate in response to various circumstances in your life, you might have a mood disorder if you experience prolonged periods of extreme happiness, sadness or both. A mood disorder can cause dramatic changes in your thoughts and behaviors, and can significantly disrupt your quality of life.
The two most prevalent mood disorders are depression and bipolar, which impact millions of Americans with potentially debilitating effects.
Types of Depression
Some depression results from an obvious trigger, such as the death of a loved one. Mental health professionals call this reactive or situational depression, and it is typically short-lived. Other forms of depression, including postpartum and seasonal, are longer-lasting and can be severe enough to interfere with your daily responsibilities.
With clinical depression – also known as major depressive disorder – you may have trouble finding the motivation to take good care of yourself and maintain healthy relationships. A doctor can diagnose you with depression and recommend a treatment plan if problems like these cause mental anguish or impaired functioning that prevents you from living your life to the fullest.
- Low mood most of the day, nearly every day
- Significantly reduced interest or enjoyment in almost all activities
- Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Profound fatigue or exhaustion
- Persistent feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a disorder that causes dramatic shifts in a person’s mood and behavior. Bipolar people switch between the lows of depression and manic episodes where they have nearly boundless energy and enthusiasm. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and your ability to think clearly.
Depending on your symptoms’ severity, a mental health professional may diagnose you with bipolar I, bipolar II or cyclothymia. All forms of bipolar disorder are treatable with therapy, specific prescription medications and lifestyle changes.
What Causes Mood Disorders?
Mental illnesses like depression and bipolar disorder don’t have a single cause, but instead arise due to a complex blend of factors.
- Brain chemistry: People’s brains have differing structures and activity levels. For example, imbalanced brain chemicals called neurotransmitters might make you more vulnerable to mood disorders.
- Stress: Chronic stress can affect your overall well-being by triggering the release of hormones like cortisol.
- Heredity: If mental health issues run in your family, you may have a genetic predisposition for depression or bipolar disorder.
- Adverse childhood experiences: Exposure to trauma, neglect, abuse or parental abandonment from an early age can lead to mood disorders in adulthood.
- Substance use: Some people drink or use drugs to improve their mood and regulate their emotions. While substance use may bring short-lived relief from your symptoms, it will eventually worsen your moods and can lead you to develop a dual diagnosis.
Evidence-Based Treatment for Addiction and Mood Disorders
If you have a dual diagnosis of a mental illness and addiction, simultaneously treating both components can provide you with the tools you need to recover and avoid a relapse. At Beach House, our complete continuum of care and industry-leading therapist-to-client ratio are some of the reasons we rank among the nation’s top treatment facilities.
If you’re ready to learn more about how we treat co-occurring disorders with compassion and love, please reach out to our admissions counselors.