A mood disorder is defined as an extreme disturbance in emotional state. According to Ohio State University Medical Center, mood disorders do not have a direct cause but can be connected chemical imbalances in the brain and life changing event (Ohio State University, 2012). Prior to advancements in today's medical fields', mood disorders were not considered to be brain illnesses. There were also no treatments for such "disorders". However, today we are still continuing to learn about the human brain and psychological disorders such as mood disorders and how to effectively treat them (Rogge, 2012). The disorders are grouped into two groups called unipolar and bipolar. Unipolar meaning a person displays one specific mood type, such as sadness; while with bipolar, one can show two specific mood types, perhaps adding periods of elation to the sadness (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008)
In a 2005 survey by the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication study 20.9 Million Americans suffer from a type of mood disorders (NIH Fact Sheet, 2012). There are many types of disorders an individual can be suffering from. Major mood disorders include bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and double depression disorder; while the minor disorders include: dysthymia, cyclothymic disorder, and postpartum depression (PPD). (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008)
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To begin with explaining the major mood disorders we will start with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a condition where people can switch from a very good mood to an irritable mood very quickly. It can begin to develop in individuals between the ages of 15-25 Rogge, 2012). A common name for this is the "mood swing disorder" due to the abruptness in which peoples moods adapt. One moment they may be a bit depressed, having a "down" or "low" period, and a week later they could reach a high. During this high, called mania, people often experience magnified self-esteem, a feeling of super abilities or talents, and "god-like" tendencies. Those suffering from a manic episode may not get much sleep, will be unusually talkative and hyper. They may be easily distracted and have an overwhelming urge to partake in reckless activities. (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008)
The treatment used for bipolar disorder is directly associated with bipolar disorder and none of the other mood disorders. The treatment is aimed to decrease and/or stabilize mood swings. The most common drug used is Lithium Carbonate. It is a highly effective drug and reduces number of manic episodes. However, as effective as the drug is; many patients stop taking the drug due to its side effects. They simply cannot handle to side effects such as grogginess, decrease in motor functions, and weight gain or lost. The drug has also some side effects of mild memory loss and liver problems over a long term period. (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008)
Another one of the main types of mood disorders is major depressive disorder. This disorder is long lasting and can cause issues with your ability to enjoy daily activities, feel pleasure, and enjoy life. (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008) Another word for this disorder would be severe depression. With major depression people tend to have a downcast mood, hopelessness, and trouble sleeping (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008). They can also develop a poor appetite or heavy appetite that could lead to weight loss or weight gain.
Another type of bipolar disorder is cyclothymia. Cyclothymia can develop during late adolescence into early adult hood, and is a milder form of bipolar disorder (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008). In order to make a diagnosis, someone must suffer with symptoms for at least two years. While Lithium can be used to treat cyclothymia also, it is not recommended since the medication comes with such terrible side effects. Typically an anti-seizure medication would be prescribed; or perhaps just therapy (Zieve, 2012).
Similar to depression, there is double depression and dysthymia. Both have to do with depression however, double depression is a long standing dysthymic disorder. With dysthymia you are prone to have mild chronic depression. Studies have shown that at least 4% of percent of people will be effective by this type of mood disorder sometime throughout their life time. The mild states of depression are not as severe as major depression, however; it is likely for dysthymia to progress into major depression if not caught or treated (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008).
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Furthermore, there is a type of depression known as postpartum depression. It is commonly known as the "baby blues". You can experience moods swings and the abrupt change in moods can be on going for a few months to years. With mood swings you may experience depression and mild forms of mania known a hypomanic (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008). Hypomanic is an elevated mood.
Now that the major and minor mood disorders have been covered we can now discuss treatments for them. Besides bipolar disorder and the lithium carbonate treatment; other mood disorders can be treated in any of the following ways about to be discussed.
To begin, one of the types of treatments is known as psychodynamic approaches. This type of theory takes years to uncover the cause of the mood disorder. Within the years of theory, it helps the person understand why they have certain feelings toward life and important people. There is a newer such model of this type of theory called interpersonal psychotherapy. Theory can last 9-12 months (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008). With interpersonal psychotherapy, unlike psychodynamic approaches, it focuses its purpose around current relationships instead of, the underlying issue of why a person has a mood disorder.
In addition, there are behavioral approaches. In complete contrast to psychodynamic approaches, behavioral approaches focus and help individuals develop efficient social and interpersonal skills. This can be pleasurable or rewarding to the individual (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008).
Also, there are treatments known as cognitive therapy. This therapy is meant to diminish patterns of faulty thinking. This faulty thinking, that most people are guilty of doing everyday is very unhealthy. Thoughts involving over-generalizing, jumping to conclusions, should-ing, and labeling can all be treated with cognitive therapy. This therapy is combined of about 14-16 weekly sessions. It helps the individual identify and change dysfunctional thoughts (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008).
In addition to the cognitive, behavioral, and psychodynamic approaches there are also biological approaches to mood disorders. The biological approach would be that of antidepressant drugs. These antidepressant drugs are formulated to increase to availability of neurotransmitters in the brain, and help regulate chemicals. Earlier stated, mood disorders have no direct cause but can be stimulated by chemical imbalances in one's brain. Some of the most common drugs used are Zoloft, Nardil, and Tofranil (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008).
Another biological approach is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). 70-130 volts are passed through the brain and it is generally safe. It is applied to the head to create a convulsion similar to epileptic seizure. Now called shock therapy, treatments vary from 6-12 3 times a week (Nevid J., Rathus, S., Greene,, 2008).
To conclude, we are now knowledgeable of the causes, types, and treatments of mood disorders. Hopefully, we can better understand the psychology stress put on an individual by these disorders. The unipolar and bipolar disorders both have similar moods, yet either more or less severe. Although, there is no direct cause nor ways to prevent these disorders "with medication, psychotherapy, or combined treatment, most people with mood disorders can be effectively treated and resume productive lives" (NIH Fact Sheet, 2012).