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Mood Disorders Questionnaire

Everyone experiences “lows” and “highs” but individuals with mood disorders experience them for longer periods and with greater intensity. Studies have estimated that just about 10 percent of the entire world population suffers from mood disorders. Mood disorders are usually triggered by unexpected, inappropriate or uncontrolled mood changes. Common mood disorders are bipolar disorder, depression, seasonal affective disorder and mania. Majority of these disorders can be treated through psychotherapy sessions and using medicine.

 

Depression

This is characterized by an imbalance of chemicals — referred as neuropeptides and neurotransmitters — in the brain that trigger changes in behavior, thought and mood. It affects people of all ethnic groups, ages, social classes and races. Although it can arise at any age, this illness commonly affects individuals between the ages of 25 and 44 years. Incidences of depression are often followed by stressful events such as death of a loved one or marital problems. On the other hand, individuals who have recurring incidences of major depression may have “unipolar depression.” Although its causes are not exact, a stressful environment, life situation or genetics are key contributing factors. Major signs and symptoms of depression include prolonged sadness, unexplained crying spells, significant changes in sleep patterns and appetite, anger, irritability, anxiety, agitation and worry. Others include recurring thoughts of suicide or death, unexplained pains and aches, social withdrawal, pessimism, loss of energy, lack of concentration and feelings of guilt. This mental illness can be treated.

 

Bipolar disorder

This disorder is characterized by severe changes in energy, behavior, thought and mood. It is commonly referred as “bipolar depression” since an individual’s mood alternates between the “poles” of depression (low and depressed mood) and mania (high and elevated mood). The changes in “mood swings” can last for months, weeks, days or hours and the lows and highs are often seasonal. These swings can be serious, ranging from deep despair to extreme energy. They disrupt usual life activities and their mildness ranges from sadness to restlessness or irritability. People diagnosed with this kind of mood disorders usually report recurrent symptoms of depression and mania in winter and spring respectively. Like depression, it is found among all ethnic groups, races and social classes. However, severity of symptoms and patterns determine the different kinds of bipolar disorder. The two most common ones include bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder.

 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

This type of depression follows a seasonal pattern. The short days of late autumn mark the start of a kind of clinical depression that lasts until spring. This disorder can be a weakening condition, which prevents sufferers from functioning properly. It may affect the professional and personal lives of patients as a result critically limiting their potential. Symptoms that reoccur within two successive winters — without other explanations for the changes in behavior and moods — indicate the existence of SAD. Such symptoms include weight gain, change in appetite, decreased energy, fatigue, irritability, tendency to oversleep and difficulty in concentrating. These symptoms tend to become unnoticeable when spring arrives. Symptoms of summer depression include weight loss, poor appetite and trouble sleeping. SAD mostly affects teenagers and children though its risks decrease with age. Women tend to be more vulnerable. In case of severe symptoms, seek medical attention for treatment such as “light therapy”. Exercises can also relieve associated stress, increase physical and mental well-being and build energy. Antidepressant medications have proved to be effective in relieving symptoms

 


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