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A mood disorder is a mental health condition that primarily affects an individual’s emotional state. Mental health professionals use the term mood disorder to classify all types of depression and bipolar disorders. Although the exact cause of mood disorders is unknown, multiple factors may lead to the development of a mood disorder, such as brain structure differences, hormonal shifts and genetics. People with a close relative who have a mood disorder may be more likely to develop the mental illness themselves.

The different types of mood disorders are as follows:

Major depressive disorder or depression

Depression affects around 16 million adults in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It’s the most common mental health disorder worldwide, with 1 in 6 adults having depression at some point in their lifetime. Depression affects people of all ages and backgrounds and can co-occur with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders.

It’s normal to feel sadness after a triggering experience, such as the death of a loved one. Depression, on the other hand, is a persistent low mood lasting more than two weeks that may not be linked to an event. People with depression may be unable to explain why they feel that way.

Depression symptoms

Symptoms that may indicate depression are as follows:

  • Feelings of sadness that occur often or all the time
  • Loss of desire to do activities that you once enjoyed
  • Feelings of irritability, frustration or restlessness
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Waking up too early or sleeping too much
  • Appetite changes
  • Aches, pains, headaches or digestive problems that don’t respond to treatment
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details or making decisions
  • Feeling tired‚ even after getting enough sleep
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

In order to be diagnosed with depression, a person must experience at least five of the above symptoms for at least two weeks.

Dysthymia, or persistent depressive disorder

Persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia, is characterized by chronic low-level depression.

Dysthymia symptoms

An individual receives a formal diagnosis of persistent depressive disorder if they’ve experienced at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Sleep problems
  • Change in appetite
  • Low self-esteem
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless

People with dysthymia feel depressed for most of the day on more days than not for a period of at least two years.

Bipolar disorder

People with bipolar disorder experience severe, dramatic shifts in mood, energy and activity levels, affecting their ability to function in their daily lives. Bipolar disorder was previously known as manic-depressive disorder due to its characteristic changes in mood from the high end of the mood spectrum (mania) to the low end (depression). The National Institute of Health estimates that 4.4% of adults in the United States experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lives.

The manic phase of bipolar disorder is characterized by restlessness, high energy and racing thoughts. Mania may spiral into agitation, aggression or even violent behavior. Individuals experiencing a manic phase of bipolar might:

  • Lose touch with reality
  • Experience hallucinations
  • Participate in risky behavior such as reckless activities or substance abuse

Following a manic episode, it’s common for people with bipolar disorder to then fall into a depressive period.

Some general signs indicating an episode of bipolar depression are as follows:

  • Lack of motivation or desire to take part in daily life
  • Little interest in activities that used to bring joy
  • Feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and even guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideations

Bipolar disorder is classed into three types, bipolar I, bipolar II and cyclothymic disorder. Individuals with bipolar I experience both true mania (often including psychotic symptoms) and depression. People with bipolar II experience hypomania (an elevation in mood, sex drive and productivity) as well as depression. Those with cyclothymic disorder experience hypomania and mild non-clinical depression.

Other mood disorders include seasonal affective disorder, postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and intermittent explosive disorder. Additionally, it’s possible to develop a mood disorder that is related to a physical health condition, medication or substance abuse.

Depression and mood disorders treatment

Fortunately, treatment is available to help you or your loved one manage your mood disorder and not only function but thrive in your daily life. Mood disorders are most often treated with medication, psychotherapy, family therapy or a combination.

Silvermist’s primary psychiatric program is a trauma-focused, transdiagnostic residential mental health treatment program for male adults of all ages. Silvermist provides comprehensive treatment services to clients struggling with primary mental health issues including depression and mood disorders, trauma disorders, anxiety disorders and eating disorders.

This clinically integrated program provides comprehensive treatment services with the goal of intrinsic change and meaningful engagement with the world.

The treatment philosophy at Silvermist is acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). We care for the whole person rather than address one specific issue or symptom. By focusing on increasing overall psychological flexibility, clients can achieve symptom reduction, behavior modification, improved functioning and increased well-being and life satisfaction.

Contact us online or call us at (724) 268-4858 to learn more about our residential mental health treatment program for depression and other mood disorders.