Mood disorders are mental health conditions that affect your emotional state and ability to function. A mood disorder may make you feel extremely sad, empty, or irritable (depressed). In other cases, you may experience periods of sadness followed by extreme happiness (mania).
It is common for your mood to change based on different situations. Mood disorders are characterized by these emotional symptoms occurring for several weeks or more.
Common forms of mood disorders include:
- Major depressive disorder (depression): Prolonged periods of sadness with no discernible cause
- Bipolar disorder: Periods of depression alternating with periods of mania
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): Depression that commonly occurs between late fall and early spring
- Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder: Irritability and mood changes that coincide with an impending menstrual period.
Mood disorders may be caused by several factors. If you feel like your emotions are interfering with parts of your daily life, talk to your doctor about possible treatment options. These disorders rarely go away on their own, but can usually be treated with therapy and/ or medication.
Below is a list of common medications used to treat the symptoms of mood disorders, which a doctor or provider may prescribe to you for just $5 through SesameRx.
Please note that all prescriptions are at the discretion of your doctor.
Treatment for mood disorders largely depends on the specific condition and severity of the symptoms, but are most commonly addressed through a combination of medication and therapy. During your appointment, talk to your doctor about what treatment plan is right for you.
Common forms of medication used to treat mood disorders include:
- Antidepressants: Antidepressant medications come in a variety of forms. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are the most commonly prescribed drugs used to treat mood disorders. These drugs work by increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine (hormones that control mood and happiness) in the brain. These drugs can take 4-6 weeks before you begin to feel their effects, but it is critical that you follow the prescription exactly as given to you by your doctor. In addition, do not discontinue the use of antidepressants even if you feel better.
- Mood stabilizers: These drugs reduce abnormal chemical activity in the brain, balancing the mood swings between major depression and mania. It is not completely understood how exactly mood stabilizers function, but they have been shown to reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder and other disorders.
- Antipsychotics: Antipsychotics block the effects of dopamine in the brain. This can help reduce and control mood swings and psychosis symptoms caused by mood disorders such as bipolar disorder.
Psychotherapy (or talk therapy) is a general term for talking with a mental health expert about your depression and associated difficulties to get help. Mood disorders can be treated using a variety of psychotherapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. Other sorts of treatments may be suggested by your mental health expert. Psychotherapy can help you with:
- Adapting to a crisis or a stressful issue.
- Replacing unhealthy behaviors and negative thinking and habits with healthy habits and positive thoughts.
- Examining your relationships and experiences.
- Improving your problem-solving and coping skills.
- Identifying the factors that contribute to your depression and alter the habits that aggravate it.
- Regaining a sense of fulfillment and control in your life, as well as relief from depression symptoms like hopelessness and rage.
- Learning how to create realistic life objectives.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): Electrical currents are delivered into the brain during ECT to affect the function and effect of neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help alleviate depression. ECT is often used for patients who do not respond to medicines, are unable to take antidepressants due to health concerns, or are at high risk of suicide.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): For individuals who haven't responded to antidepressants, TMS may be an alternative. TMS uses a magnetic coil that is placed on your scalp to deliver short pulses to nerve cells in your brain that are involved in mood regulation and depression.