Sadness is a natural response brought on by upsetting or disheartening events. It is also a functional response because it allows the person to process the changes that occur as a result of difficult period. These relatively short-term feelings often pass on their own as the individual adapts and moves forward.
It’s important to note that a brief period of sadness is not a mood disorder nor is it technically depression. Depression lasts for more than a few weeks, continually worsens over time, and disrupts the patient’s ability to function capably in day-to-day life. Mood disorders are characterized by extreme emotions that the patient is unable to control. These moods are disruptive and make it impossible for them to function in a way that allows them to enjoy healthy interactions with others and general wellness.
Intensive treatment that includes medication and a range of different therapies that address all the obstacles to a balanced and peaceful life can help patients to learn how to better manage symptoms and improve the quality of their daily experience.
There are a number of different mental health disorders that are classified as mood disorders. These include:
- Depressive disorder. Moderate to severe symptoms of depression define depressive disorder. Medication and intensive therapy are generally necessary for effective treatment.
- Bipolar disorder. Once known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme shifts between depressive phases and manic phases of behavior. These phases can last weeks or months and are cyclical. There are two types of bipolar disorder.
- Dysthymic disorder. Mild depression that is chronic in nature, dysthymic disorder can cause a joylessness that permeates every aspect of experience.
- Cyclothymic disorder. Emotional ups and downs define cyclothymic disorder, though they are not as severe as the mood swings that define the two types of bipolar disorder.
Medication Use in the Treatment of Mood Disorders
Depression is very often stabilized through the use of medication, especially antidepressants, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (e.g., Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) (e.g., Effexor, Cymbalta). When taken regularly, these medications can work to mitigate the patient’s experience of depression symptoms, enabling him or her to more fully engage in the psychotherapeutic treatment that will teach them how to:
- Cope with stressors
- Shift perspectives that are self-harming
- Increase self-confidence and self-esteem
- Build healthy relationships with others
- Find hope in daily life and the future
Evidence-Based Psychotherapeutic Treatment for Depression and Mood Disorders
A number of psychotherapeutic treatments have been proven through clinical trials and anecdotal evidence, and patients report them to be hugely effective in the treatment of mood disorders. Some of the most prominently successful include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT is especially efficacious in the treatment of cyclothymic disorder, depressive disorder, and dysthymic disorder because it helps patients to shift perspectives away from ones that increase negative views.
- Dialectical behavior therapy. DBT can be helpful in the treatment of patients who struggle with suicidal thoughts and behaviors as related to a depressive disorder.
- Interpersonal therapy. The improvement in communication ability is the focus of interpersonal therapy, providing patients with an increased ability to get their needs met in a positive way.
- Family therapy. Fractured relationships with a spouse, parent, child, or extended family member are addressed, helping the patient to increase their positive support system at home and improve their quality of life.
When combined with medication, these therapies can help patients to find and maintain a balanced emotional state in everyday life.
Contact us at Constellation Behavioral Health today for more information about our treatment options for mood disorders and depression.