A mood disorder is one type of mental health condition.
Mental health conditions affect your brain and can change the way you feel, think, or behave.
Mood disorders mainly affect the way you feel (your mood).
Some signs you may have a mood disorder are if you:
- Feel very sad all of the time.
- Have a mood that changes from very sad to very happy over a short period of time.
Mood disorders can affect anyone and all areas of life.
Some people can tell when they have a mood disorder.
Some people need help to notice any changes in their moods.
As a person with a developmental disability, you can learn about mood disorders so you can seek help to diagnose if you may have one.
Mood disorders are very common and can be treated.
There are two main types of mood disorders:
- Bi-polar disorder (also called manic depression)
It is important to recognize the signs of mood disorders and to seek treatment.
The stories about Sandy and David in this presentation will help you.
For the past month, Sandy has been feeling sad and hopeless.
She has been spending most of her time alone in her room, avoiding the activities she usually enjoys.
Sandy knows that these feelings are different from the way she usually feels and she tells her support provider.
Her support provider is concerned; together, they make an appointment with Sandy’s doctor.
Sandy and her support provider make a list of questions and concerns.
This list will help Sandy remember what she wants to tell her doctor at the appointment.
- Sandy describes her feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
- Sandy’s support provider also tells the doctor about the changes she has noticed in Sandy’s mood and behavior.
Her doctor decides Sandy should see a special kind of doctor, called a psychiatrist.
A psychiatrist is a doctor who is trained to recognize the symptoms of mental health conditions.
Sandy and her psychiatrist, Dr. Jeffries, have an appointment where they talk about Sandy’s life and her feelings.
After talking with Sandy several times, Dr. Jeffries determines that Sandy has a mental health condition called depression.
Dr. Jeffries tells Sandy that her depression can be treated!
Dr. Jeffries recommends two treatments that will work together: therapy sessions with him and a medication called an anti-depressant.
When she gets her medication, Sandy makes sure to go over the instructions and label with Dr. Jeffries and her pharmacist.
- She writes down their advice so she can review it at home.
By seeking treatment for her depression, Sandy made an important choice to keep herself healthy.
When she felt hopeless and sad, she told someone about it instead of keeping her feelings to herself.
She’s going to keep seeing Dr. Jeffries and she’ll be honest with him about her feelings.
She’s also going to manage her medication responsibly.
Sandy takes other medications for diabetes and heart disease.
- She told Dr. Jeffries about these medications before she started taking her new anti-depressant medication.
She’s going to make sure to learn the instructions for all of her medications so that she can take them in the right way and at the right times.
Across town, David has been feeling like he doesn’t have control over his feelings.
- Extreme mood swings
- Excessive excitement
- Deep sadness
He knows what he is feeling is not how he normally feels, so he tells his support provider.
David’s support provider helps him make an appointment with Dr. Jeffries.
David tells Dr. Jeffries about his extreme moods.
- Some weeks, he feels very important and happy and doesn’t need to sleep, and then other weeks, he feels sad and hopeless. In between, he feels okay.
- He often lashes out angrily at his close friends and relatives, but then wants to spend lots of time with them.
Dr. Jeffries meets with David a few more times to be sure about his diagnosis.
Dr. Jeffries diagnoses David with bi-polar disorder and recommends the following treatment plan:
- Continued therapy sessions with him
- A psychotropic medication called lithium
- Frequent blood tests to monitor the effects of the lithium on David’s body
David has made an important choice by talking to someone and seeking treatment for his bi-polar disorder.
When he noticed that his moods changed a lot, he immediately told someone.
He helped Dr. Jeffries make the right diagnosis because he was honest during their therapy sessions.
He is going to make sure he takes his lithium responsibly and he’ll tell someone if he doesn’t feel right.
Sandy and David know how important it is to talk to someone about how you are feeling.
Your support system is a great place to find someone to talk to about how you have been feeling.
Always try to be as honest as you can.
Remember that every detail, no matter how small, is important.
If you recognize any of Sandy’s or David’s feelings as something you’re feeling, you should tell someone!
People in your support system care about you and want to help you get better.
Talk to them and be honest with them about all of the feelings you are experiencing.
The most important thing is to seek advice and diagnosis for treatment for your mood disorder!