Mood Disorders: Types, Causes and Symptoms

Published On: May 2, 2023|Categories: Mood Disorders|
Masked young woman expressing different emotions

Do you experience a constant, underlying feeling of sadness? 

Maybe you feel tired all day long; the kind of tiredness that doesn’t go away, no matter how many cups of coffee you have or how long you sleep.

Both of these could be symptoms of an underlying condition called a mood disorder. These disorders affect your emotional state and can affect not only other areas of your health but other areas of your life as well.

In this article, we’re going to give you a complete overview of mood disorders; what they are, the different types, their main causes and the symptoms to look for in yourself or others.

What are mood disorders?

Mood disorders are a category of mental health conditions that are characterized by persistent and significant disturbances in a person’s emotional state (mood). These disorders can affect how you feel, think and behave, all of which can lead to a serious impact on your overall health.

Mood disorders do not discriminate against anyone, and males and females of all ages can develop one of these disorders. Many people assume that those who have received higher education, are socially popular or earn a higher income “have no reason” to develop a mood disorder, but these people are just as susceptible as others.

What causes mood disorders?

There are many different elements that contribute to the development of a mood disorder.

Some of these factors are:

  • Chemical imbalances in the brain
  • Significant or highly stressful life events
  • Substance use (prescription or illicit drugs)
  • Drastic hormonal changes
  • Environmental influences (work, home and social)
  • Other psychological or medical conditions

The symptoms you experience will depend on the type of mood disorder you develop.

Types of mood disorders

There are various types of mood disorders, all affecting us in different ways. The most common types of mood disorders are: 

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder (seasonal depression)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Substance-induced mood disorder
  • Health condition-linked mood disorder

Major depressive disorder is the most common form of mood disorder, but it can vary widely in how severe it manifests in an individual. Some people struggling with depression experience chronic sluggishness and low energy, while others engage in self-harm and suicidal ideations.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by recurring, severe mood swings that range from intense highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression).

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also commonly referred to as seasonal depression, can occur during the spring or the summer, but is most common during the autumn and winter. This is exactly as it sounds when the season affects one’s mood, usually resulting in a depressed state.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder happens when a woman goes through the premenstrual phase of the female cycle; sometimes it’s relieved when menstruation begins, and other times it persists throughout the menstruation phase.

Substance-induced mood disorders are caused by substance use or withdrawal; this can result from either prescription drugs (like anti-depressants) or illicit drugs (like cocaine).

Some mood disorders can be connected to certain medical conditions like chronic pain, neurological conditions, thyroid disorders and gut issues.

Mood disorder symptoms

The challenge with mental health conditions is that many of them share similar symptoms; that’s why it’s important to seek professional help when a condition is suspected to be present.

The most common symptoms of a mood disorder include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness or despair
  • Lack of interest in once-enjoyed activities or relationships
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain 
  • The development of unhealthy eating habits
  • Sleep disturbances (difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much)
  • Chronic fatigue or a constant lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviors

It’s important to recognize these symptoms’ importance and potential gravity, but don’t allow them to scare you into avoiding treatment. You’re not alone; we’re here to help.

If you think you or someone you love might be struggling with a mood disorder, reach out to us.

Speak with an advisor today

Pyramid Healthcare is a leading provider of behavioral and mental healthcare, specializing in client-focused care. 

We recognize that no two people are alike, so every treatment plan is fully personalized to each client, taking into consideration their short- and long-term needs and goals. Our mission is to provide you with expert-level care; our passion is helping you achieve a successful recovery.

Here at Pyramid, we offer various behavioral health services for adults and teens; the type and level of care you receive will depend on where you are at. There are no wrong answers; we’ll meet you where you are, and support you every step of the way from there.

Contact us to learn more about how we can begin supporting you today.

Desperate man sitting in the tunnel.Identifying Your Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms
Studio shot of a young woman with a label saying “I’m fine” covering her mouth against a black backgroundCommon Stigmas in Mental Health and How to Increase Awareness