Most people feel down and irritable from time to time.  They often may say that they are in a bad mood.  An actual Mood Disorder is quite different.  It affects a person's everyday emotional state and functions.  Nearly two in twenty people aged 17 and older are most likely to have mood disorders.


What is a mood disorder?

Mood disorders are mental disorders characterized by periods of depression, sometimes alternating with periods of elevated mood.

Mood disorders can possibly increase a person's risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic and terminal diseases.  Treatments include medication, psychotherapy and nutritional supplements or a combination of these.  With treatment, most people with mood disorders can lead productive and very healthy lives.

To overcome mood disorders, you need to recognize and acknowledge that they exist, and that you can take control and not let the mood disorder control you.

This all starts with introspection. This can take as long as you want it to take. You're going to have to take a very deep hard look over your life. Try as much as possible to pinpoint all of the times you were experiencing a mood disorder. Trace it back to its origin.  This is where councelling can be of great benefit.  A trained coucellor can guide you through this process and make it much easier for you.

After discovering where your mood disorder began you can look for things that trigger your mood disorder.  If you discover that certain situations or people trigger a negative shift in your moodthen it may be advisable to see what you can do to avoid these triggers.  

Often just by identifying your triggers you gain strength to better cope with those situations or people.


Insight into the two Major types of mood disorders

These include depression and bipolar disorder (also called manic depression).  These two are highly treatable, medical illnesses.  Unfortunately, so much people don't usually get the help they need just because of the misunderstanding and confusion surrounding the illnesses or the fear associated with stigma.  The following are brief descriptions of depression and bipolar disorder.

Depression: Almost everyone, at a particular time in life, feels sad or blue.  It is very normal to feel sad on specific occasions.  Sometimes, sadness is a result of things that happen in your life: for example, moving to a different city and leaving friends behind, losing your job, or a loved one dies.  Although while it's normal for people to experience some trials and tribulations during their lives, those people living with depression experience specific symptoms daily for three or more weeks, making it very difficult to function at work, at school or in healthy relationships.  It is empirical to note that depression is a treatable illness marked by changes in mood, thoughts and behavior.  It usually affects people of all ages, races, ethnic groups and social classes.  Although it can occur at any given age, the illness often surfaces between the ages of 27 and 48.  The "lifetime prevalence" of depression is 26 percent for women and 17 percent for men.  This means that, at some point in their lives, 26 percent of women and 17 percent of men would have experienced an episode of major depression.

Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) is a treatable illness marked by extreme changes in mood, thought, energy and behavior.  It is usually referred to as bipolar disorder because a person's mood can alternate between the "poles" of mania (high, elevated mood) and depression (low, depressed mood).  These changes in mood ("mood swings") can last for hours, days, weeks, months or even years.  These highs and lows are often seasonal.  Most people with a bipolar disorder report feeling signs and symptoms of depression more often in the winter and symptoms of mania more often in the spring.  Bipolar disorder can be quite a dangerous and debilitating disorder that causes a person’s mood, activity and energy levels to shift unexpectedly. They will often have some periods of partial or full stability as well.  Bipolar disorder affects nearly nine (9) million adult Americans and an equal number of men and women.  It usually tends to run in families and it is mostly found amongst all races, ethnic groups and social classes.  Just like depression and other serious illnesses, bipolar disorder can also adversely affect spouses, significant others, family members, friends and coworkers.  It usually begins in late adolescence,often appearing and posing as depression during the teen years, although it can start in early childhood or as late as the 40s to 60s.


Some prevalent signs and symptoms of mood disorders

  • Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
  • Pessimism, indifference
  • Loss of energy, persistent lethargy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
  • Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness
  • Inability to take pleasure in former interests, social withdrawal
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
  • 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, inflated sense of self importance
  • Racing speech, racing thoughts, flight of ideas
  • Impulsiveness, poor judgment, distractibility
  • Reckless behavior in the most severe cases, delusions and hallucinations


Notable herbs, supplements and vitamins for the treatment of mood disorders

  • Valerian: This is an herbal remedy created from dried roots, often taken as a sleep or nap aid and sometimes used for anxiety.
  • Lavender: Aromatherapy, essential oils, and teas use lavender to boost, facilitate and enhance relaxation and possibly help in relieving anxiety and depression
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Usually found in cold water fish and very specific vegetable oils, and available as a supplement, omega-3 fatty acids are most times used to help suppress depression and all other psychological problems.
  • Vitamins B: This is very essential for cell metabolism and central nervous system maintenance and purification.  Taking a Vitamin B Complex can help stabilize moods as well.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D is great for boosting moods and is especially effective for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which causes people to become depressed during the winter months when sunshine is lacking.


Lifestyle changes that can be used to tackle mood disorder

  • Diet Changes: This can also be very beneficial to helping and assisting you overcome mood disorders.  Sometimes a mood will possibly swing because blood sugar is out of balance or certain nutrients are lacking.  This can be remedied by following a healthy diet consisting of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with high quality protein and especially fish.  Eat a healthy diet to support a healthy body and mind.
  • Regular exercise: It is a well known fact that exercise releases endorphins in the body that elevate mood plus it can reduce your stress levels and help you feel more energized. Regular exercise doesn't necessarily mean you have to go to the gym everday, just getting out and going for a brisk walk can have the same benefits to your mental wellbeing as running on a treadmill for a couple hours.  Choose a type of exercise that works for you and that you can enjoy so that you don’t have to talk yourself into doing it everyday.

Always remember, everyone experiences mood swings and we can’t be happy all the time, but it is important to not let a mood disorder rule your life.  There are many natural products out there that can help you take back control and live a happy healthy life.

Mood Disorders

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