Ordinary moods are our mind and body’s response to outside or inside stimuli, permitting us to handle, cope, or otherwise process events in a healthy manner. Healthful responses to events and emotions are what allow us to socialize, hold a job, retain community responsibility, and otherwise deal with our daily functions.
A mood disorder is a general diagnosis for different conditions where someones moods are inconsistent with the appropriateness of their surroundings or circumstances. Among the most common mood disorders are depression in all its forms, or bipolar mood disorder (mood swings). There is a less common term called schizoid-affective disorder that is a combination of schizophrenia and another mood disorder.
Bipolar mood disorder used to be known as “manic-depression.” The condition is characterized by elevated (high) and severely lowered mood swings, either together or separated by months or even years. Mood swings can last for a few minutes or hours, and can come and go with no warning at all.
It is estimated that 2,000,000 Americans have some degree of bipolar mood disorder and the disorder is found to affect all types of races, sexes, ethic, and social groups. It is thought that there might be a familial connection between sufferers, but this has yet to be determined.
Bipolar mood disorder is the result of a chemical imbalance, as well as the faulty stimuli from a dysfunction or misshapen area of the brain. There is also some indication that bipolarity is genetic, but studies are inconclusive at this time.
Sufferers of bipolar mood disorder experience the presence of highs, which are characterized by increased physical and mental activity and energy; heightened mood, exaggerated optimism and self-confidence; excessive irritability, aggressive behavior; decreased need for sleep without experiencing fatigue; grandiose delusions; racing speech; impulsiveness; reckless behavior; delusions and hallucinations.
Bipolar mood disorder, as well as other depressive disorders include severe lows such as prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells; significant changes in sleep patterns; irritability, anger, worry, agitation; pessimism; loss of energy or extreme fatigue; feelings of guilt or worthlessness; inability to concentrate, unexplained aches and pains, and suicidal thoughts.
Patients thought to be suffering from bipolar mood disorder cannot be self-diagnosed. Since there are no lab tests that can indicate the presence of the disorder, a trained medical or mental health professional must conduct interviews and tests; if medication is required, it must be strictly managed. When patients are feeling better, they tend to stop taking medication, which can lead to a return of previous symptoms.
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