Mood disorders—characterized by irritability, shifts in appetite and/or periods of heightened happiness or sadness—can easily take a toll on the body and the mind. While it’s very normal for someone’s mood to change throughout the day, mood disorders are verified mental health issues that present more extreme reactions, with or without triggering life events.
Perhaps you’ve noticed a change in your productivity or sense of self-worth or self-confidence. Maybe you’ve identified a palpable shift in your mood that has lasted for weeks or longer. Perhaps you just feel off and can’t figure out why or how to get back to feeling like yourself.
The good news is that mood disorders are not uncommon and therefore, with the right diagnosis and treatment plan, are treatable.
What is a mood disorder?
Mood disorders are verified mental health issues—not passing emotions. In order to qualify as a mood disorder, your set of symptoms must be experienced consistently for at least two weeks. In addition, symptoms must be severe enough to warrant medical help.
There are many types of mood disorders, each with similar, yet distinct symptoms, treatments and outlooks. We’ve outlined 3 of the most popular mood disorders below:
Depression is a mental disorder where your mood feels consistently depressed, empty or hopeless. Individuals with depression report loss of passion for their favorite activities and foods, trouble sleeping, heightened anxiety and increased feelings of worthlessness or shame. There are various kinds of depression, including postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder and persistent depressive disorder.
This disorder alternates the individual between heights of happiness and depressive depths, with wild shifts in energy levels, self-confidence, self-worth and mental capacity.
A more mild form of consistent depression, only diagnosed after the patient experiences depressed interest in favorite activities, low energy and appetite, and changes in sleep patterns for more than two years.
Caused by a multitude of different factors, likely including genetic elements and imbalances in pivotal brain chemicals, mood disorders can affect anyone.
Am I experiencing a mood disorder?
It’s a question that only a licensed health professional can help you diagnose; if you’re wondering if you have a mood disorder, make sure you consult the appropriate help from licensed therapists qualified to deal with exactly what you’re experiencing.
Some symptoms are shared by most common mood disorders, and learning these symptoms could help you better understand why your brain and body are acting in such a way. In general, mood disorders are characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:
Extended periods of sadness or empty moods
Sustained low sense of self-worth
Feelings of guilt or shame, especially feelings of worthlessness without reason
Shifts in appetite or weight control
Muted energy or excitement levels about your favorite activities
Anyone experiencing a combination of these symptoms for 14 days or more, especially if those symptoms are compounded with thoughts of suicide, should seek help immediately. Don’t be afraid to speak with your healthcare provider about mood disorders, to get the help that you know you need, or to simply learn more about the ways in which the disorder may be affecting you.
How can I treat my mood disorder?
While they cannot be cured, many individuals have found personal freedom through effective mood disorder treatment modalities. Successful treatment methods, prescribed under the watch of your medical professional, typically include:
Individual, group or family therapy
Online or in-person counseling
Monitored, FDA-approved medications
Through behavioral therapy methods like psychotherapy, often applied in tandem with medication, psychiatrists and therapists have successfully helped thousands of individuals take back their lives. While researchers still cannot determine the source of mood disorders, they do agree that getting appropriate help can minimize their effects on your day-to-day life.
Start treating your mood disorder today
Mood disorders can be challenging to live with, but when you begin taking steps towards recovery, you’ll find freedom and peace of mind once again.
Pyramid Online Counseling provides virtual counseling services that can help you receive the treatment you need in the comfort of your own home. Through an encrypted online platform, you can connect with the right therapist after browsing profiles to find the right advocate in your struggles.