Mood Disorders Q & A
by Dr. Brady, Psy.D
What does it mean to have a mood disorder?
Mood disorder is just a fancy term for being emotional. Generally, it is used in reference to an emotion that is holding you back or perhaps not really warranted based on the current situation. Anger that becomes uncontrollable rage is a good example of a mood disorder in action. Prolonged depression is also a type of mood disorder.
Other examples of mood disorders include:
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Persistent depressive disorder
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
- Bipolar disorder
Some of these are treated medically, but all benefit from psychotherapy, as well.
What causes a mood disorder?
There is no easy answer to that question because the root cause is different for every patient. Usually, it is a combination of environmental, psychological, genetic, and biological factors. In other words, a person may be prone to depression, but a specific event like the death of a parent can aggravate and enhance the emotion of grief and hopelessness. The goal of psychotherapy is to find that root cause and help work through it. That treatment helps the patient manage their moods.
What are the symptoms of a mood disorder?
They vary from person to person. Some common emotional symptoms include:
- Thoughts of suicide
- Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
- Feeling of emptiness
- Persistent anxiety
- Overwhelming pessimism
Some patient exhibits signs of mania instead of sadness. This is also common with mood disorders. Symptoms of mania include:
- Prolonged elation
- Grandiose actions
- Impulsive behavior
There are often physical signs of a mood disorder, as well, such as:
- Lack of energy
- Body aches
- Difficulty waking up
Is a mood disorder the same thing as having an addiction?
You do often hear these 2 issues linked together, but not because they are the same thing. Sometimes people with a mood disorder will self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. They want to feel better, so they drink or take something to get high. Most addiction has an underlying problem that falls into the category of a mood disorder. In order to help, Dr. Brady diagnoses and treats both problems at once.