For whatever reason, you haven’t had much incentive to do anything. You’re moody, anxious, lack energy, and are also having problems eating, sleeping, and concentrating. What’s worse, you can’t remember when it all began or what may have caused these changes. Is it anxiety? Or possibly a mood disorder? Fortunately, help’s available.
What Is Anxiety?
According to one definition, anxiety is “a feeling of intense worry, fear or unease.” Therapist Lori Ohrt, UnityPoint Health, says, “it can be caused by several things, including fear of the unknown, unrealistic expectations, physical problems, substances and poor coping skills.” Other anxiety symptoms, which for most people are temporary, may include a fast heartbeat, hyperventilating, nervousness, tension, trouble sleeping, and eating problems. If they persist for months, you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder.
What Is A Mood Disorder?
Mood disorders are more severe and long-term than anxiety – the demarcation line between just sadness and worry. They are psychological conditions that affect mood, trigger mood changes, and lead to having erratic feelings and responses towards situations. Mood disorders can be described by jubilation, where you experience great happiness or sadness. This can involve the loss of interest in daily life, with people mostly experiencing overpowering anxiousness in such situations for months at a time.
Common Mood Disorders
- Major depressive disorder, featuring lengthy and constant periods of intense sadness
- Bipolar disorder (aka “manic depression” or bipolar affective disorder) is depression that alternates between depression and mania
- Seasonal affective disorder is a kind of depression mostly related to fewer hours of sunlight from late fall to early springtime
- Cyclothymic disorder, which includes emotional highs and lows and is less severe than bipolar disorder
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is irritability and mood changes that happen during a woman’s premenstrual phase and goes away with time
- Persistent depressive disorder (aka dysthymia), a long-term kind of depression
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, characterized by chronic, serious, and persistent irritability in kids that’s often exhibited by recurrent temper outbursts inconsistent with their developmental age
There are also kinds of depression related to a medical illness, substance abuse, and medication related to withdrawal or following exposure to a medicine. Many symptoms of these disorders are treatable.
Is Anxiety A Mood Disorder?
Anxiety can affect your mood, but it can’t be deemed a mood disorder due to a simple fact – while it affects mood, it’s not directly related.
Symptoms of mood disorders depend on the type of disorder but may overlap to include:
- Feelings of sadness nearly all the time or almost every day
- Low energy or feeling lethargic
- Feeling useless or hopeless
- Problems with your appetite or overeating
- Fluctuating weight levels
- Lack of interest in something you once enjoyed
- Sleep problems
- Repeated thoughts of death or suicide
- Trouble concentrating or focusing
- Fast speech or bodily movement
- Agitation, impatience, or irritability
- Risky behavior, like driving recklessly or spending sprees
- You do something more than normal or do multiple things at once
- Racing thoughts
What causes mood disorders?
There may be numerous underlying circumstances, depending on the kind of the disorder. Different biological, environmental, genetic, and other influencers have been linked to mood disorders.
You may be more susceptible to developing a mood disorder based on your family history; if you’ve already been diagnosed with a mood disorder; you’ve experienced trauma, anxiety, or major life disruptions in the case of depression; or if you’ve suffered from a severe illness or medical condition like cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or cardiovascular disease. Researchers also believe that brain structure and function in certain people may predispose them to a mood disorder, particularly bipolar disorder.
Diagnosis & Treatment
You may have to undergo a medical examination to rule out or uncover biological causes for your symptoms, like a thyroid problem, a vitamin deficiency, or other illnesses. Your doctor will ask about personal and family medical history, any medications you take, and your personal and family history of mental illness or a mood disorder. You may also need to see a mental health specialist who will perform an interview to assess your symptoms, diet and sleeping habits, and other behavior.
Following a diagnosis, your healthcare provider may recommend a different treatment, like psychotherapy or medicine such as ketamine infusion therapy.
If you suffer from anxiety or a more serious mood disorder, the best way to start getting better is to talk with a medical doctor or mental health professional about diagnosis and treatment options. Once symptoms or causes have been identified, you may start to feel better with psychotherapy or ketamine. Contact us today to learn more.