If you experience a mood disorder, your emotional state may be distorted or inconsistent with your circumstances, affecting your ability to function. This can manifest as extreme sadness, emptiness, or irritability (depression), or alternating periods of depression and excessive happiness (mania).

Anxiety disorders often accompany mood disorders and may elevate the risk of suicide. Various types of mood disorders exist, including:

  • Major Depressive Disorder: Prolonged and persistent periods of extreme sadness
  • Bipolar Disorder: Alternating episodes of depression and mania
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Depression associated with fewer daylight hours in certain latitudes
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: Emotional ups and downs less extreme than bipolar disorder
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: Mood changes and irritability during the premenstrual phase
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): Chronic, long-term form of depression
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder: Chronic irritability and temper outbursts in children
  • Depression Related to Medical Illness: Depressed mood directly related to another medical condition
  • Depression Induced by Substance Use or Medication: Depression symptoms triggered by substance use or withdrawal

Mood disorders can often be effectively treated with a combination of medications and talk therapy (psychotherapy).

When to See a Doctor

If you suspect you have a mood disorder, it’s crucial to seek professional help promptly. Don’t hesitate to talk to a friend, loved one, faith leader, or someone you trust if you’re reluctant to seek treatment.

Consult a healthcare professional if you experience any of the following:

  • Interference of emotions with work, relationships, or social activities
  • Struggles with alcohol or drug use
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors – seek emergency treatment immediately

Mood disorders rarely resolve on their own and may worsen over time. Seeking help early on can make treatment easier and more effective.

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For most people, mood disorders can be successfully treated with medications and talk therapy.

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