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Mood Disorders

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

What is a mood disorder?

A mood disorder is a medical condition that makes it hard for you to control your mood or emotions. Your mood can affect your personality, behavior, and outlook on life. A mood disorder is also called an affective disorder.

What increases my risk for a mood disorder?

  • A major change in your life
  • Trauma or stress
  • Chemical changes in your body
  • Certain medicines such as hormones or steroids
  • A family history of mood disorder
  • Alcohol or substance use disorder

What are the signs and symptoms of a mood disorder?

  • Changes in your eating habits, energy level, weight, or sleeping patterns
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling hopeless, anxious, or sad
  • Loss of interest in daily or enjoyable activities
  • Irritability or frequent mood swings
  • Low sex drive
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions

How is a mood disorder diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical and social history. He or she will ask if you have ever wanted to hurt yourself or others. Tell him or her if you have people in your life who support you. Tell him or her about your behaviors, feelings, and relationships with others. Your answers will help determine which treatment is best for you.

How is a mood disorder treated?

Treatment will depend on the cause of your mood disorder and how severe your symptoms are. You may need any of the following:

  • Medicines can help control your moods.
  • Talk therapy can help identify stressors in your life and how to deal with them. Talk therapy can be with a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist. Sessions may be one-on-one or with family.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Try to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Contact your healthcare provider if you have trouble sleeping.
  • Manage stress. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing or meditation.
  • Talk to someone about how you feel. Join a support group. Talk to your healthcare provider, family, or friends about your feelings.
  • Exercise regularly. Ask about the best exercise plan for you. Most healthcare providers recommend 30 minutes each day, 5 days a week. Exercise helps to lower stress and manage moods.
    Black Family Walking for Exercise

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You feel like you want to hurt yourself or others.

When should I call my doctor?

  • You feel more depressed or anxious than usual.
  • Your medicine causes you to feel drowsy, keeps you awake, or affects how much you eat.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

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 healthcare providers 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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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.