Mood disorders are characterized by a serious change in mood that cause disruption to life activities. Though many different subtypes are recognized, three major states of mood disorders exist: depressive, manic, and bipolar. Major depressive disorder is characterized by overall depressed mood.
Those with Bipolar Disorder experience incapacitating mood swings that are typically independent of the individual’s circumstances. These mood swings vacillate between varying degrees of manic episodes (extreme highs) and depressive episodes (extreme lows). Those experiencing a manic episode may experience elation, excess energy, trouble sleeping, fast-moving thoughts and speech, and reckless risk behavior. On the contrary, those experiencing a depressive episode may experience feeling sad, empty, low energy, difficulty concentrating or remembering, tiredness, and possible thoughts of suicide or death. This can sometimes present itself as Major Depressive Disorder with periods of higher mood (elevated energy in the form of irritability or euphoria).
Dysthymia is a chronic form of low grade-depression. People dealing with Dysthymia may often feel a lack of interest in daily activities, have low self-esteem, or lack productivity in ways that affect their relationships, work, or other daily activities. Those who have Dysthymia may range from mild to more severe and are more susceptible to Major Depression.
Major Depressive Disorder is characterized by a perseverant low mood that persists for at least two weeks. Unlike typical sadness that is experienced throughout life, Major Depression persists for extended periods of time and is much more severe. Symptoms include a lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed, a feeling of guilt or worthlessness, weight fluctuation, unhealthy sleep patterns, and possibly suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a depression that is brought on by certain times of the year. It is often associated with winter or “holiday blues,” as this time of year results in a diminishing light source that results in a lack of Vitamin D. This deficiency can cause individuals to feel unexplainably depressed or subdued and is often accompanied by feelings of overtiredness, sluggishness, a lack of interest, changes in weight, or difficulty concentrating.
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