What are mood disorders?
- Mood disorders are treatable medical conditions involving changes in mood, thought, energy and behavior. A person with bipolar disorder (manic depression), has moods that usually alternate between mania, or extremely “up” mood, and depression. A person with major (uni-polar) depression has periods of “down” mood.
- Mood disorders have many symptoms, including:
Symptoms of depression:
- Sad, empty, irritable or tearful mood most of the day, nearly every day
- No interest in or pleasure from activities once enjoyed
- Major changes in appetite or body weight
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Feelings of restlessness or being slowed down
- Fatigue, exhaustion, lack of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- Inability to concentrate or make decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms of mania:
- Feeling overly energetic, high, better than good, or unusually irritable for at least one week
- Very high self-esteem, feeling all-powerful
- Decreased need for sleep without feeling tired
- Talking more than usual, feeling pressure to keep talking
- Racing thoughts, many ideas coming all at once
- Distracted easily, thoughts or statements jumping topic-to-topic
- Increase in goal-directed activity, restlessness
- Excessive pursuit of pleasure (e.g., financial or sexual) without thought of consequences
Similar to a manic episode, but less severe. It is clearly different from a non-depressed mood with an obvious change in behavior that is unusual or out-of-character.
Mixed state (also called mixed mania):
A period during which symptoms of a manic and a depressive episode are present at the same time.
Is a prolonged moderate state of depressed mood, symptoms include poor appetite or overeating, insomnia or over sleeping, low energy or fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration or difficulty making decisions and feelings of hopelessness.
occurs when a person has
four or more manic, hypomanic, mixed or depressive episodes within a 12-month period. For many people, rapid cycling is temporary.
What is the difference between a mood disorder and ordinary mood swings?
- Intensity: Mood swings that come with a mood disorder are usually more severe than ordinary mood swings.
- Length: A bad mood is usually gone in a few days, but mania or depression can last weeks or months.
- Interference with life: The extremes can cause serious problems. For example, depression can make a person unable to get out of bed or go to work, while mania can cause a person to go for days without sleep or spend money he or she does not have.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
730 N. Franklin Street, Suite 501 Toll-free: (800) 826-3632
Chicago, Illinois 60654-7225 Fax: (312) 642-7243