Mood Disorders

What is it?

Mood disorders are also called affective disorders. You may have a mood disorder when your mood or emotions are out of control. When your mood is out of control, you may feel overly happy or overly sad. A mood is an emotion or feeling that lasts a long time. Moods range from feeling sad to feeling happy. Moods affect how we act (our personality). Your mood also affects how you feel about yourself and life in general.


A mood disorder problem may be caused by changes in your life. Chemical changes in your body can also cause a mood disorder. Women who have a mood disorder are more likely to get depressed than men. Following are reasons why you may be at a higher risk for getting this disorder.

  • Someone else in your family has had a mood disorder.

  • You are between the ages of 25 to 44 years.

  • You use illegal drugs or abuse alcohol.

Signs or Symptoms:

You may find that signs and symptoms of mood disorder start very slowly. Other people may see changes before you see or feel them. Following are signs and symptoms of a mood disorder.

  • Changes in your eating habits, energy level, weight, or sleeping patterns.

  • Do not look after yourself very well, like bathing or caring for your hair.

  • Feel differently about sex than you did before.

  • Feel differently about being with other people.

  • Feel differently about yourself or your future.

  • People may have trouble getting along with you.

  • Work or other activities may suffer because you lose interest or cannot find answers to your problems.


  • Psychiatric assessment: Caregivers will ask if you have a history of psychological trauma, such as physical, sexual, or mental abuse. They will ask if you were given the care that you needed. Caregivers will ask you if you have been a victim of a crime or natural disaster, or if you have a serious injury or disease. They will ask you if you have seen other people being harmed, such as in combat. You will be asked if you drink alcohol or use drugs at present or in the past. Caregivers will ask you if you want to hurt or kill yourself or others. How you answer these questions can help caregivers decide on treatment. To help during treatment, caregivers will ask you about such things as how you feel about it and your hobbies and goals. Caregivers will also ask you about the people in your life who support you.

  • Tests and treatment: You may need to have blood tests, an x-ray, EKG, or a CT scan. You may also need to take medicine to control your mood swings. At first you will probably be seen in a clinic or caregiver's office. You may need to see your caregiver 1 to 4 times a month. You may need to go into the hospital for tests and treatment.


Accepting that you have a mood disorder is hard. You and those close to you may feel angry, sad, or frightened. These are normal feelings. Talk to your caregivers, your family, or your friends about your feelings. Call or write one of the following organizations for more information about mood disorders.

  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Public Information & Communication Branch
    6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 8184, MSC 9663
    Bethesda , MD 20892-9663
    Phone: 1- 301 - 443-4513
    Phone: 1- 866 - 615-6464
    Web Address:
  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
    730 N. Franklin Street, Suite 501
    Chicago , IL 60610-7224
    Phone: 1- 800 - 826-3632
    Web Address:

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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