Sometimes referred to as affective disorders, mood disorders are more common than most are aware of. Modern science had aided in the treatment of a variety of disorders and consequently made their symptoms manageable enough for the diagnosed to live a very normal life. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that 20.9 million US citizens ages 18 and older have been diagnosed with one. That means it’s quite probable that you know someone with a mood disorder.
In all reality you likely have a coworker, friend or even family member suffering from a disorder such as depression, bipolar or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Being unaware of it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Many victims of mood disorders don’t speak up about their troubles
because there’s an overwhelming stigma against mental illness in America. According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, those who are aware that something is wrong may still delay treatment or even the pursuit of a diagnosis due to this stigmatization.
Think about how many times you’ve heard someone callously refer to another person’s behavior as “crazy” or “bipolar.” It’s so common in our society to use such terminology loosely that you hear the references often in movies and song lyrics. Now think about how it might feel to someone who actually has bipolar disorder to hear those comments. The same APA study claims that the American stigma against mental illness diminishes self-esteem in sufferers of these disorders.
Traditionally, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) grouped many disorders together with regard to each being a mood disorder. Recent updates in the manual have changed the classifications so that “depressive disorders” and “bipolar and related disorders” are their own subsets, per Healthline. Nonetheless, all are mood-related disorders that require somewhat similar treatment and exhibit some like symptoms. According to Healthline, anxiety disorders are also considered to be mood disorders.
The signs of a mood disorder aren’t always obvious. Not everyone experiences them in the same fashion, but most have similar red flags. If you suspect that you or someone you know might be suffering from a mood disorder, look for these telltale signs, per Johns Hopkins Medicine:
- Ongoing feelings of despair and hopelessness
- Extreme guilt, self-loathing, and feeling like you don’t measure up
- Feeling like you want to die
- Loss of interest in things you once liked doing
- Strained relationships
- Trouble sleeping or excessive sleepiness
- Appetite and weight fluctuations
- Trouble concentrating
- Suicidal ideations
- Physical ailments; aches and pains that persist
- Feeling like you want to run away; “fight or flight” response
- Aggressive moods/behaviors; feeling irritable or argumentative
- Loss of ability to make decisions
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