Mood disorders are health conditions which manifest as intense and persistent emotional elevation or depression that negatively affect people’s mental well-being, physical health, relationships and behaviour. The disorders are emotional instabilities that occur among different genders, ages and races as a result of genetic, environmental or uncontrollable life dispositions. Mood disorders refer to a category of mental health problems that include all types of depressive and bipolar defects. These disorders are sometimes called affective disorders which affect about 10% of the population globally. Everyone experiences “highs” and “lows” in life, but people with mood disorders experience them with greater intensity over longer periods of time than normal people.
During the 1980s, mental healthcare professionals began to recognize symptoms of mood disorders in children, adolescents and adults. Mood disorder is an increasingly serious psychiatric concern. Today, clinicians and researchers believe that mood disorders in children and adolescents remain one of the most under-diagnosed mental health problems. However, early detection and intervention can reduce the severity of symptoms, enhance the individual’s normal growth and development, and improve the quality of life expectancy of persons with or prone to mood disorders.
DESCRIPTIONS OF MOOD DISORDERS AND TYPES
Mood or affective disorders can be described as persistent elevation or depression in mood which impairs the sufferer’s ability to function and perform optimally in the society. They are conditions that cause people to experience intense and prolonged emotional changes that adversely affect their health, relationships and behaviour. It is a potential factor that can promote the risk of suicidal tendencies and drugs abuse.
The two most serious types of mood disorders are major or clinical depression and bipolar or manic disorders. Major depression is a two-week period of a depressed or irritable mood or a noticeable decrease in interest or pleasure in usual activities, along with other signs of mood disorders. Individuals with major depressive episodes or disorders are increasingly and easily ready for suicide. An estimated 8.5 percent of the world’s population suffers from this depressive disorder. Seeking timely help and treatment from healthcare professionals dramatically reduces the individual’s risk of exposure and drive to suicide option. Clinical depression is the most common mood disorder. A person with clinical or major depression feels “very low” and hopelessness. The patient experiences changes in eating patterns, disturbed sleep, constant tiredness, inability to have sex and strong thoughts of death or suicide.
People with bipolar or manic disorder have periods of depression and periods of feeling unusually “high” or elated. The “highs” get out of hand most times; and the manic person can without provocation exhibit recklessness, sometimes to the point of financial ruin or getting in trouble with the law. Occasionally, manic depression (bipolar disorder) presents at least one episode of a depressed or irritable mood and at least one period of a manic (persistently elevated) mood. Studies have shown that more women than men experience these mood disorder episodes during the ages of 25 and 45.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF MOOD DISORDERS
The signs and symptoms of mood disorders may resemble other ill-health conditions or psychiatric problems. Depending on age and the type of mood disorder present, a person may showcase different signs and symptoms of depression or elevation. The following are the most common signs and symptoms of mood disorders. However, each individual may experience signs and symptoms differently. The signs and symptoms may include persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness or helplessness, inadequacy or worthlessness and excessive guilt. Other signs and symptoms of mood disorders include over inflated ego or unrealistic optimism, low self-esteem, pressured speech, constant thought of death and loss of interest in usual activities or activities once enjoyed. There may be difficulty in having relationships, sleep disturbances (insomnia or hypersomnia), unintentional changes in appetite or weight and decreased energy or fatigue. Mood disorders can also present signs and symptoms that include difficulty in concentration (flight of ideas or thought), decrease in the ability to make decisions or think rationally, suicidal thoughts or attempts, frequent physical complaints of ( headache, stomach ache, fatigue), running away or threats of running away from home, hypersensitivity to failure or rejection, observable irritability, hostility and aggression. Over response to distractions and abnormal zeal to engage in dangerous and high risk activities are also experienced.
In mood disorders, these feelings appear more intense from time to time. It is also of concern if these feelings continue over a period of time or interfere with an individual’s interest in family, friends, community or work.
DANGERS OF MOOD DISORDERS
Mood disorders can cause mortality, morbidity and other impairments if not timely and properly managed. It can cause health, social and economic burdens to the patient and society. Depression is associated with physical illness as well. About 25% of hospitalized patients have noticeable depressive symptoms and about 5% do suffer from major depression. Chronic medical conditions associated with depression include heart diseases, cancers, vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, hepatitis, and malaria. Depression also is a common partner of neurological disorders including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases; multiple sclerosis, strokes, epilepsy and brain tumors. Even moderate depressive symptoms are associated with a higher than average rate of arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and high blood pressure. Depression can mimic medical illness, and any illness feels worse to someone suffering from depression.
AVOIDABLE RISK FACTORS OF MOOD DISORDERS
It is very important for people to avoid confined or solitary lifestyle, cigarette/tobacco smoking, and undue attempts to accomplish too many activities and ideas simultaneously. Alcohol misuse which may cause distortion of brain chemistry and illicit drugs and substances which lead to abuse and addiction should be avoided.
PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT OF MOOD DISORDERS
Everybody should stay very close to God, be contented with today and hope for better tomorrow with sincere prayers for internal sense of control that moderates big mood swings; and carefully stabilize your ups and downs. Keep friends or social groups that have positive ideas and inclinations towards life and its appointed circumstances. Keep your ideas and ambitions focused on a project at a time, stay simple and never give-up in any life situation. Engage in physical exercises and listen to music that has positive influence. Identify stressors in your environment and how to avoid them. Report the signs and symptoms of mood disorders above to your medical experts immediately they are noticed in you or your neighbours for prompt medical evaluation and intervention.
The essence of this article is to highlight publicly these mood disorders to enable people partner in this corporate health affair by watching themselves and their neighbours for this medical condition which manifests as mood or emotional alterations. The document seeks to promote early detection and reporting to relevant health facilities, any tendency towards affective disorders.