How to Recognize Common Mood Disorders: Symptoms & Causes

Applied Behavior Analysis, Bipolar & Mood Disorders

If you or your loved one is exhibiting erratic behaviors or extreme mood swings, it’s quite possible that a mood disorder is present. Mood disorders are psychological disorders that affect an individual’s emotional state on a daily basis. They can be mild but sometimes are severe enough to interfere with relationships and regular activities like going to work/school, sleeping, eating, etc.

Different Types of Mood Disorders

A mood disorder can only be diagnosed by a doctor or mental health professional, like Emerge in Denver. Mood disorder diagnosis is usually carried out through the process of a comprehensive evaluation. Some of the most common types of mood disorders that mental health clinics screen for are:

  • Bipolar disorder (type I & II)
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Unipolar depression
  • Cyclothymia & dysthymia
  • Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder
  • Substance abuse induced disorders & more


Causes of Mood Disorders

How mood disorders are caused is a widely debated topic. Some studies claim that genetics are the most contributing factor while others point to environmental conditions. It can be difficult to pinpoint the actual cause of a mood disorder, but there is significant evidence that proves that they are, in fact, real disorders. Brain imaging studies show that the brains of individuals with depression and bipolar disorder function differently than normal, healthy brains.

Signs & Symptoms

Since no one person is alike, symptoms for a particular mood disorder often vary from one individual to the next. However, there are usually some commonalities between individuals experiencing the same disorder.
Bipolar disorders: Individuals with bipolar disorder experience a wide range of symptoms. However, the most common symptoms include mood swings, elevated mood, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, behavioral changes, sleep cycle interruption, and hypomania, to name a few.
Depression disorders: Depression disorders are often characterized by repeated or persistent periods of sadness. Some signs of depression to look out for are anxiety, low appetite or energy levels, lack of concentration, and feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or sadness.
Dysthymia: Dysthymia is a depressive disorder in which one exhibits symptoms of depression daily for an extended period of time, typically two years or longer. Many individuals with dysthymia experience low self esteem, persistent feelings of sadness, lack of appetite, weight gain/loss, sleep changes, and a variety of other symptoms.
If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of any of the disorders described above or are seeking help for a loved one, it’s best to contact a mental health professional to begin treatment right away. Delaying treatment could result in a worsening of symptoms or lead to the progression of the disorder or other mental health issues.
Note: Please note that the information in this article is only to be used as a point of reference and not as a means of diagnosis. Clinical diagnosis must be conducted by a licensed doctor or mental health professional.

Discover Treatment Options

If you would like to learn more about mood disorders or are interested in treatment for yourself or a loved one, please contact the staff at Emerge. Emerge is a mental health clinic that offers evaluation, screening, and psychotherapy services for mood disorder for Denver based families and individuals. Call our office today to get started on your journey to living a healthier, happier life.