Mood disorders can be pretty damaging to one’s lifestyle and relationships. It should be regarded as an actual health concern that can be treated with therapy and medication. If left untreated or ignored, it can be a cause of major concern for the one suffering, and for the people surrounding them.
We all experience shifts in our moods from time to time. One moment you’re happy, and the next you are sad. This is all completely normal, especially when there are instances that trigger these emotions. But, if they are happening more than usual (when you are easily annoyed by little things), and you are showing behavioral symptoms, then you might be suffering from an episodic mood disorder.
Everyone is vulnerable to mental health problems, especially in this day and age where bad news from all over the world can easily reach us. Things also tend to be much more complicated as we hear about countless issues concerning politics, the global economy, our natural environment and so on.
Whether or not we are aware of it, these issues can have a deeper effect on our mental, and emotional health. These things can make an average person feel sad quite easily. Left unchecked, they can also trigger depression for people who are likely to develop mood disorders. If you find that you tend to have a pessimistic outlook on things, then you are statistically more likely to have or to develop a mood disorder.
The Different Types of Mood Disorders
Depression is the most common type of mood disorder. Some people think that “feeling sad” is the same as being depressed when, in fact, there is a huge difference between the two. It is important to know that depression lasts longer than a bad mood. Typically, lower moods and depressed feelings can last for weeks or months in many cases for people suffering from depression.
Depression is more complicated than just feeling sad or down; it prevents a person from functioning normally and doing the tasks they would be able to do on any other day. Things like getting out of bed to go to work, walking the dog, or shopping for groceries can become almost impossible to contemplate. Coming from a range of circumstances, the onset of depression and other mood disorders may be the result of a significant situation in life or the culmination of a series of events.
In severe cases, people who are diagnosed with clinical depression also tend to neglect their physical, mental and emotional well-being. This can present as not taking showers or grooming. Not going out with friends and avoiding interaction with others. Maintaining a balanced diet and so on. This then leads to complications in a lot of other areas in their life.
There are also other types of depressive disorders such as Dysthymia, a form of long-term depression that affects a person’s daily routine. A person suffering from dysthymia may find it hard to have fun and be happy, even on normally happier occasions, and is often described as being dull. It is not as intense as major depression, but there would be times when the depression would be mild or severe.
Since the behavioral symptoms are persistent, you may think that they are a part of who you are, as a person, and you may resign to accepting that things will never change for the better. If you feel like you are exhibiting these symptoms, seek professional help immediately.
There are other types of depression as well. Postpartum depression happens after a woman gives birth to her child. It is triggered by changes in a woman’s hormones and body, along with the stress of having, and taking care of a newborn child.
Psychotic depression, on the other hand, is when psychosis, manifested by delusions or a loss of contact with reality and hallucinations, combines with depression. People who are affected by this type of depression tend to be paranoid and convinced that bad things are about to happen. If left untreated, like other forms of depression, this can result in suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
Bipolar Disorder is another type of mood disorder, wherein a person’s mood, behavior and energy levels shift drastically. It is one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses, as most people shrug it off and treat it as merely having “mood swings”. People suffering from Bipolar Disorder can experience major shifting in their behavior, between mania (an extreme, elevated mood) and depression (a low energy or depressed mood). Because of these changes, some people can engage in radical activities in order to cope up with the highness or lowness of their mood.
During mania, some may engage in dangerous activities like driving really fast, drinking too much or trying out drugs in order to keep up with the extreme happiness and high energy that they are feeling. They may also experience high sensitivity over things that would not have bothered them on a normal day, which makes them irritable and easily annoyed.
On the other hand, being on the low energy end of the spectrum, those who are suffering may experience an extreme lack of drive or energy to go about with their days, often preferring to sleep in order to escape their feelings. They may also feel a lack of emotional connection towards others and may have difficulty in expressing sympathy over problems.
Finding the Cure
It’s unfortunate how mood disorders are still surrounded by so much stigma which ultimately keep most people who are suffering from reaching out and seeking the help that they need.
Mental health problems are not to be taken lightly. They are very serious illnesses that can have significant implications over someone’s life, and may even be the cause of major relationship issues if left untreated. Mental health problems can sometimes make a person feel isolated and lonely because of the stigma that surrounds them, coupled with the negative emotions that are triggered by these illnesses.
The good news is that more and more people are trying to bring awareness to these issues. Several influential people have spoken up about how they are also affected by mood disorders, and that it is okay to acknowledge if you’re struggling while encouraging others to seek help. Major mental health institutions are also better equipped than before in addressing these concerns, and people are starting to recognize that these are serious health issues that can be treated.
If you believe that you are exhibiting some of the behavioral symptoms mentioned above, please seek professional help. It is important to know that there are other who experience these mood disorders and that you are not alone.