Mood disorders affect the whole person, from their thoughts and emotions to their family life and physical health. Women typically experience a spectrum of moods, both positive and negative. But those suffering from mood disorders are subjected to extreme positive and negative emotions along with a loss of their sense of control over their emotional experiences. The irregularity of their moods is so severe that it causes them distress and interferes with their ability to function in their lives. Symptoms tend to occur in a cyclical fashion over an individual's life.
Today, full recovery is possible, and there are many effective treatments to choose from including medication and hormone replacement, counseling and psychotherapy, products and supplements as well as dietary and lifestyle approaches.
Not all treatments are right for everyone, and not all aspects of mood disorders are negative. These conditions also bring strengths which are important to identify so they don't get lost in treatment. Our goal is to help patients find the right balance between the benefits of full treatment and the risks of overtreatment.
There are many kinds of mood disorders and an accurate diagnosis is essential to finding the right treatment. We use research-based diagnostic tests to make sure we are on the right path to customizing a treatment plan for the individual patient. We take a whole person approach, looking for the root cause of a patient's symptoms.
Bipolar disorder is a less common condition, in which a person experiences a period of depression followed by a manic "high". A manic episode is a period lasting at least a week marked by symptoms such as an abnormally elevated mood, exaggerated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, pressured speech, irritability or distractibility, and reckless or impulsive behaviors such as sexual indiscretion or spending sprees. A person in a manic phase may also experience psychotic symptoms.
The cause of mood disorders is not well understood, but researchers think they are usually associated with changes in brain chemistry. There may also be a genetic component. Often, too, environmental factors such as stressful events can trigger the illness. Both major depression and bipolar disorder are illnesses that recur in episodes throughout a person's life. But with a combination of medication and psychotherapy, most people are able to manage their illness and regain control of their lives.