All of us feel sad and irritated some time or the other. We may even call it a bad mood. This does not, however, constitute a mood disorder. With a mood disorder, one’s general emotional state is different or distorted. There are many kinds of illnesses that can be classified as mood disorders, and one can begin to work through them with the help of a mental health professional.

So what are mood disorders?

They are a mental issue that consists of mental disturbances due to extreme grief or sadness spread over a long period of time.

In cases of extreme sadness like a major loss, separation, death of a loved one, divorce, etc., an individual may express and experience grief for an unusually long period. In such situations, mood disorders may be diagnosed. Experiencing the symptoms that are characteristic of a mood disorder can weaken an individual’s ability to perform be it in personal, work or social life.

There is an increased risk of other problems like difficulties in managing daily activities, loss of appetite, maintaining good social relations, alcoholism with mood disorders.

These are some of the signs of a mood disorder:

• Mood swings and triggers that cannot be linked to a particular cause.

• A gradual change in the negative impact of mood spread over a few weeks or months.

These are some types of disorders and their respective effective treatments:

• Bipolar Disorder
This disorder is difficult to diagnose. It consists of varying mood levels called highs and lows. The high points are episodes of mania, or a manic-like state, wherein individual experiences a euphoric and elevated mood. The lows, however, are when one’s mood drops and depressive state sets in. People may also experience a combination of these moods, which is termed as mixed moods. The behavior observed as a result of this disorder is often unhealthy and even unpredictable.

It is advisable to visit both psychiatrist and a psychologist. A psychiatrist prescribes medicines; a psychologist focuses on a talk therapy.

Other forms of therapy may be used as well, such as art or music therapy, dance therapy, or in rare and extreme cases – electroconvulsive therapy.

• Major Depressive Disorder
In this kind of a disorder, a person feels deep and constant sadness and disinterest in their internal or external environment. Long periods of sadness are observed to be recurring from time to time. Even while dealing with small tasks patients feel disturbed, tired, distracted and hopeless.

Talk therapy or psychotherapy is recommended from a trained mental health professional. This can be done via group or one-on-one sessions. In some cases, a doctor may even prescribe medication in order to help control depressive episodes.

• Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) is a continuous form of a depressive disorder. It occurs for a longer period of time than a single major depressive episode. One loses interest in daily tasks or activities. This is often followed by lack of productivity, sense of hopelessness, low self-esteem, and an overall feeling of inadequacy. This experience is also persistent over some years. Areas such as relationships, school, college, work, etc., are significantly affected over a period of time. Individuals experiencing PDD constantly express dissatisfaction, unhappiness or inability to even enjoy good times.

Understanding the issues faced, and changing thought patterns and behavior, can be dealt with through cognitive behavior therapy. Overall, therapy may involve medication, meditation, reflection, and journaling.

• Seasonal Affective Disorder
This disorder is connected with a change in the seasons. It may even begin and ends at the same time every year. Just like other kinds of depression a person feels hopeless, worthless, experiences fatigue, has disturbed sleep, and lack of concentration, etc. The disorder is linked to the effect of the environment on our bodily rhythms, chemicals, and functions.

Light Therapy or phototherapy is recommended in order to tackle this disorder. Here, an individual is made to sit just a few feet away from a light therapy box, which exposes a person to a brighter light. Thus, light therapy attempts to cause a change in the individual’s brain chemicals that are linked with mood- by using lights that mimic the natural outdoors.

• Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder(PMDD)
People with PMDD experience both physical as well as emotional symptoms that cause an extreme mood shift- potentially disrupting their work and also damaging one’s relationships. Symptoms of this disorder start 7 to 10 days prior to a person’s period and continues through the first few days. Sadness, anxiety, irritability and extreme moodiness commonly associated with PMDD. To be diagnosed with this disorder, the symptoms must be extreme.
Apart from medication- light exercise, a healthy diet, and avoiding intake of alcohol and caffeine may be useful. With a doctor’s consent, one can also opt for nutritional supplements, Vitamin B6, magnesium, etc. For acute or severe cases anti-depressants may be required.

• Depression due to severe medical conditions
It is estimated that one-third of patients with chronic illnesses face depression. Some such lifelong illnesses are diabetes, arthritis, heart diseases, kidney diseases, etc. In these illnesses, the symptoms are irreversible and often cannot be cured. They can only be managed or controlled through exercise, lifestyle habits and medication.
Thus, doctors do prescribe drugs and anti-depressants that help alter one’s mood, by affecting naturally occurring brain chemicals. A combination of talk therapy and effective medication works best for treating these individuals. With the use of cognitive behavioral therapy, negative thought patterns can be replaced with healthier ones- helping one to cope with various work and relationship issues. Similarly, psychotherapy is a problem-solving therapy, aimed at providing realistic solutions in order to manage stressful situations.

Should one rely on medications alone?

No, one should not rely completely on medication. Instead, therapy should be sought along with medication. These forms of therapy can help people regain a balance in their moods, potentially bringing them back to their state prior to the development of a disorder.

It is essential to consult a doctor for treatment and diagnoses of mood disorders. Anti-depressants should not be taken lightly and maybe more beneficial for severe or acute cases. Tolerability, cost, insurance coverage and one’s symptoms are some of the factors that influence a professional’s decision to prescribe anti-depressants.
Online experts on Therappo conduct individual sessions for effective treatment of all psychologically related issues.

One can speak to Therappo’s counsellors as per one’s convenience. You can opt for online sessions as and when it suits you – when your children are asleep or after work, late at night, weekends, etc. One can easily avail of regular treatments due to the elimination of factors such as distance and time taken to travel.
Therappo’s online counsellors are equipped to identify the symptoms one is struggling with and help you cope. The process of healing becomes easier when a patient is also thus equipped with positive ways of responding to their issues

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