Suffering from a mood disorder is very different than simply being in a “bad mood.” Mood disorders are much more complex and can affect a person’s daily life for long periods of time. People of any age, including children, can have a mood disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly 10 percent of adults and about 14 percent of teens suffer from mood disorders. If you’re among the more than 20 million Americans with a mood disorder, there is help available, often through psychotherapy and medications.

Factors that may play a role in mood disorders.

There are many types of mood disorders and many factors that can contribute to intense sadness, depression or a manic mood, making it challenging for individuals to manage the symptoms of the disorder on their own. Although a thorough evaluation is needed to diagnose and treat a mood disorder, there are, in general, some common factors that can point to a greater risk for some people. These include, but are not limited to, being female — women are almost twice as likely as men to suffer from depression — experiencing a traumatic life event, such as the loss of a loved one or financial difficulties; substance or alcohol abuse; a history of other mental health disorders; chronic or serious illness; a family history of depression or bipolar disorder; and some medications.

Mood disorder symptoms may include a persistent sad or anxious mood; low self-esteem; feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy; changes in appetite, weight, or sleeping habits; loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed; difficult concentrating or making decisions; and feelings of helplessness or hopelessness.

Types of mood disorders.

There are several types of mood disorders, any of which can interfere with relationships, work or school, or the performance of other daily activities. These are the most common disorders related to mood for which we offer treatment at The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders:

  • Depression: Almost 10 percent of all Americans experience clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder. More than just having “the blues,” depression is not a condition that can be resolved by willing it away, and most people can realize great benefits from psychotherapy and medications.
  • Bipolar disorder: Also referred to as manic depression, this disorder is marked by extreme swings between a “low” (depressed mood) and “high” (elevated mood). These moods can persist for months or last just a few hours, and can affect behavior, energy levels and thoughts as well as moods.

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