A mood disorder is characterized by abnormalities in a person’s emotional state. It encompasses several psychological disorders, including bipolar disorder and depression. The patient’s emotional state is often inconsistent with their circumstances. There are many things that can cause a mood disorder, including psychological and physiological issues. In addition to bipolar disorder and clinical depression, there are two other mood disorders. These are cyclothymic disorders and dysthymic disorders.
Cyclothymic disorders cause ups and downs similar to a bipolar disorder; however, the ups and downs are not as extreme. During the high phase of this disorder, patients may experience euphoria, inflated self-esteem, aggressive behavior, agitation, risky behavior and racing thoughts. During the lows of this disorder, patients may experience suicidal thoughts, sleep problems, fatigue, hopelessness and loss of interest.
Dysthymic disorder is a chronic form of depression; however, it is not as severe as clinical depression. During episodes of dysthymia, patients may experience sadness, fatigue, hopelessness, irritability, poor appetite and feelings of guilt. In children, symptoms can include poor social skills, low self-esteem, poor educational performance, ADHD and learning and developmental disorders in addition to the symptoms listed above.
Many people call bipolar disorder a manic depressive disorder because it is associated with intense mood swings. Patient’s mood swings can occur a couple of times each year or they can happen several times each day. Additionally, some patients may experience depression and mania at the same time. Symptoms of bipolar disorders are similar to cyclothymic disorders; however, the symptoms are more intense.
Clinical depression affects how patients think, feel and interact with others. Many sufferers have trouble doing day to day tasks and may think life is not worth living. Clinical depression is much more than a few days of feeling sad. Patients suffering with depression may feel an emptiness that cannot be filled, experience appetite changes, have thoughts of suicide, suffer with physical pain and can no longer find pleasure in activities that they once enjoyed.
Causes of Mood Disorders
Physicians do not know the exact cause of a mood disorder; however, researchers have found that changes in the brain occur during a mood disorder. Some patients exhibit changes in serotonin levels, dopamine levels and norepinephrine levels in the brain. These neurotransmitters send signals to the synaptic passages in the brain that controls emotions. Additionally, traumatic events can cause a mood disorder. During a traumatic event, the mind utilizes any means necessary to cope with the event. Oftentimes, a traumatic event can change the chemical makeup of the brain.
Risk Factors for Mood Disorders
One of the primary causes of mood disorders is alcohol or drug abuse. The toxic substances can cause changes in the brain, which can result in mood disorders. These drugs include opioids, sedatives, hallucinogens, amphetamines and cocaine. These substances can cause a variety of mental disorders, including clinical depression and bipolar disorder.
Family history, sleep disorders, traumatic events and medications can also cause mood disorders. The term mood disorder encompasses mild depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), anxiety as well as bipolar disorder and clinical depression. Patients with mood disorders have inconsistent moods, such as mania and hypomania. During a manic stage, patients will exhibit feelings of euphoria, impulsiveness and racing thoughts. During hypomania, patients may feel fatigued, depressed and have suicidal thoughts.
Are you suffering from mood disorders? Please call us at (571)529-6699 and set up an appointment with our integrative physician.
We gladly serve Northern Virginia including Fairfax, Loudoun, Alexandria, and Prince William counties, Washington DC metro area, and Maryland.