Mood disorders differ from the experiences that come with each new day and the subsequent emotions sometimes that hit us like the experience of a roller coaster ride, especially for a first-timer. One moment, you are literally on top of the world and the next, you probably couldn’t have sunk any lower. 

Today, you dealt with a challenge expertly and you feel great, tomorrow, little financial or relationship problems knock you out flat on your back, leaving you in the depths of despair. While you may not particularly enjoy everyday normal fluctuations in your emotions and mood, these reactions to life are perfectly normal. 

Where Everything Changes

The problem begins or becomes a cause for concern when the emotional state or your mood per time, consistently negatively affects areas of daily functioning; social, career, education, or relationships. This is a classic tellline of mood disorders. You might ask then, what exactly are mood disorders?

Mood Disorder! What are they?

What are Mood Disorders

The characteristics or symptoms of mood disorders are such that the victim experiences severe mood changes that negatively impact on their regular lives. Presently, more than a handful of mood disorders have been identified but mood disorders are grouped under three categories based on the principal mood experienced. They are; the mood, the manic mood, and bipolar state. 

An Overview of Each Category

The Depression Mood

The Depression Mood

Depression extends beyond the borders of sadness as people who suffer depression, more often than not experience feelings of negativity can are so intense it often affects the whole being. Research studies have outlined more than a handful of symptoms or bodily functions that are affected by depressive moods, some of which include; the mood itself, cognitive functioning, sleep patterns, behavioural factors, body physiology, as well as effects on body weight.

A person in a depressive state would feel the following symptoms; apathy or sudden disinterest in activities that were formerly considered pleasurable, general discontent, mood swings, or overall sadness. There may also be, suicidal thoughts, sleep problems, high levels of irritability, self-imposed socially isolation, restless, weight loss, and eating problems. Please note that problems with weight and eating can go either way, excessive eating which leads to excessive weight gain or lack of interest in feeding which results in loss of weight.

The Mania Mood

The Mania Mood

Mania or Manic moods as it is referred to as simply the experience of uncharacteristically high moods and energy levels. When you think of mania, think of the extended experience of euphoric emotions lasting for three days typically and sometimes even longer. It is an excellent feeling to experience happiness but it becomes problematic and a cause for concern when it translates into a manic state.

To diagnose the mania mood, therapists lookout for symptoms such as erratic and rapid speech, need for significantly shorter sleep time than the average required number of hours, impulsivity and distractibility, poor judgment, and a characteristic pattern of poor decision making with adverse consequences on finances, social interacts, etc.

The Bipolar Mood

The Bipolar Mood

As the name implies, it’s is double-sided. We would simply describe it as a flunctuation between the depressive mood and the manic mood. 

We would look at all three in details in subsequent posts but a summary is given below:

Mania, Depression, Bipolar

The depressive mood that characterises a depressive mood disorder is at its core determined by an overall depressed state. While the manic mood by extended elevated moods. An individual suffering from bipolar disorder cycles between the depressed and manic moods. There are a few other types of mood disorders that are determined by the levels of the mood and the intensity or severity of the emotional states, some of them are; dysthymic disorder, disruptive mood dynamic dysregulation disorder, persistent depressive disorder,   premenstrual dysphoric disorder, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and cyclothymic disorder.

Symptoms of Mood Disorders

Symptoms of Mood Disorders

Now that you have a deeper understanding of the different states that are associated with mood disorders, you would be interested in finding out what the symptoms of mood disorders are precise. Bear in mind that mood disorders have unique outplays across different age groups and the specific type of disorder in question but some of the occurring symptoms include; 

-persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or what can be described as a blank or empty mood.

-feelings hopeless or helpless.

-feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness or exaggerated low self-esteem.

-guilt feelings

-preoccupation with death or suicide, in terms of a desire to die or to take one’s own life (Note: this particular symptom should not be taken lightly)

-loss of interest in pleasurable activities such as hobbies, sex, etc.

-sleep problems

-eating problems

-poor social skills 

-significantly lower energy levels.

-problems with concentration.

-poor decision-making skills.

-regular or excessive physiological complaints such as the frequent occurrence of headache or stomachache, constant feelings of tiredness. All these complaints when treated do not respond favourably to treatment.

-hyper-sensitivity to derogatory remarks, failure or rejection.

-feelings of irritability and aggression or hostility.

You might say that some, if not all of these symptoms are consistent with normal reactions to life events, however, in mood disorders, these symptoms are significantly more intense and persistent. So much so that it negatively interferes interactions with family, friends, or career. These symptoms are not consistent with sporadic thoughts or feelings that people occasionally have or experience.

Normal reactions to life events

In this post, we give an overview and an introduction to mood disorders, join us over the next few weeks as we delve deeper into mood disorders and how we can help people battling with them. Thank you for reading, do share our post and leave a comment or question.