Mood Disorders

At some point in our lives, we have used the word MOOD. In fact, we make statements like “I am not in a good mood”, “I feel moody” etc. One thing we might not know is that as normal as the word seems, it could be a cause for discomfort for a person’s health.

Moods is an internal, subjective state. Moods are less specific than feelings. For instance, a person might be angry (feeling), and therefore will not be in a mood to socialize. Sometimes, moods are dependent on feelings such as happiness, anger, fear. Other times however, a person may just fall into a mood, without any prompt.

A person’s mood can influence how they process information, and react to it.

What is Mood disorder?

Mood disorder is a mental health illness that primarily affects a person’s emotional state. This illness may manifest in long periods of extreme happiness, extreme sadness or both. It is a normal experience for a person’s mood to change based on situations and events, but a person may be said to have mood disorder if the symptoms (extreme happiness, extreme sadness or both) persists for several weeks or longer.

Type of Mood Disorder

There are various types of Mood Disorders but the major ones that we are likely to come across in our everyday life include Depression, Anxiety Disorder and Bipolar Disorder.


Depression, also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression is one of the common mood disorders. It is primarily characterized by extreme sadness which is persistent over a long period of time without the event of a crisis situation.

There are various types of depression and the symptoms vary according to the type of depression that is manifesting.

Anxiety Disorder

Experiencing anxiety is a natural event, which we experience at some point in our lives. We could feel anxiety about an upcoming exam, or about an interview, or about making a public presentation. However, it becomes a problem when this anxiety persists for a long period of time, with or without a cause, to the point where it affects daily functioning.

Just as with depression, there are various types of anxiety disorders, and the symptoms vary accordingly.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by a swing in a person’s mood from periods of depression to mania (extreme high energy or mood). There are two major types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I: is characterized by depressive episode that often lasts for at least 2 weeks, followed by (or in addition with) mania episodes that persists for at least a week.
  • Bipolar II: here the individual experiences depression lasting at least 2 weeks and hypomania (which is a less severe form of mania). An individual with Bipolar II may be able to go about their daily activities and may not require hospitalization.

When to watch out for Mood Disorder

Symptoms of mood disorders vary depending on the type of mood disorder present. Some of the general symptoms may include:

  • Feeling sad almost every day
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Loss of interest in things that formerly brought enjoyment.
  • Lack of energy or extremely energized
  • Feeling worthless
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Suicidal thoughts

You may be wondering who is at risk of having this disorder. Well, everyone is at risk of having a mood disorder. Certain people are at a higher risk of living with this disorder than others and these people include:

  • Individuals with a family history of any type of the mood disorder.
  • Individuals who live alone
  • Individual with some other medical conditions.
  • Individuals with some other type of mental illness

Can mood disorder be treated?

Mood disorders have to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. A multidisciplinary team of professionals (including a psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist, a psychiatric nurse and a social worker) can help an individual come up with a treatment plan that best suits his/her symptoms, as well as the individual’s personal traits.

Treatment of the various mood disorders usually involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Therapy may be conducted by a psychologist, psychiatrist or other health professional.

Mood disorders are as real and discomforting as any other physical illness and should be treated with as much priority. Seek help if you feel any of the symptoms above or feel like you are stuck in a particular mood for an elongated period of time.

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