There are two categories of mood disorders recognized by the psychiatric community: unipolar and bipolar disorder. Both are a type of depression with the difference being those who suffer bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, also experience extreme mood swings between depression and episodes of extreme mania or high energy.
The unipolar, or depression, type of mood disorder can further be broken down into the different types of depression which include:
1. Major depression.
3. Seasonal affective disorder.
4. Postpartum depression.
Mood disorders are characterized by continued feelings of sadness, despair, guilt, irritability, loss of appetite, constant fatigue and suicidal thoughts. Different people will have different combinations of these thoughts and feelings, making it important for sufferers to seek professional help to help sort through the various symptoms. While some of these feelings are normal in daily life, when they become an on going problem that last for weeks, months and even years it is considered a mood disorder that needs some sort of medical or psychiatric treatment.
The exact cause of mood disorders is not known. It does appear that many combinations of outside events can trigger an episode. It is known that many people who suffer mood disorders also have a chemical imbalance of the brain that makes them more susceptible to these depressed feelings. Research has also shown that the different types of mood disorders can run in families are thought to be a genetic trait.
Treatment of mood disorders varies depending on the disorder itself and any outside influences that may contribute to the disorder. These outside influences include illness, drug or alcohol abuse or a major life changing event. Normally these need to be dealt with along with the mood disorder for treatment to be successful.
The mood disorder itself can be treated with anti-depressant medication, therapy or a combination of the two. The different types of mood disorder can be treated successfully if its sufferers seek help. Unfortunately nearly half of the people who suffer from mood disorders never seek the help they need.