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Mood Disorders

Mood disorders can affect almost anyone at a certain point in their life. The term mood disorder is used to classify when a person’s mood has become disturbed from its normal state. There are two major types of mood disorders including manic and hypomanic. Mood disorders can occur due to an induced substance or even a medical condition. Some of the main types of mood disorders include Dysthymic disorderBipolar disorderMajor Depressive disorder and Cyclothymic disorder.

Major depressive disorder (clinical depression) is fairly common. It occurs when a person has a depressive episode. A depressive episode includes feelings of hopelessness, sadness and a general low mood. The cause of depression is unknown, but there is evidence that social, biological and psychological may all be factors. People who suffer from depression may also neglect themselves in terms of sleep and nutritional intake. People who leave clinical depression untreated are at an increased risk for self harm and suicide. There is no known cure for major depressive disorder but medication and therapy have proven to be effective. Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed medication because it can help to alleviate the symptoms of depression. Psychotherapy is often a good way for people suffering from depression to discuss their feelings. It can also help them to develop strategies and coping mechanisms for when they are having a depressive episode.

Bipolar disorder is another type of mood disorder that includes heightened states of mania and low states of depression. When a person with Bipolar disorder is going through a manic state they can have impaired judgement and a greater sense of impulsivity.  Hypomania is another stage that does not affect a person’s state of well-being as much as depressive or manic states. In the hypomania state a person may be more productive and feel a decreased need for food and rest. In the most extreme cases individuals can experience a lost sense of reality and symptoms of psychosis. In a depressive state a person may feel very low and even hopeless. A major depressive episode can last as long as six months, but generally last at least two weeks. Mixed affective states also occur which is also known as rapid cycling. It involves the symptoms of a state of mania and depression occurring simultaneously. Men and women seem to be equally affected by bipolar disorder. The cause of bipolar disorder can vary based on who is suffering with the disorder. There is most likely a genetic contribution which affects chromosomal regions and certain genes. There may also be abnormalities in the structure of the brain of those afflicted with bipolar disorder. Some research suggests that there is a environmental link to those suffering from bipolar disorder, specifically those who have had an abusive childhood. There is no known cure for bipolar disorder, but it can respond well to treatment.

We will discuss many different mood disorders including Dysthymic disorder, Bipolar disorder, Major Depressive disorder and Cyclothymic disorder.

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