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Feeling Hopeless, Empty, Mood Swings
What are Mood Disorders?

It’s normal to feel sad, angry, or irritable every once and a while, but persistent and unpredictable changes in mood may indicate a deeper emotional issue. This category includes many of the most common emotional disorders, including major depression and bipolar disorder.

Types of Mood Disorders
Many kinds of mood disorders have been identified, it's important to know each one for identification.

Common types of mood disorders:

  • Major Depression: By far the most common type of mood disorder, major depression is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness, as well as a lack of interest in favorite hobbies.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder experience periods of severe depression alternating with periods of intense emotional elevation, or mania.
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder: This disorder, which is diagnosed only in children and adolescents younger than 18, involves frequent episodes of violent and abnormal social behaviors.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder: Most frequently observed in the far north and south, SAD is depression caused by restricted daylight hours.  
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder: Slightly less common than major depression, PDD is a low-level feeling of irritability or depression that persists for at least two years.
Common Symptoms of a Mood Disorder
Look for these red flags in order to identify an issue earlier rather than later.

Main indicators of a mood disorder include:

  • Thoughts of death or self-harm
  • Attempted suicide
  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety, inadequacy, or helplessness
  • Feelings of extreme guilt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities and hobbies
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite or energy levels
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Trouble concentrating or finishing tasks
  • Sensitivity to rejection or criticism
  • Verbal or physical aggression
  • Irritability or hostility
  • Emotional distancing
  • Headaches
  • Stomachache and digestive issues
  • Relationship problems
Factors that Increase Risk for a Mood Disorder
Mood disorders develop for many reasons, but knowing the risks can help with identification.
  • Genetics: Having an immediate family member with a mood disorder can dramatically increase a person’s chances of developing their own.
  • Severe Co-Occurring Illnesses: Pain and stress caused by debilitating, long-lasting conditions—such as chronic pain, cancer, and multiple sclerosis—can contribute to mood disorders.
  • Abuse: People who were neglected or abused as children have a much higher risk of developing emotional issues later in life.
  • Major Life Changes: Stressful events, like a failure in school or a move across the country, can make existing mood disorders even worse.
  • Substance Abuse: By dramatically altering brain chemistry, drug and alcohol abuse can also contribute to the development of a mood disorder.
Typical Treatments for Mood Disorders
Mood disorders can be treated and individuals with them can live full, happy lives.

Common types of treatment for mood disorders include:

  • Medication: Especially when prescribed hand-in-hand with therapy, antidepressants and mood stabilizing medications have been shown to be hugely successful in treating emotional disorders.
  • Interpersonal Therapy: Treatment sessions, either individually or with a group or family, can help teens with mood disorders recognize destructive thought patterns and avoid generalizing negative experiences.
  • Residential Treatment: Individuals whose mood disorder is tied to behavioral or emotional challenges can benefit from a safe, caring environment with specialized care.
  • Medical Attention: If a mood disorder can be connected to other serious medical issues, treatment of those illnesses can help to stabilize the person’s emotional state and improve their self-esteem.
Explore Treatments
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Symptoms & Assessments

Watch for symptoms. If you think your child may be struggling with a mood disorder, it’s important to get an assessment as soon as possible. 

Seek Out Professional

Get in contact with an experienced medical or psychiatric professional who can help pin down an exact diagnosis. They can help guide you in a direction that’s best for your situation. 

Treatment Options

The professional you seek out for clarification can help you identify your treatment options. If your child struggles with behavioral issues alongside their mood disorder, residential treatment options may be a good route for your family.

Facts about Mood Disorders
The Number of Mood Disorders

for an age group jumps a whopping 83.3% from age 13 to 18.

Depression and Bipolar Disorder

affect around 14.3 percent of teenagers in the United States.

Around 60% of Adolescents

who experience a major depressive episode do not receive treatment for it.

The Number of Teens

who had a depressive episode in a year increased 37% in only 9 years.

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