It is relatively common that we as human beings sometimes feel low and dejected, say for example after a traumatic incident or on the death of a loved one.
But in normal conditions, the low feeling doesn’t last too long. We don’t call it a mood disorder. But feelings of sadness can also recur for a long time, enough to throw a person’s life out of normalcy. In such cases we call it a disorder.
The exact causes are unknown but its speculated that biological, genetic and environmental factors play a major role. Traumatic events and/or substance abuse also often aggravate the mental conditions by causing imbalances in chemicals in the brain.
A mood disorder is one where the patient experiences one or more kinds of mood disturbances. Such disturbances in mood often cause life activities to be disrupted.
Basically, the stable state of a person’s mind can be flanked by broadly two conditions on either side. One is the depressive category, and the other, manic.
When the mind goes into the depressive category, it manifests feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Alternatively, on the manic side it becomes overly energised and ambitious, often leading to delusions of grandeur.
The Given below are the types of mood disorders.
Major Depression: Is usually the case when the patient shows less interest in day to day activities, feels sad and hopeless and starts feeling suicidal for a period of at least two weeks. A major depressive episode causes the patient to lose the ability to concentrate on any task; loss of energy. Consequently, one loses interest in activities giving rise to extreme feelings of hopelessness and sadness. Suicidal thoughts often eventually follow.
Dysthymia: This is milder than major depression but the duration of it is longer, usually at least two years. Person feels irritated most of the times and shows lack of energy.
Double depression: This is a variation where patient suffers from dysthymia for long periods (at least 2 years) interspersed with episodes of major depression.
Bipolar disorder is a condition which consists of patients going through phases of depression and mania or elevated moods alternatively. In such a condition, patients often have delusions of grandeur, extremely high energy levels, happiness and phases of elaborate planning while in mania. Then occurs a period of deep depression where the patient often feels self-pity and guilt regarding activities which he had done in his manic phase . There are three sub-types.
Bipolar I: When patient has a history of one or more manic episode or a mixed episode (both manic and depressive) with or without major depressive episodes.
Bipolar II: when patient has had recurrent hypomanic (less than full-fledged mania, consisting of mainly irritability) and depressive or mixed episodes.
Cyclothymic: It involves recurrent episodes of hypomania and dysthymia. Full manic or full depressive episodes do not occur in cyclothymia.
DISORDER DUE TO ANOTHER MEDICAL CONDITION
Often termed as “Mood disorder due to a general medical condition” are depressive, manic or mixed episodes triggered by a secondary medical condition in the patient. For example, cancer, dementia, chronic illnesses, injuries etc.
DISORDER DUE SUBSTANCES
Whenever a patient has a manic, depressive or mixed episode which is triggered by abuse of or consumption of a psychotropic drug (like alcohol, marijuana, hashish, LSD etc)/chemical substance, it is called a “substance induced mood disorder”. This also often happens as an effect of wrong medication, exposure to toxins and/or other forms of treatment.