During the 1980s, mental health professionals began to recognize symptoms of mood disorders in children and adolescents, as well as adults. However, children and adolescents do not necessarily experience or exhibit the same symptoms as adults. It is more difficult to diagnose mood disorders in children, especially because children are not always able to express how they feel. Today, clinicians and researchers believe that mood disorders in children and adolescents remain one of the most under-diagnosed mental health problems.
At any age, mood disorders put individuals at risk for other conditions, that may persist long after, the initial episodes of depression resolved.
Symptoms of mood disorders:
Depending upon age and the type of mood disorder present, a person may exhibit different symptoms of depression. The following are the most common symptoms of a mood disorder. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
Symptoms may include:
1. Persistent feelings of sadness.
2. Feeling hopeless or helpless.
3. Having low self-esteem.
4. Feeling inadequate.
5. Excessive guilt.
6. Feelings of wanting to die.
7. Loss of interest in usual activities or activities once enjoyed.
8. Difficulty with relationships.
9. Sleep disturbances (i.e., insomnia, hypersomnia).
10. Changes in appetite or weight.
11. Decreased energy.
12. Difficulty concentrating.
13. A decrease in the ability to make decisions.
14. Suicidal thoughts or attempts.
15. Frequent physical complaints (i.e., headache, stomach ache, fatigue).
16. Running away or threats of running away from home.
17. Hypersensitivity to failure or rejection.
18. Irritability, hostility, aggression.
19. In mood disorders, these feelings appear more intense than what a person may normally feel from time to time.
20. It is also of concern if these feelings continue over a period of time, or interferes with an individual’s interest in family, friends, community, or work.
21. Any person who expresses thoughts of suicide should be evaluated immediately.
22. The symptoms of mood disorders may resemble other conditions or · psychiatric problems. Physician should make proper diagnosis for that.
What causes mood disorders is not well known.
- There are chemicals in the brain, call endorphins that are responsible for positive moods.
- Other chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters, regulate endor- phins.
- Most likely, depression ( and other mood disorders) is cause by a chemical imbalance in the brain.
- Life events (such as unwanted changes in life) may also contribute to a depressed mood.
- Affective disorders aggregate in families and considered to be multifactorally inherited.
- Multi-factor inheritance means that “many factors” are involve. The factors are usually both genetic and environmental, where a combination of genes from both parents, in addition to unknown environmental factors, produces the trait or condition.
- Often one gender (either male or female) affected more frequently than the other in multi-factor traits.
- There appears to be a different threshold of expression, which means that one gender is more likely to show the problem, over the other gender.
Causative Risk factors:
- Anyone can feel sad or depressed at times. However, mood disorders are more intense and difficult to manage than normal feelings of sadness.
- Children, adolescents, or adults who have a parent with a mood disorder have a greater chance of also having a mood disorder.
- However, life, events and stress can expose or exaggerate feelings of sadness or depression, making the feelings more difficult to manage .
- Sometimes, life’s problems can trigger depression. Being fired from a job, getting divorced, losing a loved one, death in the. family, and , financial trouble, to name a few, all can be difficult and coping with the pressure may be troublesome.
- These life events and stress can bring on feelings of sadness or depression or make a mood disorder harder to manage.
- The chance for depression in females in the general population is nearly twice as high (12 per cent) as it is for males (6.6 per cent). Once a person in the family has this diagnosis, the chance for their siblings or children to have the same diagnosis is increase.
- In addition, relatives of persons with depression are also at increase risk for bipolar disorder (manic depression).
- The chance for manic depression ( or bipolar disorder) in males and females in the general population is about 1 per cent. Once a person in the family has this diagnosis, the chance for their siblings or children to have the same diagnosis increased. In addition, relatives of persons with manic depression are also at increased risk for depression.
Different Types of Mood Disorders:
The following are the most common types of mood disorders:
1. Major depression: a two week period of a depressed or irritable mood or a noticeable decrease in interest or pleasure in usual activities, along with other signs of a mood disorder.
2. Dysthymia (dysthymic disorder): chronic, low-grade, depressed or irritable mood for at least one year.
3. Manic depression (bipolar disorder) at least one episode of a depressed or irritable mood and at least one period of a manic (persistently elevated) mood.
4. Mood disorder due to a general medical condition-many medical illnesses (including cancer, injuries, infections, and chronic medical illnesses) can trigger symptoms of depression.
5. Substance induced mood disorder-symptoms of depression that are due to the effects of medication, drug abuse, exposure to toxins, or other forms of treatment.
The classification of affective disorders in ICD-10 and DSM-IV:
|● Manic episode||● Manic episode|
|● Depressive episode |
|● Major depressive episode|
|● Bipolar affective disorder||● Bipolar disorders|
|● Persistent mood (affective) states|
|● Cyclothymia||● Cyclothymia|
|● Dysthymia||● Dysthymia|
Homeopathic remedies for mood disorder:
1. Arsenicum album :
Anxious, insecure, and perfectionist people who need this remedy may set high standards for themselves and others and become depressed if their expectations are not met. Worry about material security sometimes borders on despair. When feeling ill, these people can be demanding and dependent, even suspicious of others, fearing their condition could be serious.
2. Aurum metallicum:
This remedy can be helpful to serious people, strongly focused on work and achievement, which become depressed if they feel they have failed in some way. Discouragement, self-reproach, humiliation, and anger can lead to “feelings of emptiness and worthlessness. The person may feel worse at night, with nightmares or insomnia.
3. Calcarea carbonica:
A dependable, industrious person who becomes overwhelmed from too much worry, work, or physical illness may benefit from this remedy. Anxiety, fatigue, confusion, discouragement, self-pity, and a dread of disaster may develop. A person who needs this remedy often feels chilly and sluggish and easily tires on exertion.
A person who feels depressed because of grief and loss ( either recent or over time) may benefit from this remedy. Frequent crying or a feeling of mental dullness and forgetfulness (with anxious checking to see if the door is locked, if the stove is off, etc.) are other indications. People who need. this remedy are often deeply sympathetic toward others and, having · a strong sense of justice, can be deeply discouraged or angry about the world.
A person who needs this remedy can be energetic and talkative when feeling well, but upset and gloomy when depressed-with exaggerated fears (of insanity, of being attacked, of disaster). Painful menstrual periods and headaches that involve the neck are often seen when this remedy is needed.
6. Ignatia amara:
Sensitive people who suffer grief or disappointment and try to keep the hurt inside may benefit from this remedy. Wanting not to cry or appear too vulnerable to others, they may seem guarded, defensive, and moody. They may also burst out laughing, or into tears, for no apparent reason. A feeling of a lump in the throat and heaviness in the chest with frequent sighing or yawning are strong indications for Ignatia. Insomnia ( or excessive sleeping), headaches, and cramping pains in the abdomen and back are also often seen.
7. Kali phosphoricum:
If a person feels depressed after working too hard, being physically ill, or going through prolonged emotional stress or excitement, this remedy can be helpful. Exhausted, nervous, and jumpy, they may have difficulty in working or concentrating-and become discouraged and lose confidence. Headaches from mental effort, easy perspiration, and sensitivity to cold, anaemia, in- somnia, and indigestion often seen when this remedy is needed.
8. Natrum carbonicum:
Individuals who need this remedy are usually mild, gentle, and selfless- making an effort to be cheerful and helpful, and avoiding conflict whenever possible. After being hurt or disappointed, they can become depressed, but keep their feelings to themselves. Even when feeling lonely, they withdraw to rest or listen to sad music, which can isolate them even more, Nervous and physically sensitive (to sun, to weather changes, and to many food, especially milk), they may also get depress when feeling weak or ill.
9. Natrum muriaticum:
People who need this remedy seem reserved, responsible, and private yet have strong inner feelings (grief, romantic attachment, anger, or fear of misfortune) that they rarely show. Even though they want other people to feel for them, they can act affronted or angry if someone tries to console them, and need to be alone to cry. Anxiety, brooding about past grievances, migraines, back pain, and insomnia can also be experienced when the person is depressed. A craving for salt and tiredness from sun exposure are other indications for this remedy.
People who need this remedy have a childlike softness and sensitivity-e-and can also be whiny, jealous, and moody. When depressed, they are sad and tearful, wanting a lot of attention and comforting. Crying, fresh air, and gentle exercise usually improve their mood. Getting too warm or being in a . stuffy room can increase anxiety. Depression around the time of hormonal changes (puberty, menstrual periods, or menopause) can often be helped with Pulsatilla.
People who feel weary, irritable, and indifferent to family members, and worn out by the demands of everyday life may respond to this remedy. They want to be left alone and may respond in an angry or cutting way if -anyone bothers them. They often feel better from crying, but would rather have others keep their distance and not try to console them or cheer them up. Menstrual problems, a sagging feeling in internal organs, sluggish digestion, and improvement from vigorous exercise are other indications for this remedy.
Quiet, sensitive, emotional people who have difficulty standing up for them- selves may benefit from this remedy. Hurt feelings, shame, resentment, and suppressed emotions can lead them to depression. If under too much pressure, they can sometimes lose their natural inhibition and fly into rages or throw things. A person who needs this remedy may also have insomnia feeling sleepy all day, but unable to sleep at night), toothaches, headaches, stomachaches, or bladder infections that are stress-related.
Homoeopathy in treatment of psychological disorders by Shilpa Harwani.