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Understanding Mood Disorders and Diagnosis

Issues Treated

Mood Disorders

Definition of a Mood Disorder

Many mental health issues overlap and, as such, a clear understanding of them can be lost. By definition, a mood disorder is a psychological disorder characterised by the elevation or lowering of a person’s mood, such as depression or bipolar disorder.

Symptoms associated with mood disorders:
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness.
  • Fatigue or low energy levels.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Trouble sleeping or drowsiness during the day.
  • Poor appetite or overeating.
  • Impeded ability to concentrate.
  • Observed serious fluctuations in their mood.
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions.
 
A mood disorder is characterised by significant changes in mood that occur regularly, but inconsistently. They can affect all areas of life, including your frame of mind, energy levels, and ability to function. For most people, mood disorders can be successfully treated with psychotherapy and sometimes medication. The two most common disorders are depression and bipolar disorder. 

Treatment

The symptoms of depression can be lessened by prescribed biological medication, but psychotherapy treats depression by addressing the cause and reasons for why it is there in the first place. Therapy has a more lasting effect in changing the biology behind depression than medication. This is because the patient learns to recognise the first signs of depressive episodes and can apply the knowledge, they gain from their sessions to avoid repeating the same hardships. With the insights and new skills learned from therapy their depression can be counteracted. Psychotherapy can be a long term, preventative treatment that equips users with the tools to tackle the disorder themselves, if it rears its head again in the future.

There is also research suggesting that unless we experience adverse events, even with a predisposition to become depressed, we wouldn’t necessarily experience mental health issues in the absence of external triggers. This is essentially saying that depression is not just a biological problem. In fact, events can alter biology and the evidence as to which comes first – events that affect biology or biology that affects events – is still inconclusive.

All cases of depression have the following aspects in common: thinking errors and lack of problem solving. The best course of action and treatment is to address these cognitive errors. We can do this by investigating and evaluating our ways of thinking, develop problem solving skills, and explore our deeper individual reasons for depression. With the help of a therapist, we can come to see which of our thought processes are rational and which can be changed to improve our outlook, ultimately reducing the physical and behavioural symptoms of depression.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for depression

Our thoughts determine our feelings, and our feelings determine our actions. By making changes to the way we view life, think, and the way we behave, we can improve our mood and reduce the symptoms of depression. Sometimes we can be too far into a depressive episode to see this for ourselves, but the insight and support of an outsider can make this happen. Find out more about the cognitive behavioural therapy that we offer.

Existential therapy for depression

Individuals suffering from depression characterised by feeling lost, numb, a lack of meaning in life and apathy, or in the face of traumatic events can benefit from an existential approach. This approach will focus on helping clients come to terms with, understand, and eventually move past their condition, rather than suppressing or attempting to cope with it.

Psychoanalytic therapy for depression

If you would like to deal with long standing and severe depression that you have coped, but struggled, with for a long time, psychoanalysis can be very effective. This approach is recommended if other treatments haven’t worked effectively, or if you’d simply like to gain a better understanding of yourself.

"Just a quick mail to say a big thank you. I came to see you some time ago as I had been experiencing social anxiety which were causing me problems both socially but also in my professional career. Since seeing you I haven’t had one attack and my life is now back. I’m now living life to the full enjoying going out with my wife and our friends as well as enjoying my public appearances with my work. Thanks so much for helping me.

KatE