It is estimated that one in four American adults suffers from some form of mental illness, with 20 million of them struggling with a mood disorder. The most common mood disorders are depression, bipolar, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
These debilitating emotional and mental afflictions, which are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, can wreak havoc on people’s lives. While science has learned enough to help manage these conditions, they first must be diagnosed before they can be treated.
With that in mind, here are the top seven signs that someone you know has a mood disorder.
1. Feelings of Worthlessness
Not surprisingly, people who are depressed feel bad about themselves. Anxiety, sadness, guilt and hopelessness are signs of depression. All of us have good days and bad, but when self-esteem hits rock bottom and stays there for more than a couple of days, it’s worth acting on.
2. Suicidal Ideation
“Ideation” is a fancy way of saying someone is thinking about suicide, something mentally healthy people don’t often do. People who feel worthless naturally begin thinking of ways to end their lives. If you know someone showing signs of this, talk to them. You won’t cause them to commit suicide if you ask about it. Don’t accuse them or try to talk them out of it; instead, show them you care and want to help them.
Some people with mood disorders become sad; some get annoyed. People with mood disorders who become agitated do so at the drop of a hat. This is unlike the bad mood of a friend who might snap at people around them once for no reason. This kind of aggressive irritability can be confusing and demoralizing for friends and family to deal with.
4. Lack of Energy
Mood disorders can sap the motivation to get going and the energy to take on the day. The result is sometimes social isolation, as the person suffering the mood disorder lacks the energy to socialize. It can also, understandably, affect work, school and personal relationships.
5. Aggressive Risk Taking
Beyond spontaneity, which is a positive attribute, those suffering mood disorders stop caring about their well-being and may become impulsive and unconcerned with consequences – physical, financial and otherwise. They quit their jobs suddenly; take last-minute, unplanned trips; make major ago-driven purchases; etc. All this may be evidence that the person is coming off the rails emotionally.
6. Inability to Concentrate
The minds of people with mood disorders may be scattered, foggy or racing. They are easily distracted and experience stress when they have to make decisions, even small or simple ones. Because they’re so flustered, they may also have difficulty remembering details. This symptom alone is not enough to suspect a mood disorder, but combined with others is a giveaway.
7. Eating and Sleeping Issues
Mood disorders can turn us hyper or sluggish, and they do the same for eating and sleeping patterns. People with mood disorders may have trouble sleeping or may sleep all day; they may overeat or lose their appetite. Big swings in sleep patterns or weight are signals of a problem.
Mood disorders can cause any number of other health issues, like migraines, prolonged hypersexuality, and generally poor health. Two or more of the symptoms named should set off alarms to see a mental health professional.
The team of mental health professionals at South Texas Mental Health Associates develops trusting, professional relationships with their patients. They take an open and frank approach, making sure patients understand their condition and what they can expect from different treatment modalities. For more information, call (361) 356-6441 or visit STMHA.com.
6625 Woodridge Rd, Suite 101
Corpus Christi, TX 78414
Phone (appointments): 361-210-7745
Phone (general inquiries): (361) 356-6441
About South Texas Mental Health Associates
At South Texas Mental Health Associates in Corpus Christi, Texas, the patient comes first. The team at South Texas Mental Health Associates provides comprehensive patient-oriented care to address mental health issues including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, mood disorders, ADHD, schizophrenia, and more.
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