Mood Disorders

While every day, we feel a rollercoaster of emotions, mood disorders are disorders that affect your mood, making you go from extremely low (depressed) to extremely high (manic) in mood, to the point that it affects your abilities in daily life. These drastic fluctuations in mood can disrupt your relationships, education or job. The different types of mood disorders include major depressive disorder (or depression), dysthymia, bipolar disorder, cyclothymic disorder and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.

What are the related symptoms?

The symptoms of mood disorders can affect daily life making daily tasks and demands of life difficult to deal with. Because there are different types of mood disorders, each type will have its own symptoms.
The general symptoms during a depressive state, however, often include:

  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
  • Fatigue
  • Crying
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling "flat," like you just don't have the energy to care
  • Feeling isolated, sad, hopeless, and worthless
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts about dying and/or suicide

During a manic episode, symptoms that are common include:

  • Periods of happiness, bliss and feeling on a ‘high'
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability, agitation or excessive energy
  • Feeling like you are invincible
  • Impulsive and risky behaviour
  • Racing thoughts
  • Rapid speech
  • Being easily distracted
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersexuality

What can cause a mood disorder to develop?

While many may fear the diagnosis of a mood disorder, it is essential that those who feel they - or a friend of theirs - may have these symptoms seek help from a health professional. In most cases, mood disorders are caused by a variety of factors beyond our control. They can be hereditary, due to chemical imbalances in your brain or traumatic or stressful life events. They can also be caused by certain medications, and substance abuse can make symptoms worse.

It is common for those with mood disorders to alienate friends and family. For adolescents, these disorders can cause them to alienate more and more people around them, struggle to make friends and difficulty performing at school causing lasting consequences for their future. From suicide, a risk of injury or trauma caused by reckless and dangerous or hopeless and depressed behaviour, the symptoms of mood disorders can cause an aftermath of pain and hurt if left untreated, for both adolescents and adults.

What are the possible treatment options?

While the symptoms as mentioned earlier are common among those with mood disorders, diagnosis of a mood disorder can only be made by a medical professional like a psychiatrist. If you suspect you or someone you care for has presented these symptoms for two weeks or longer, especially if suicidal thoughts are involved, it is essential to see Dr Chawane discuss what may be the cause.

After a proper evaluation, Dr Chawane may help plan the best treatment options specifically for you to enhance your quality of life and allow you to continue life without the burden of these symptoms. Treatment may include therapy, medications to help regulate imbalanced hormones or a combination of both. For those diagnosed with mood disorders like major depression and low mood, medications like antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs may be prescribed to alleviate emotional distress and correct imbalances. For other mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, lifelong medications of mood stabilisers may be needed to ensure moods remain consistent. For some, cognitive behavioural or psychotherapy may also be aimed at helping the patient identify and recognise patterns of behaviour and thoughts that may mean that their disorder is resurfacing or getting more uncontrollable. With this knowledge, patients can seek additional treatment when they know they may need it. Dr Chawane also works with a multidisciplinary team consisting of a clinical and counselling psychologist, occupational therapist and social workers and that patients will be referred accordingly to if required.