Mood disorders are mental disorders that affect one’s mood in a way that interferes with day-to-day life. Mood disorders are most commonly associated with forms of depression and bipolar disorder.
Like anxiety, it’s human to experience some degree of shifts in our mood, whether it’s jubilation from a job promotion, or sadness from a break-up. It is normal to experience highs and lows in response to life circumstances. When the low feelings persist for days, weeks or even months, clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder, or simply “depression” may be present.
Depression can range from mild, moderate, to severe depending on the number and severity of symptoms, as well as the degree to which one’s normal life is affected. Just because one’s depression seems mild, and they can “make it through” the day, does not mean they should not seek treatment.
Depression is the most common mood disorder affecting approximately 7% of the U.S. population. Because we all experience lows in our life, people are often aware that they are suffering from a form of depression, yet fail to seek treatment due to the sense of hopelessness often attributed with depression.
It is important to understand that depression can be treated. In the case of severe depression, medication is often required. Patients with severe depression are at the greatest risk of suffering life debilitating affects like an inability to work, maintain social contact, or suicidal thoughts.
A person suffering from depression may find it hard or impossible to get out of bed, leave the house, or perform normal activities like grocery shopping or going to work. In fact, depression is the number one cause of disability in the United States due to its ability to rob a person of their productivity and normal interests.
Depending on the severity of depressive episodes, mental health professionals like Dr. Watts offer a variety of psychological treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and/or antidepressant medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).