Mood disorders affect over 43 million Americans, making this type of mental condition one of the most common afflictions in the country. A chemical imbalance in the brain may contribute to disorders affecting the moods, and genetics may also play a part, as mood disorders can be found in more than one member of a family. Even environmental factors may contribute somewhat to fluctuating moods among various people.

Depression

Depression is a prevalent mental disorder that can deeply disturb the functioning of an individual, thus negatively impacting his or her lifestyle. A depressed state of mind finds no joy in life, and sadness predominates over everything else. A major form of depression will be crippling, so that the individual feels hopeless about the future and helpless to do anything about it. This type of depression is not the normal sadness that is experienced when certain stressful events happen in life, such as illness or death. This is a debilitating state of mind that deeply affects how a person feels. It may last for months and even be the cause of suicidal thoughts, as death is sometimes believed to be the only way out.

Depression may affect approximately 19 million Americans, but it can be treated in a way that will allow the depressed individual to live a productive life and again find joy in living. Antidepressant medications, forms of psychotherapy and relaxation techniques can all help to alleviate the depressed state of mind and help the individual to find peace, contentment and happiness.

Bipolar Disorder

This is a disorder that consists of alternating episodes of mania and depression. Sometimes the episodes will switch quickly, or they may happen on a slower basis. When a manic episode occurs, there may be feelings of extreme euphoria and heightened energy that actually keeps the individual from sleeping. Impulsive decisions may be made, and judgment may be poor. Rapid speech and racing thoughts are also part of this type of episode. There may be an increased sex drive along with social behavior that may be inappropriate.

When depression strikes, the individual will be thrown into the depths of despair. Sadness, hopelessness and feelings of guilt will often accompany this phase of Bipolar Disorder. Other symptoms include sleepiness or inability to sleep, low self-esteem, a loss of appetite or an increase in appetite and thoughts of suicide. In fact, an individual with Bipolar Disorder has a greater chance of attempting suicide because of the severity of the depressed feelings that are experienced.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

This form of depression usually occurs as a result of the seasons, mostly taking place in the wintertime. Symptoms may include sadness, decreased energy, lack of interest in activities, a withdrawal from social interactions, increase in appetite which results in weight gain, lethargy, and fatigue during the day, and increased sleeping at night. This disorder is usually the result of diminished daylight during the winter months, and forms of light therapy may actually help to alleviate the condition.

Treatment for Depression

Mood disorders require specific treatments in order to allow the individual to resume a normal lifestyle. In the case of depression, antidepressants are most often used. These drugs will help to alleviate the depressed state of mind. Psychotherapy is also used, as this form of treatment has proven to be very beneficial in helping depressed individuals to understand their condition. Having a support group to discuss experiences with can be of great assistance in dealing with depressed feelings and finding encouragement.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Mood stabilizing drugs are often used to treat different forms of mood disorders, especially Bipolar Disorder. Since this condition consists of major fluctuations in emotions, there needs to be some type of stabilization in order for beneficial results to be obtained. Bipolar Disorder is a long-term condition and will require treatment throughout the person’s life.

Psychotherapy has also proven to be helpful in treating this disorder, as a qualified therapist can help the individual to learn more about his or her condition and how to deal with it. The more that is known about the condition, the better equipped the individual will be to handle any problems that may arise.

Better lifestyle management will also allow the individual with Bipolar Disorder to deal with his or her condition. Getting beneficial sleep, sticking to a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and staying away from alcohol and recreational drugs are all ways to help bring stability into the life of an individual with this disorder.

The support of family and friends will go a long way in helping an individual with Bipolar Disorder, as it will with all types of mood disorders. Support groups can provide encouragement, understanding and reassurance. There is no reason to suffer with conditions that can be helped with the proper treatments.