Mood Disorders

Mood disorders manifest themselves in the extreme as inappropriate, exaggerated, or limited range of feelings.  It is quite normal to have a “down” feeling or sense of excitement but in the extreme (excessive crying, depression, suicidal thoughts), these feelings can significantly hinder normal day-to-day activity.

Types of Mood Disorders

Mood_DisordersDepression is a pervasive state that can cripple a person’s ability to function and cause them to view their world with a constant sense of hopelessness and foreboding.  It is a lonely place where one often feels abandoned, and frightened, with little hope of change. Depression can be a catalyst for bad decisions that can only worsen a person’s life.

Anxiety can be specific to an event or circumstances, or can also be a pervasive mindset that impairs or prohibits interaction, participation, or forward movement into new possibilities.

Panic disorder or panic attacks, are sudden feelings of terror for no reason. Very often, patients report the presence of physical symptoms during such bouts.  Symptoms can include:
•Rapid heartbeat
•Sweatiness
•Breathing difficulty
•Dizziness

Panic attacks can occur anywhere and often without warning.  For some people, fear takes over their lives and dominates their behavior patterns.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):  A person suffering from OCD may need to check and re-check things over and over, fearing some disaster should they ignore them.  A person may feel a very strong need to maintain certain rituals and a sense of control.  Very often, such behaviors mask a sense of being out of control in other areas of one’s life.  OCD is often the displacement of other feelings or experiences into a mechanism that can be controlled.

Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress are the result of a singular or series of harmful events, physical and emotional, that are relived through subtle or pronounced reactions in current life circumstances.  We are often unaware of the impact traumas may have on our lives.  Understanding their origin is important, but it is of greater importance to develop or return to a level of functioning that is separate from the impact of trauma, whether it was in our distant past of relatively recent.

Bi-polar Disorder is often misconstrued as acute mood swings.  In fact, bi-polar disorders entail prolonged bouts of depression and mania.  The depression can be as severe as that described above.  The manic episodes often involve both a hyperactive state combined with poor reality testing.  In a manic state, a person can make poor decisions often resulting in poor life-changing decisions, financial loss, and alienating loved ones.  A person in a manic state can also feel euphoric, invincible and impervious to the advice of others.  The treatment of bi-polar disorder must recognize the long-term distinct patterns and address both effectively.

Treating Mood Disorders

Effective treatments for mood disorders generally consist of a combination of mental health counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication if necessary, and lifestyle changes.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the best course of treatment for many mood disorders/behaviors. CBT is an action-oriented treatment focusing on the behavioral problem. Working together, the therapist and the client identify and select strategies to best help solve the problem. Generally, there are 3 phases to treating the disorder: behavior modification, cognitive restructuring, and harm reduction. Clients are taught to monitor their thoughts and identify those that trigger addictive impulses and behavior while learning new coping and prevention relapse skills.

 

Courage is the option to see more clearly. To abandon pre-conceptions that bound us to

shallow repetitions that sustained us in a state of inertia.   ~ Peter C. Turco

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