What are Mood Disorders?
Over 3 million Canadians over the age of 18 reported experiencing a mood disorder at some point in their lives. This number is continuing to rise, especially amongst the younger generations. The Mayo Clinic describes someone having a mood disorder with a general emotional state that is distorted or inconsistent with circumstances and interferes with the ability to function normally.
A mood disorder is a mental illness that affects how one views and feels about themselves and others around them. Examples of mood disorders include Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Dysthymia (a chronic form of depression), and Depression.
Symptoms & Difficulties of Mood Disorders
- Extreme sadness and hopelessness.
- Unwillingness to want to socialize or interact with people.
- Inability or unwillingness to leave the house as a result of severe depression or severe mania.
- Having substance abuse, issues with drugs or alcohol.
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviour.
- Inability to focus at work or school due to fluctuations between severe mania and severe depression.
Types of Mood Disorders
- Bipolar Disorder
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Chronic Depression (Dysthymia)
What Causes Mood Disorders?
Mood disorders have been found to have a strong genetic and biological component. However, they are likely caused by many different factors that work interchangeably together in addition to genetics, such as their environment, life experiences, personality, and other health problems.
1.What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by intensive mood and energy fluctuations resulting in manic, hypomanic, and severe depressive episodes. Drastic mood swings can be dangerous, and a person can experience racing thoughts that result in poor judgment and risky behaviour.
Symptoms connected to Bipolar Disorder:
During a manic episode, the individual may experience:
- Elevated good mood and levels of high energy
- Racing thoughts and restlessness
- Engage in erratic, risky behavior
- Become overly talkative or irritable
- Lose a desire for sleep
- Inability to concentrate
During a depressive episode, the individual may experience:
- feeling extremely low, sad
- feelings of worthlessness, guilt
- changes in sleep patterns
- lack energy and interest
- may have thoughts of death and suicide
- Catatonic behavior (does not react to environmental stimuli, not speaking)
Types of Bipolar Disorder:
- Bipolar 1 Disorder (manic)
- Bipolar 2 Disorder (hypomanic and depressive)
- Cyclothymia Disorder (a milder form with hypomanic and depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years)
2.What Is Depression?
Depression is a mental illness that affects a person’s mood. Much more than having a bad day, a person with depression can suffer for a long time without treatment and support. It’s a common and serious medical illness that affects you from how you feel, think, and act. Things you used to enjoy, you no longer do and things that are good for you no longer take priority.
Symptoms of Depression
- Regular sad mood
- Limited or diminished pleasure in activities
- Feeling worthless
- Excessive feelings of guilt
- Irritability and trouble making decisions
- Difficulty concentrating
- Aches and pains
- Significant weight loss or weight gain or change in appetite
- Trouble concentrating
- Fatigue or little physical energy Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
What Causes Depression?
There are several reasons as to why one may develop depression, both biological and environmental. Causes can include:
- family history of depression
- childhood trauma, abusive relationships, divorce, breakups
- loss and grief
- certain medical conditions, illness, surgery
- drug and alcohol use
- underactive frontal lobe
- hormone imbalances and dysfunction
- Poor nutrition and diet (food sensitivities, sugar, inflammatory foods)
How can we help?
Mood disorders like depression are harmful to an individual’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being. If left untreated, an individual may experience unnecessary suffering and they can harm themselves or those around them. It is crucial that an individual gets an immediate diagnosis and help at the onset of symptoms.
Proven, effective treatment is available through a comprehensive approach that changes an individual’s way of feeling, thinking, and coping with their depression. Consider these therapies at Elumind:
- Psychotherapy works to reduce the burden and help stabilize the mood and thinking.
- Functional Medicine provides a protocol that works to rebalance the brain’s function through nutrition, working to address things like food sensitivities, sugar overloading, and toxins in the diet.
- Neurofeedback helps alleviate symptoms by retraining the central nervous system to reorganize brain signals and regulate brainwave frequencies.