What are Mood Disorders?

Mood disorders are mental health conditions in which people experience distorted moods or emotions. Most people experience emotional highs and lows throughout life even with no disorder present. With a mood disorder, however, the changes in a person’s feelings care often unrelated or disproportionate to life circumstances. Experts estimate that about one-fifth of the adult population in the United States lives with one of these mood disorders.

The shift in emotions that mood disorders cause is intense enough to make daily life difficult for patients. These conditions also affect patients’ relationships with friends, family, and other people in their lives. The intense emotions caused by mood disorders include hopelessness, irritability, and apathy. Other patients swing between depressive and manic states.

Types of Mood Disorders

Mood disorders cause three overarching states of being: manic, depressive, and bipolar. Changes between these moods may indicate one or more subtype of mood disorder, including:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Cyclothymic disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder

Patients can also live with depression caused by specific circumstances, such as physical illness or substance use.

Causes of Mood Disorders

There is no singular cause of mood disorders. However, researchers have identified several factors that increase a person’s risk of developing these conditions. Primarily, a person’s unique brain chemistry can determine whether or not they develop a mood disorder. Professionals believe that many if not all mood disorders can be attributed to chemical imbalances in the brain. But what causes the imbalances?

Someone is more likely to develop a mood disorder if they:

  • Experience a traumatic event
  • Are going through a significant life transition
  • Have close biological family who live with mood disorders

Close biological family is generally considered to be a person’s biological siblings, parents, and children in this case.

Treatments for Mood Disorders

Patients with mood disorders and their loved ones must know that mood disorders are treatable. Mental health care providers can tailor specific plans based on a patient’s symptoms and needs. Treatment options include:

  • Medication and medication management services
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Inpatient treatment for severe cases

At LifeStance Health, our qualified and compassionate team members can work together to make a treatment plan for you.