There’s a lot to know about mood disorders. It’s important to understand that you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Health about 20.9 million American adults have experienced some type of mood disorder such as anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.
Everyone feels down from time to time. You’re struggling to balance work, family and social activities. You aren’t getting enough sleep. You feel drained and finding the energy to do the things you need to do or the things you want to do is difficult. But, how do you know if you’re just burned out — or if you’re actually depressed?
It can be hard to determine if you are just in a bad mood, feeling exhausted or experiencing an actual mood disorder because the symptoms can be similar. These disorders affect your general mood making you feel extremely sad or irritable often over an extended period of time.
The symptoms of mood disorders can be easy to ignore, so it’s important to be tuned in to small changes in how you feel. Common symptoms of mood disorders include:
- Irritability, aggression or hostility
- An ongoing sad, empty or anxious mood
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Difficulty concentrating
Learning about mood disorders and understanding the signs and symptoms is important because it is likely that in your lifetime, you or someone you know will be affected by one. Remember anxiety and depression are very common and treatable. They affect people of every profession and every walk of life, and most people who seek treatment will recover and go on to live fulfilling, productive lives. Most importantly, mood disorders are not your fault. They are medical conditions and can be caused by genetic and biological factors.
If you think you might have a mood disorder, talk to your primary care provider. Often your primary physician can determine an appropriate course of treatment or recommended a specialist who can provide specialized treatment if necessary.