Mood Disorders

ARE YOU “LIVING IN A BLACK HOLE?”

We all go through ups and downs… But when a low mood persists, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun, it’s no longer normal…

Mood Disorders

“Even as a child I was always very sad and shy, but did not understand why. As I grew older the depression got worse, until all I did was lie in bed and want to commit suicide. I realized I needed help or I would die.

I have tried many anti-depressants through the years, and when I felt better I would go off of them. But then very quickly the depression would come back, only worse. I had also gained about 20 lbs. on these.

I had tried for years to find something to take the place of my Prozac to keep my moods up, but nothing had helped… until now…”

We all go through ups and downs in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. We’re down in the dumps for a short time, then gradually the painful feelings dissipate and we move on with our lives—often the wiser for the experience.

But when the low mood persists, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun, it’s no longer normal. It’s depression.

There are several different types of mood disorders. Many of the symptoms overlap, but each type of disorder has distinct signs and effects:

1) Major Depression — Characterized by a persistent sad mood and/or an inability to experience pleasure. These symptoms are constant, interfering with the ability to lead a productive and enjoyable life. Left untreated, a major depressive episode typically lasts for about six months. Some people may experience just a single episode of depression in their lifetime, but more commonly, major depression is a recurring disorder.

2) Atypical Depression — A common subtype of major depression. It features a specific symp pattern, including a temporary mood lift in response to positive events. You may feel better after receiving good news or while out with friends. However, this boost in mood is fleeting. Other symptoms of atypical depression include weight gain or significant increase in appetite, sleeping excessively, a heavy feeling in the arms and legs, and sensitivity to rejection.

3) Dysthymia — A type of “low-grade” depression that lasts for at least two years. Dysthymia is less severe than major depression, but the chronic symptoms prevent one from leading life to the fullest. If you have dysthymic disorder, you are mildly to moderately depressed on more days than not, although you may have brief periods of normal mood. Many people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes, a condition known as “double depression”.

4) Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — Some people who experience recurring episodes of depression show a seasonal pattern known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a major depression that occurs in the fall or winter when the amount of sunlight is limited. In SAD, the depression goes away once the seasons turn again in the spring. SAD is more common in northern climates and in younger people.

5) Postpartum Depression — Many new mothers suffer from some fleeting form of the “baby blues.” Postpartum depression, in contrast, is a longer lasting and more serious depression thought to be triggered by hormonal changes associated with having a baby. Postpartum depression usually develops soon after delivery, but any depression that occurs within six months of childbirth may be postpartum depression.

6) Bipolar Disorder — Also known as manic depression, is characterized by cycling mood changes, with episodes of depression alternating with episodes of mania. Typically, the switch from one mood extreme to the other is gradual, with each manic or depressive episode lasting for at least several weeks. When depressed, a person with bipolar disorder exhibits the usual symptoms of major depression. In the manic phase, symptoms include hyperactivity, rapid speech, and impulsive behavior.

7) Personality Disorders — Those with a personality disorder possess several distinct psychological features including disturbances in self-image; ability to have successful interpersonal relationships; appropriateness of range of emotion, ways of perceiving themselves, others, and the world; and difficulty possessing proper impulse control. These disturbances come together to create a pervasive pattern of behavior and inner experience that is quite different from the norms of the individual’s culture and that often tend to be expressed in behaviors that appear more dramatic than what society considers usual. Therefore, those with a personality disorder often experience conflicts with other people and vice-versa.

With the help of F&Q, you could feel better very quickly. But first, you need to know what mood disorders look like. Learning how to spot the signs and symptoms of these disorders is the first step to understanding and overcoming the problem.

There’s a vast difference between “feeling depressed” and suffering from clinical depression. The despondency of clinical depression is unrelenting and overwhelming. Some people describe it as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. They can’t escape their unhappiness and despair.

However, some people with depression don’t feel sad at all. Instead, they feel lifeless and empty. In this apathetic state, they are unable to experience pleasure. Even when participating in activities they used to enjoy, they feel as if they’re just going through the motions. The signs and symptoms vary from person to person, and they may wax and wane in severity over time. There are two clusters of mood disorder symptoms.

First, there are depression symptoms:

Feelings of Helplessness and Hopelessness — A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.

Loss of interest in daily activities — No interest in or ability to enjoy former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex.

Appetite or weight changes — Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.

Sleep changes — Either insomnia or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).

Psychomotor agitation or retardation — Either feeling “keyed up” and restless or sluggish and physically slowed down.

Loss of energy — Feeling fatigued and physically drained. Even small tasks are exhausting or take longer than they normally would.

Self-loathing — Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. Harsh criticism of perceived faults and mistakes.

Concentration problems — Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.

Irritability — Easily annoyed, frustrated, lashing out in anger or snapping at others.

Aches and pains — New or worse physical symptoms, including headaches, backaches, diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain, and aching joints.

The second cluster is manic symptoms:

Feelings of elation;
Feelings of over confidence;
Irrationally believing you can accomplish extraordinarily great feats;
An abundance of energy;
Increased activity;
Increased accomplishment and productivity;
Reduced need for sleep;
Loud, rapid speech;
Jumping from one subject to another when talking;
Engaging in risky behaviors;
Reckless driving;
Impulsive spending;
Sexual promiscuity or increased sexual interest and activity;
Wild business schemes;
Overeating;
Drinking too much;
Feelings of irritability or anger;
Feelings of agitation;
Irrationally believing others are after you or are trying to harm you;
Thoughts racing through your mind;

There is no single cause of mood disorders. Early life experience, genetic predisposition, lifestyle factors, and certain personality traits all play a part in causing depression. Something that causes depression in one person may have no effect on another.

Certain risk factors however, make people more vulnerable to depression. For example, people who are isolated and have few friends or family members to turn to in times of stress are more likely to develop depression. Additionally, if you’ve been clinically depressed before, you’re at a higher risk of becoming depressed again. The odds increase with each major depressive episode.

Other risk factors for depression:

Loneliness;
Lack of social support;
Recent stressful life experiences;
Family history of depression;
Marital or relationship problems;
Financial strain;
Early childhood trauma or abuse;
Alcohol or drug abuse;
Unemployment or underemployment;
Health problems or chronic pain;