Many people in today’s society suffer from mood disorders and they are more common than you may think. By definition, a mood disorder is a mood or an emotional state that is warped, distorted, or twisted, and does not coincide with the reality of their current situation. When people think of mood disorders, two common disorders, bipolar disorder which is commonly referred to as manic depression, and general depression come to mind.
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Types of Depressive Disorders
Major depression is the most common form of a mood disorder that affects people in today’s society. When depression lasts more than two weeks for any given situation and daily activities are affected, this form of depression can be detected easily. There are a few different signs and symptoms that you may notice with major depression, such as changes in a person’s feelings, thinking, and behavior.
As far as feelings are concerned, a person may feel sad or anxious. People who do not feel sad or anxious may feel like they are helpless or hopeless, and may have mood swings or experience an increase in irritability.
Depression affects the way a person thinks. With major depression, a person may experience lack of memory of an increased loss of concentration which is enough to drive a person insane for a while. Along with poor memory and concentration issues, a person may experience issues making decisions, have thoughts of suicide, and self-criticism may become another issue a person has to face.
Depression not only affects a person’s thinking ability, it also affects a person’s behavior. People who suffer from major depression may have crying fits, withdraw from others, especially friends and family, and may have a decrease in motivation. A decrease in motivation is best noticed in a person’s work habits, whether it is at a facility or around the home. One sign that sticks out like a sore thumb is the lack of care for their personal appearance. You may remember your friend or relative may have cared about their appearance until now, and it’s one of the easiest signs to notice. A person who sleeps too much or does not sleep at all may be an indication that they are suffering from major depression. Diet is another sign that is easily noticed. Some people lose their appetite entirely while others may gain excessive weight because their appetite has increased drastically.
Post-partum depression is mostly associated with women who are experiencing “baby blues” which occurs during the first and second week after birth is given to a baby. One a baby is born, the hormones that were once present during pregnancy slowly revert to what they were before pregnancy which causes some women to experience various levels of depression. Some symptoms will last longer than others and affect a person differently.
There are a few signs and symptoms that accompany post-partum depression. Intense and irrational fear are two common and most noticeable signs that post-partum depression is occurring. Some people experience a guilty feeling or take a disinterest in their newborn child. Feeling restless and weeping are two other signs that post-partum depression may be a concern.
Many people are shocked to find out that bipolar disorder is not as common as they think. Bipolar disorder is the most difficult mood disorder to diagnose. Bipolar disorder, also referred to as manic depression makes a person experience all of the signs and symptoms of other depressive disorders at the highest level of toleration in the most extreme form. The highs and lows of depression that are associated with bipolar disorder can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks or months.
There are many signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder that may be easier to notice than others. People who suffer from bipolar disorder may experience an elevated mood and feel more energetic than usual. Some people who suffer from this disorder don’t need as much sleep as they once did. Bipolar disorder does not affect every person the same way. Some people experience extreme irritability and have a lack of insight. Rapid thoughts and speech often accompany bipolar disorder along with delusions.
Who Does Mood Disorders Affect?
Mood disorders are not limited to a certain race or type of person. These disorders affect women, men, and children, even though the results may vary. As far as women are concerned, bipolar disorder is not as prevalent as depression and dysthymic disorder.
Mood disorders affect young people as well as family members. As far as young adults are concerned, many people show signs of mood disorders during their teens and early 20’s. Young people who suffer from bipolar disorder are generally diagnosed between the ages of 14 and 20.
As far as family members are concerned, having a close relative who suffers from any type of mood disorder increases another family member’s chance of developing the condition. Similar habits and routines are common among close family members.
People who have substance abuse problems are more likely to experience mood disorders. Substances, such as alcohol can trigger mood swings and mood disorders and can make matters a lot worse. Drugs can send a person into a state where they mood disorder takes over their life as long as the “high” lasts and may have after-effects.
People who are dealing and living with mental and health problems, such as AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease are more susceptible to having an issue with mood disorders. Anxiety is another disorder that can cause a person to experience mood disorders.
Am I At Risk for Having a Mood Disorder?
No one wants to be considered different or strange, but the good news is with technology and medication, you can be treated and lead a normal life as long as you take your medication the way it is prescribed. you can evaluate yourself or have your doctor evaluate your situation. If you are at risk for developing a mood disorder, there are a few things you need to keep in mind and keep track of for at least one to two weeks. Keep a journal so your doctor can see what’s going on with you on a daily basis.
Depression can affect anyone at any given time, especially when tragedy is involved. There are several symptoms of depression that will help you determine if you suffer or are at risk for developing a mood disorder.
- One of the first things you may notice is that you have overwhelming feelings of grief and sadness. You can excuse these feelings if something tragic has taken place recently. You need to allow yourself time to grieve and come to terms with the event that has taken place.
- If you have lost interest in the things you used to enjoy doing, such as walking, jogging, biking, or other activities you love taking part in, you may want to further investigate why you lack interest in the things that once made you happy or brought you peace.
- Are you avoiding people? Avoiding strangers is not the issue in this situation. If you are avoiding friends and family members that you normally and regularly talk to, this is another sign that you should seek guidance from your doctor for an answer as to why you are avoiding these people.
- How is your sleeping pattern? Are you getting an adequate amount of sleep? The recommended amount of sleep for every person is 8 hours of sleep each day. Are you sleeping less or more than 8 hours each day? If you are close to sleeping 8 hours each day, you may have nothing to worry about. Sleeping only 2 or 3 hours or sleeping 10 to 12 hours each day is an indication that there is a concern that needs to be addressed.
- Your diet is another essential factor in this situation. Is your diet the same as it has always been or do you find yourself struggling or forcing yourself to eat? In some instances, a person who is suffering from a mood disorder will consume a tremendous amount of food in one setting which is out of character for their diet. Keep track of the foods you consume and how much food you consume.
- Do you find it near impossible to focus and concentrate on tasks that need to be completed? Most people notice concentration difficulty when they are doing homework, at work, or trying to complete household chores. In this situation, you may feel like your mind is running thoughts 1000 miles per minute and you can’t focus on one thought or idea regardless of how hard you try. Try resting for a day or two without doing anything. This is a great way to ease and relax your mind. If after two or three days of relaxing and your mind is still racing and you find it difficult to relax or focus, you may want to speak to your physician regarding the options of treatment that best suit your needs.