Mood Disorder


Mood disorder is the general term for a collection of mental illnesses characterized by a disruption of normal mood. They include depression, bipolar disorder, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some experts include anxiety disorder on that list, but others say it doesn’t fit the mood disorder category. Mood Disorders are characterized by a disruption of normal mood. They can be difficult to diagnose because they often have similar symptoms and can co-exist with other psychiatric illnesses. These disorders are thought to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.

People with mood disorders have changes in their mood, which can last for long periods of time or come and go over time. Certain types of mood disorders may cause people to feel very sad, or irritable and angry. Other types may cause them to have feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness. Some types of mood disorders cause changes in energy levels and sleeping patterns. Some people even experience changes in appetite and eating habits.

Mood disorders are also referred to as:

  • Affective Disorders

Key Things to Know About Mood Disorders

  • Mood disorders can make life hard in so many ways, including family and relationships, work, school or other activities. Getting help early is important because some treatments can stop symptoms before they get worse.
  • Anyone can experience a temporary emotional or behavioral problem. When this happens, you may have symptoms of depression or anxiety but they are short lived. A mood disorder has more severe symptoms over a longer period of time. Mood disorders can be treated through therapy and medications.
  • Mood disorder is caused by disruptions or abnormalities in brain circuits that control mood.

Treatments for Mood Disorders

Mood disorders can be treated with medication, psychotherapy, light therapy, and lifestyle changes. Treatment depends on the type and severity of the mood disorder. See definitions of depression and bipolar disorder for more information.

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