Next mood swing in 6 minutes. Be afraid. Very afraid. -Anonymous
We all go through the lows and highs of life. Where is the line that when crossed we step into depression or the opposite of it, mania? Is it laziness? Boredom? Depression? Are you just excited or out of control? When do the winter blues turn into seasonal affective disorder?
Mood disorders are also known as affective disorders. They cause disturbances in mood, resulting in poor judgment, risky behaviour and a general lack of normality. Sometimes mood swings could be a result of situational or event-related or even biological conditions; like lack of sleep or hunger. But when it’s persistent and intense then it can be diagnosed as a disorder.
When it comes to mood disorders it can be divided into three main symptomologies:
- Sleep disturbance (Increase or decrease)
- Interests (Things once enjoyable give no pleasure anymore)
- Energy decrease
- Concentration decrease
- Appetite (Increase or decrease)
- Psychomotor changes (Agitated and slowed down)
- Suicidal or homicidal Ideation
- Distractibility (also includes reckless behaviour)
- Flight of ideas
- Activity increased (including hyper-sexuality)
- Sleep deficit
3. Hypomania (literally means under or less mania):
- Decreased need for sleep
- High self-esteem/grandiosity
- Ideas that race
- Goal-directed activity increased
- High-risk activity
After understanding these three main categories the mood disorders are as follows:
A) Depression (Major Depressive Disorder or Clinical Depression): Comprising of only the depression part. This is one of the most common mental illness around the world. It is a serious condition.
B) Persistent Depressive Disorder A. K. A. Chronic Depression: Formally known as Dysthymia. This is a kind of high functioning depression where the person is able to carry out and pretend to be totally normal but in fact, is utterly depressed especially when left alone.
C) Bipolar Disorder: This is a brain disorder where there are intense changes in mood, energy levels as well as other cognitive impairments. There are 4 types in this disorder: –
- Bipolar type I
- Bipolar type II
- Cyclothymic Disorder
- Other Specified Bipolar and Related Disorders
D) Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): When I first read about this disorder, my mind went, “No ways”. I mean mental state changing due to seasons? I couldn’t believe it. But then I met a person suffering from SAD. This person’s mood, in fact, her entire behaviour would change starting from early winter and well into summer. She would go on shopping sprees and buy random things. Her sleep pattern was a mess, so was her appetite. Only in winter. People suffering from this disorder can have drastic moods either from early winter or early summer. Experiencing the symptoms of Bipolar but only depending on the seasons.