What is a mood disorder? A mood disorder is a condition in which the prevailing feelings (ie: mood) are distorted or inappropriate for the circumstances. For example, feelings of worry, sadness, or irritability may surface on an otherwise great day. For some, the inability to justify such negative emotions, leads them to feel guilty–blaming and shaming themselves for not being able to enjoy themselves on a great day. Others justify the negative feelings by displacing them to other trivial events in their lives, or if there are no events to use, they create crises for themselves and others. In either case, the things that they have blown out of proportion cool down, and the person feels guilty, adding to the severity of the problem.
If you are an individual in this situation, you are trapped–a hostage your emotions. Because your view is foggy, you can’t understand your mental state, and all efforts to compensate make your situation worse. Distorted beliefs begin to form and you find yourself having thoughts such as “No one likes me,” or “I’m a burden on others,” or “They are better off without me,” or even “They want to get rid of me.” You may start to believe that, “I’m better than all of them,” or “They are just jealous.” If you find that these situations describe you, then the longer you wait to get help, the more fixed the negative feelings will become, and the greater the chaos will be in your life.
The disorder may manifest itself as depression only. The affected individual consistently feels down and experiences malaise (lack of energy) and has no interests to pursue, nor the desire to do so. The disorder may also be bipolar in nature, in which case, the person experiences sudden fluctuations in mood, ranging from depression, to anger and irritability, to impulsivity and racing thoughts, to becoming hyper talkative.
What causes mood disorders? While mood disorders are mostly genetic in origin, they are usually triggered by stressful events that require adjustments, or role changes. The stressors may be major, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or illness; or they may also be relatively minor. The genetic predisposition and ability to change roles, rather than the severity of the stressors, determine the risk for mood disorders. The feeling “I can’t keep going like this,” strongly suggests that your brain is begging you to seek help.
What treatments are available for mood disorders? Mood disorders are highly treatable and the outcomes are very good. Antidepressant medications help most people, but used by themselves, the effect is usually neither sufficient, nor very enduring. Combining the antidepressants with specific types of psychotherapy to correct distorted core beliefs and to provide a skill set to recognize and deal with inappropriate emotions, results in a very good level of success. For more information about mood disorders, please contact PPS.