It is normal to experiences changes in mood – most people experience periods of sadness, anger, and happiness or excitement from time to time. While changes in mood are normal, for some feelings of sadness, hopelessness and helplessness do not go away. When these feelings last for an extended period or begin to interfere with normal daily activities, they may be signs of a mood disorder.Mood disorders are a group of mental health problems – including depression, bipolar disorder and mania — impacting 9.5 percent of adults in America.
At Endeavor Psychology, we have extensive experience helping adults and older adolescents deal with a range of mood disorders. Our approach to psychotherapy focuses on helping the client:
- Understand and manage their mood disorder by identifying issues that may impact their current thoughts, behaviors and feelings,
- Address negative feelings and implement positive thought patterns and behaviors,
- Treat coexisting issues and conditions that can intensify and prevent successful recovery from mood disorders, and
- Develop strategies to restore feelings of normalcy, capability and confidence in daily life.
What are the signs and symptoms of mood disorders?
The most common types of mood disorders include major depression, dysthymic disorder (a milder depressive disorder), and bipolar disorder, which causes alternating episodes of depression and mania (elevated mood). Symptoms of mood disorders are often expressed through feelings and behaviors. Individuals with mood disorders experience mild to severe feelings of sadness, helplessness or inadequacy that last a long time or become more intense over time.
Common Mood Disorder Symptoms:
- Prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness or inadequacy
- Unexplained crying spells
- Changes in appetite and unexplained weight gain or loss
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of energy
- Guilt and feelings of worthlessness
- Inability to find happiness or take pleasure in interests
- Unexplained body aches and pains
- Feelings of hostility or aggression
- Difficulty interacting with loved ones
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide – *This is a life-threatening symptom; if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and/or believe you are a threat to yourself or others, seek immediate medical care (call 911).
Symptoms of Mania or Elevated Mood that May Accompany Mood Disorders:
- Excessive physical and mental energy/activity
- Decreased sleep, often without fatigue
- Racing thoughts and speech (talking fast or switching topics rapidly)
- Impulsiveness, reckless behavior, or “poor” judgment
- Feelings of self-importance and omnipotence
- In severe cases, experiences of delusions and hallucinations
Serious/Potentially Life-Threatening Symptoms:
In severe cases, mood disorders can be life threatening. If you or a loved is experiencing any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately (call 911)
- Posing a danger to yourself or others, including suicidal, threatening or dangerous behaviors
- Feelings of wanting to die, suicidal thoughts or expressions
- Delusions/hallucinations, hearing voices or seeing things that do not exist
- Inability to care for your basic needs
How are mood disorders treated?
Mood disorders can worsen if left undiagnosed or untreated; delays in getting the correct diagnosis and treatment can contribute to personal, social, and work-related problems. Proper diagnosis and treatment can help people with mood disorders lead healthy and productive lives. In most cases, treatment can help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes.
Treatment for mood disorders is aimed at addressing negative feelings, helping you to feel normal, capable, and ready for your daily life. Common treatments of mood disorders include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to examine the interaction between your thoughts and beliefs, feelings and emotions, and behaviors
- Interpersonal therapy to work on discovering and understanding past and current relationships and their impact on current thoughts, emotions and behaviors
- Identification and treatment of coexisting conditions
- Mood-stabilizing medications and/or antidepressant medications to improve moods
- Antipsychotic medications, if indicated, to treat disordered thought patterns and altered perceptions
- Support groups
How can Endeavor Psychology help me address my mood disorder?
At Endeavor Psychology, we use an integrative approach to psychotherapy to help people deal with mood disorders. Our approach focuses on the experiences and strengths of individuals and draws heavily on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) therapy to help people deal with mood disorders. Our approach leverages behavior modification to help clients consider healthy lifestyle changes (healthy diet, good sleep hygiene, and regular exercise) that have been shown to decrease symptoms and improve outcomes for individuals with mood disorders.
We can also refer clients to a medication provider or consult with a client’s current medication provider to help clients explore medication options.
If you believe that you or someone you care about is struggling with a mood disorder, please contact us for a consultation.