Mood Disorders

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Image by Anh Nguyen

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A mood disorder is a mental health condition that primarily affects a person's emotional state. With a mood disorder, a person experiences long periods of extreme happiness, extreme sadness, or both. 

It is normal for anyone's moods to change, depending on the situation. To be diagnosed with a mood disorder, however, symptoms must be present for several weeks or longer. Typically mood disorders cause changes in a person's behavior and affect daily routines and activities such as work, school, and relationships. 

Treating mood disorders depends on the specific presenting condition and symptoms. Usually, therapy will involve a combination of psychotherapy (aka "talk therapy") and medication.

The 5 Common Mood Disorders

  • Bipolar disorder: also called manic depression, it is characterized by alternating episodes of both mania and depression. During an episode of mania, a person feels extreme happiness, and presents with high energy levels. During an episode of depression, a person is in a very low mood and acts as if there is no hope for life.

  • Major depressive disorder: Major depressive disorder is characterized by a severe and prolonged low mood, intense sadness, irritability, or sense of dread. 

  • Dysthymia: is characterized by mild depression for an extended period, at least 2 years for adults and 1 year for adolescents and teenagers. Unlike major depressive disorder (MDD), in which a person has severe episodes that come and go, people with dysthymia experience mild episodes that last much longer.

  • Mood disorder related to another health condition: Changes in mood caused by depression may be a result of underlying health issues, such as cancer and HIV, or medications taken for a medical condition.

  • Substance-induced mood disorder: is an illness that develops when an individual suffers persistent depressive symptoms following substance use (such as an opioid), dosage reduction, or withdrawal.

"Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor."

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Therapy Outcomes

Here's a sneak peak of some of the things we may talk about and accomplish together in therapy
  • Gain an increased understanding of your mental health condition. Understand why things bother you and what you can do about them.

  • Overcome fears and insecurities to define and reach your wellness goals.

  • Separate your true self from the moods caused by your condition.

  • Identify triggers that may worsen your condition

  • End destructive habits such as excessive drinking, using drugs, overspending, or unhealthy sex.

  • Establish a stable, dependable routine.

  • Improve relationships with family and friends.

  • Develop a plan for coping in crisis.

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