Mental Disorder : Mood Disorder

Introduction
Mood disorder is formally known as bipolar disorder. Individuals experiencing it have periods of high intense energy and excitement alternating with periods of lethargy and depression. Mood disorders lead to emotional disturbances.

Types of Mood Disorders
According to DSM-VI, there are two major mood disorders: major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

  • Major Depressive Disorder
    Occasionally everyone feels down or depressed. Major depressive disorder is one of the most widespread of the disorders. Major depressive disorder is more common in women as in men. Studies show that sex difference in depression emerges in early adolescence.

    Major depressive disorders are recurring in nature. Most depression goes away with time. An untreated depressive episode may stretch for six to eight months or even longer.
    Symptoms of major depressive disorder include more than just profoundly sad mood. Also there are disturbances of sleep, appetite, weight and activity level.

    The symptoms and signs of depression vary across the life span. Depression in children results in their being overly active, irritable, and aggressive. In adolescents, depression manifests itself through negativism, antisocial behavior and a feeling of being misunderstood. In older adults, depression is often characterized by distractibility and memory loss.
     
  • Bipolar Disorder
    Bipolar disorder is characterized by elated or irritable mood, talkativeness, and hyperactivity of mania. Episodes of depression are also noticed. These symptoms are severe enough to cause serious impairment in social or occupational functioning or to require hospitalization.

    The symptoms of bipolar disorder are high self-esteem, increased energy level at work or sexually, racing thoughts leading to incoherent speech and frequent change of topic, decreased need for sleep and inability to concentrate and make decision and excessive involvement in activities leading to undesirable consequences.

    Mania usually comes on suddenly, over the period of a day or two. Untreated episodes may last from a few days to several months.

Causes & Treatment
Studies show that mood disorder is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Biological evidences suggest that norepinephrine is above normal level during mania. Thyroid disorders are also responsible for mood disorders.

Before any treatment, it is important to receive a complete medical evaluation to rule out any other mental or physical disorders. Bipolar disorder is a long-term illness. People suffering from it usually require treatment for the rest of their lives. People having this illness should be under the care of a skilled psychiatrist.

Though there is no known cure, most forms of bipolar disorder are eminently treatable with medication and supportive psychotherapy. Self-help groups can offer emotional support and assistance in recognizing signs of relapse to avert a full-blown episode of mood disorder.

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