What are mood disorders and how can therapy help
Experiencing emotional ups and downs is common. Life can present us with people and situations that lead to moodiness, agitation, and irritability. However, healthy individuals are usually able to rebound from these challenges and find emotional balance. You may be suffering from a mood disorder if your emotional state or attitude does not match your current circumstances and you struggle to rebound from life challenges.
What are mood disorders?
Experiencing emotional ups and downs can be very common. Life can present us with people and situations that lead to moodiness, agitation, and irritability. Healthy individuals are usually able to rebound from these challenges and find emotional balance. You may be suffering from a mood disorder if your emotional state or attitude does not match your current circumstances and you struggle to rebound from life challenges.
Examples of mood disorders include:
Major depressive disorder
Chronic low-level depression
What causes mood disorders?
An imbalance of chemicals within the brain has been recognised as the primary cause of many mood disorders. Irregularities in levels of serotonin and noradrenaline within the brain can be associated with the development of bipolar disorder and depression. Severe disorders, including schizophrenia and psychosis, have also been linked to disruptions to the production of dopamine within the brain. There is also evidence to suggest that the genetics of an individual may also affect the development of mood disorders. For example, studies have shown that bipolar disorder appears to run in families.
Research suggests that one in 10 adults suffer from a mood disorder.
How can therapy help to treat mood disorders?
Medication can be used to treat some mood disorders but can only help with some symptoms. For example, antidepressants can be prescribed for depression and anxiety. Anti psychotics may also help individual with more challenging disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. However, medication cannot ‘cure’ a mood disorder.
Your therapist may utilise a number of therapeutic techniques to treat your mood disorder. In order to develop a treatment plan that is individual to you and your symptoms, a number of factors may be considered to determine the best approach. Your age, medical history, individual symptoms, severity of symptoms, and personal preferences may all be taken into account. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in the treatment of mood disorders. This form of talking therapy combines both cognitive and behavioural therapies. Cognitive therapy examines how our thoughts can affect our feelings and mood, while behavioural therapy is used to identify the links between our behaviours and thoughts.
Your therapist will help you to recognise negative or self-defeating thought patterns and teach you how to replace them with healthier beliefs and habits of thinking. As some individuals with mood disorders believe that they must receive approval from others around them or live up to a particular set of standards, cognitive behavioural therapy can be useful in breaking down this fear.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is particularly effective in treating mood disorders that manifest in chronic or low-level depressive behaviour. It is also helpful for individuals who experience symptoms of anxiety due to their mood disorder. While some mood disorders may require the prescription of medication as part of treatment, such as bipolar disorder, cognitive behavioural therapy may also be useful as part of a wider treatment plan.