Feelings of sadness and unhappiness after a recent event are common reactions for us all. The death of a loved one, a sudden break-up with a significant other, not being hired for a new job, or falling short of achieving a goal are all possible experiences that can cause us to become upset. Likewise, feeling very excited about something in our lives, such as the birth of a child or graduating from high school, or having a lot of energy is not unusual. However, problems often arise when these feelings of sadness or periods of excessive energy last for a long time or when experiencing intense mood swings.
A persons mood is how he or she usually feels over a period of time. A Mood Disorder can be diagnosed when a persons mood lasts for a longer length of time or changes more often or dramatically than what is usually expected. Mood Disorders affect 15 to 30 million adults in the United States alone. For people suffering from Mood Disorders, their experience of sadness and energy can be severe and frequent enough to cause significant problems in their everyday life. A person with a Mood Disorder can experience symptoms of depression or mania or even both. Mood Disorders are divided into two main categories: Depressive Disorders and Bipolar Disorders, which is also called Manic-Depression. Below are some general symptoms of depression and mania and descriptions of Depressive Disorders and Bipolar Disorders.
Depression is something that affects many people. Even famous and successful people have been reported to experience times of depression. When experiencing depression, a person usually thinks I am no good or My life is awful. They also think No matter what I do, the world is out to get me and everything turns out bad. Losing a job, relationship and money difficulties, problems in school, physical illness, and substance use are some things that can lead to depression. Prolonged sadness after the death of loved one or after breaking up with someone can also cause depression. Some people can also experience symptoms of depression during certain times of the year, usually during the winter. If you or someone you know have been experiencing many of the following symptoms for the past two weeks, depression is a possibility.
- Feeling sad for most of the day almost everyday
- Experiencing anhedonia, which is not enjoying things that are usually enjoyed or not having any interest in them
- Either an increase or decrease in weight or appetite
- Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much
- Feeling agitated or sluggish
- Having no energy or always feeling fatigued
- Feeling worthless or guilty almost every day
- Not being able to think or concentrate
- Thinking about committing suicide or death in general
Mania is the opposite of depression. Some well known people have experienced periods of mania. Mania is characterized by mood swings and irritability. People who are experiencing mania often say that their thoughts are racing and that they have so much energy that they cannot control it. During mania, people often laugh uncontrollably at inappropriate times. Sometimes the person thinks Nothing can hurt me or I am so important the world will fall apart without me. Often, the person needs to be hospitalized to prevent them from hurting himself or herself or other people. A person who is in a manic state has experienced the below symptoms for at least four days:
- Persistently elevated or irritable mood
- Inflated sense of self-esteem or importance
- Lack of sleep
- Being more talkative than usual
- Racing thoughts, also called flight of ideas
- Being easily distracted
- Setting many goals, so many that they are often not reached
- Involvement in many pleasurable activities even though there is a large chance of being hurt