Types of Mood Disorders: An inside look

Types of Mood Disorders. Did you know that mood disorders could increase the risk of developing other disorders? Across the United States, a prominent amount of individuals experience some sort of mood alteration in their lifetime. Which can often lead to the struggle of how one goes about their life on a daily basis. Mood disorders cause an individual’s emotions to run rampant and typically become cyclical. This continues to lead to an increase in anxiety disorders and a heightened risk of suicide. What types of mood disorders are there? Do the different types of mood disorders have the same symptoms? Are the different types of mood disorders treated the same way? And much more in this article.  

Types of mood disorders

Types of mood disorders

Types of Mood Disorders

How many types of mood disorders are there?

There are many types of mood disorders, all of which have their own unique structure. The most common types of mood disorders are major depression, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, substance-induced disorder, and health-related mood disorder. Occurring the most is major depression, where approximately seven percent of the United States population is affected each year (National Institute of Mental Health, n.d.). According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (2018), the main source of disability for individuals living in the United States is major depression.

Types of Mood Disorders: Symptoms

The most prevalent symptoms of mood disorders are made up of

Emotional symptoms:

  • Strong feelings of sadness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Constant anxiety
  • Helpless feelings

Physical symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Body aches
  • Insomnia
  • Oversleeping

Mood disorders often have a very high likeliness of treatability, and by acknowledging the symptoms individuals can get the help they need. Symptoms come in both emotional and physical aspects where they can often look different for every individual.

Age is one prominent factor that plays a role in the symptoms that an individual may represent, not to mention the type of mood disorder present can have its own set of symptoms as well. Typically emotional symptoms encompass strong feelings of sadness that are prolonged over a period of time.

Other emotions such as anger and anxiety may also coincide, while suicidal thoughts are also something that an individual can potentially experience. Physical symptoms can be just as prominent where an individual may be experiencing aches throughout their body and the loss of their appetite.

Sleep loss is another symptom that is greatly linked to mood disorders. Though the inability to sleep is one prominent sign of major depression, oversleeping can also be a warning sign. One of the biggest questions that surround the instance of sleep, and mood disorders today is whether sleep disorders directly cause depression.

Sleep disorders more specifically influence mood disorders, but in most situations, they do not cause the disorder initially (Wirz-Justice, 2006). All of these symptoms both emotional and physical raise concern, and warrant the expertise of a trained professional.

Types of Mood Disorders: An inside look

Types of Mood Disorders: Causes

Types of Mood Disorders: Biological

There are a handful of things that play a role in the overall cause of mood disorders, whether it is biological, psychological, cultural, or social. Though the causes of mood disorders are not specific, there are a variety of insights that one can gain to further understand the concept. Biologically there has been a large connection between mood disorders and the potential causation. Individuals who have mood disorders will often represent a few different biological traits such as, hormonal and brain chemical imbalances. Hormonal imbalances are quite common in individuals suffering from a variety of different types of mood disorders. Where these hormonal problems can often set off a mood disorder and or directly cause it. Brain chemical imbalances are also very common, occurring when neurotransmitters are over or under produced (Lacasse & Leo, 2005). Genetics is another aspect that must be taken into consideration. Family lineage can often determine the likeliness of a mood disorder through the various biological aspects.

Types of Mood Disorders: Psychological

Trauma is a very prominent influencer of mood disorders, specifically in the instance of childhood psychological trauma. A particular study conducted research on this connection concluding that mood disorders occurring in adulthood are often the direct effect of early childhood trauma (Zavaschi et al, 2006). Often times though adolescents can also experience mood disorders following a traumatic instance. It is important to keep in mind the differences in how a mood disorder can represent itself dependent upon age. A child’s brain in comparison to an adult’s brain is going to look quite different, making some symptoms of mood disorders unique to adolescents alone.

Types of Mood Disorders: Cultural and Social

Culture regularly plays a role in the way that mood disorders represent themselves. Religious aspects are one of the significant cultural factors that impact human life and one’s behavior. In many cultures, there is a stigma about religion and mood disorders, mostly due to the lack of interpretation. In all cultural settings socialization is also something that is a vital aspect of life. Mood disorders, in particular, can have a negative impact on the social ability an individual has.

Types of Mood Disorders: Risk Factors

There are a few risk factors that are associated with mood disorders such as, brain anatomy, environment, and genetics. One of these factors on its own is not as influential, it’s when two or more of these factors are present and working together can it cause a mood disorder. Genetics is listed as a risk factor, as mood disorders are typically known to be prevalent in families. Individuals who have no past history of mood disorders in their family are less likely to develop a mood disorder. Opposed to someone who has a parent or close family member with a mood disorder, increasing their chances through genetics. The environment in which an individual resides can also induce the chances for a mood disorder. This is where trauma can essentially play a role, becoming a trigger in the possible onset of a mood disorder. Another environmental factor that can influence a mood disorder is substance abuse. Brain anatomy, on the other hand, can be directly connected with mood disorders dependent upon medical scans.

Many individuals in their lifetime may experience some type of mood disorder. All individuals’ males, females, and even children can be at potential risk for obtaining a mood disorder. Females, however, are doubly likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder than a male (Kuehner, 2017). Understanding the gender gap provides the various factors into why females are more prone to mood disorders. As there are a handful of biological aspects that make females more prone to a mood disorder it is not the main cause. Environmental and cultural aspects also play a vital role contributing to the increase in mood disorders in females. The way that females interpret stress is essentially why females are more likely to have a mood disorder than a male (Seney & Sibille, 2014).

Types of Mood Disorders: An inside look

Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder than men.

Types of Mood Disorders vs Other Disorders

Types of Mood Disorders: Psychiatric

Reciprocation of mood disorders and psychiatric disorders are quite common in many cases. The emotional breakdown that occurs during mood disorders creates a common connection with suicide. A good majority of the suicides that occur are the result of individuals who are subjected to a mood disorder (Isometsä, 2014). People who have been diagnosed with a mood disorder and are not seeking the appropriate treatment are at extreme risk for potential suicide. Suicide comes with a variety of risk factors, and by gaining the help of a healthcare professional the inevitable can be diminished.

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Complications that are associated with mood disorders are vast, ranging from all types of circumstances. One disorder in particular that appears with mood disorders is eating disorders. When an individual has a mood disorder they become much more vulnerable, by increasing their chance of developing an eating disorder. When one has an eating disorder they often use it as a coping mechanism to deal with a mood disorder. Food can often become a temporary cure for individuals who suffer from a mood disorder, creating a diversion from the real problem.

Types of Mood Disorders: Substance Abuse

Overpowering states of emotions can cause a great struggle for someone who is dealing with a mood disorder. Most individuals have the ability to change their mood dependent upon their situation, but this is not as simple for people who suffer from mood disorders. Substance abuse and mood disorders hold a strong connection where an unwavering amount of statistics point toward this. Individuals who represented a substance abuse disorder were twice as likely to have a mood disorder as opposed to individuals who were not substance users (Lai, Cleary, Sitharthan & Hunt, 2015). Self-medication is a common result for many individuals who are dealing with a mood disorder. Where turning to drugs or alcohol helps them to balance the emotions they are experiencing.

Types of Mood Disorders: Personality and Physical Illness

Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder often represent themselves in a very complimentary way. Nonetheless, they are not the same and have a variety of differences that set them apart. Depression, however, is something that is a component of both borderline personality disorder and also bipolar disorder (Paris, 2018). As personality has a relationship to mood disorders so does physical illness making a prominent association. The encounter that is present negatively affects physical illness by increasing the chance of death and mood disorders overall.

Types of Mood Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of a mood disorder includes:

  • Psychiatric evaluation

Treatment of a mood disorder includes:

Mood disorders carry a great amount of concern, and it is pertinent to gain the appropriate psychiatric evaluation to ensure one’s mental health. In the stage of diagnosis, an individual shall seek out a mental health care professional where they can assess and determine their disorder entirely.

Treatment is the next stage following a diagnosis where when the appropriate methods are taken success can become the result. Therapy is one way to treat a mood disorder where different approaches such as psychotherapy, and family therapy are used. Another approach is through medication that has also been shown to provide results. Medication and therapy combined together, however, can prove to be even more effective, deeming the most effective results for the treatment of mood disorders.

Types of Mood Disorders: Prevention

Prevention initiatives include things such as:

  • Early on diagnosis:
    • Makes the treatment of mood disorders easier
  • Reducing severity:
    • Occurs during the appropriate treatment methods

Prevention goes hand in hand with early diagnosis and reducing the severity of the mood disorders. Oftentimes different types of mood disorders can prove to be harder to pinpoint than others. By gaining the appropriate insight into diagnosis it can aid in prevention. Mood disorders come in a variety of forms where some are short-term and others are long term. Misdiagnosis however with some of these mood disorders can be quite common. The misdiagnosis of a mood disorder is serious in the prevention stage, and can often hinder a person’s treatment and overall recovery. By making an accurate and early diagnosis, patients can receive the appropriate treatment for a successful rehabilitation. Reducing the severity of a disorder is something that follows a diagnosis, where treatment becomes key. There are many different types of treatment one can receive to help reduce the severity of their disorder. Another important factor to keep in mind for prevention is being aware of family health conditions, and being mindful of all possible risk factors.

Tips to Deal with Types of Mood Disorders

Coping with a mood disorder can be a daily struggle for many individuals worldwide. This is where strategies can be effectively put in place to help with a mood disorder by improving health and wellness. Attaining the best professional health care is one major tip that can help an individual. Dependent upon the mood disorder a patient has it is important to seek out the care of a professional whenever major symptoms arise. Alongside medical care is that of therapy, specifically talk therapy that can help an individual over a long period of time on the road to recovery.

Do you have a mood disorder? Do you know someone who does? Please share with us in the comments below!


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National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). Major Depression. Retrieved from       https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml

Paris, J. (2018). Clinical features of borderline personality disorder. Handbook of  Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 419.

Seney, M. L., & Sibille, E. (2014). Sex differences in mood disorders: perspectives from humans and rodent models. Biology of Sex Differences5, 17. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13293-014-0017-3

Wirz-Justice, A. (2006). Biological rhythm disturbances in mood disorders. International Clinical Psychopharmacology21, S11-S15.

Zavaschi, M. L. S., Graeff, M. E., Menegassi, M. T., Mardini, V., Pires, D. W. S.,Carvalho, R. H. D., … & Eizirik, C. L. (2006). Adult mood disorders and      childhood psychological trauma. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria28(3), 184 190.

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