Understanding Mood Disorders

Understanding Mood Disorders

Understanding Mood Disorders

Everyone has bad days and experiences hardships in life — the loss of a loved one, divorce, unemployment, and more. Financial problems, relationship issues, and everyday stresses can create a roller coaster of emotions. However, mood disorders are much more complex.

When you have a daily negative outlook that disrupts your ability to live a productive, fulfilling life, you may be suffering from a mood disorder — and you’re certainly not alone.

Research shows that approximately 15.4% of adults had a mood or anxiety disorder in the last 12 months, with major depressive disorder being the most common mood disorder. [1]

Understand what mood disorders are and what symptoms to be aware of so you can ensure you get the help you need.

What Are Mood Disorders?

Mood disorders are a class of mental health disorders that include a range of depressive and bipolar disorders.

There are many subtypes of mood disorders, but three major stages of the illness exist. These include manic, depressive, and bipolar.

For example, major depressive disorder is diagnosed following an overall depressed mood. In contrast, mania is when your mood is elevated. When you cycle between feelings of depression and mania, this is what’s known as bipolar disorder.

Whether you have bipolar disorder, substance-induced mood disorder, dysthymia, or any other type of mood disorder, symptoms vary in severity and intensity. As an example, dysthymic disorder is a less severe form of major depression. However, your symptoms may be unique when combined with a co-occurring condition. For instance, research shows that half of the people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also suffer from major depressive disorder. [2]

Symptoms of Mood Disorders

Depending on the mood disorder you have, and several other variables, symptoms will differ. For some individuals, especially children, depression may present itself with physical symptoms, such as stomachaches or headaches. [3]

Symptoms are ongoing, negatively affecting your daily life, and may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia or sleeping more than usual
  • Changes in eating patterns, eating more or less than usual
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Low energy
  • Feelings of isolation or sadness
  • Poor concentration
  • Increased irritability
  • Feelings of guilt

What Causes Mood Disorders?

Researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes most mood disorders. There is no one direct cause of mood disorders. Both biological and environmental factors are believed to play a role.

For example, a family history of depression can increase your risk, as well as traumatic or stressful life events. An imbalance of brain chemicals is also a highly probable factor.

The list of potential risk factors is vast, showcasing the complexity of mood disorders. [4]

Are Mood Disorders Treatable?

Mood disorders can often be treated successfully. The most effective approach is often a combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy. [5] However, each individual is unique and benefits most from a personalized treatment plan. This is particularly the case when living with co-occurring disorders, such as substance use disorder and major depression.

Most mood disorders, including bipolar, are not curable, but that does not mean you cannot effectively manage your symptoms. When treated, you can experience long periods free of symptoms. For example, by developing coping mechanisms that target your personal triggers, you can reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms.

For medications, some options include:

  • Mood stabilizers
  • Atypical antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants

There are many forms of psychotherapy — also referred to as talk therapy. These include:

Throughout your treatment plan, the specific type of therapy may be less important than the continuity of therapy with professionals. Working alongside mental health experts who understand your recovery goals and overall journey will be critical to your success. [6]

Seek customized treatment that takes your individual needs into account. Be open to the recovery journey and you can achieve a happier, healthier life.

How Summit Detox Can Help

Summit Detox offers detox programs, as well as short-term, residential mental health treatment programs. We address a wide range of conditions, including co-occurring disorders.

We are proud to offer:

  • Specialized staff, including licensed mental health counselors, master’s level certified addiction professionals, addiction psychiatrists, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners.
  • High-quality, customized care.
  • 24/7 medical supervision. This is particularly important if you are withdrawing from substances of abuse, including alcohol.

Focusing on your psychological, physical, social, and spiritual well-being, our mental health treatment programs will help you achieve a happier, more rewarding life.

To get started, please contact us today!


  1. Burrone, M. et al. Prevalence of Mood and Anxiety Disorders Among Adults Seeking Care in Primary Healthcare Centers in Cordoba, Argentina. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00232/full
  2. Flory JD, Yehuda R. Comorbidity between post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder: alternative explanations and treatment considerations. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4518698/
  3. DiMaria, L. The Various Types of Mood Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00232/fullhttps://www.verywellmind.com/mood-disorder-1067175
  4. Rowland, T. Marwaha, S. Epidemiology and risk factors for bipolar disorder. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6116765/
  5. Swartz, H. Psychotherapy for Bipolar Disorder in Adults: A Review of the Evidence. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4536930/
  6. NAMI. Different Types of Therapy for Bipolar Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/April-2019/Different-Types-of-Therapy-for-Bipolar-Disorder

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