Diagnosing and Treating Mental Disorders

Mood Disorders affect around forty four million Americans each year. Mental illnesses are the most common affecting mental health today. The two most common mental disorders being depression and bipolar disease. There are several factors in which researchers believe contribute to mental disorders. Some researchers believe that the most severe mood disorders are caused by imbalances in the brain’s chemical activity. Researchers also believe the environment can play a part in mood disorders and it may run in families. Some mood disorders may be easier to diagnose due to the symptoms that the patient is showing, while others may be a little more difficult and require more testing due to the mood disorder going unrecognized. The good news is that with the proper medication and psychotherapy a person afflicted with a mood disorder can go on and live a productive life. With mood disorders such as

bipolar disease and depression being so prevalent in the United States, is there more we should be doing in regards to research to curtail the number of people of who are affected?

Bipolar disease is a mood disorder which is defined by extreme mood swings and “regular” behavior. Researchers believe that this particular disorder runs in families. This mood disorder usually begins in a person’s middle twenties and last throughout their lives. If gone untreated this mood disorder has devastating effects like divorce, job loss, and possibly even suicide. Symptoms of this mood disorder are increased energy, less need for sleep, inflated self esteem and poor judgment among other things. It is really hard to diagnosis someone with this disorder unless they are given a full medical evaluation. There are no lab tests to diagnosis someone with bipolar disease. “Effective treatments are available that greatly reduce the suffering caused by bipolar disorder, and can usually prevent its devastating complications. However, bipolar disorder is often not recognized by the patient, relatives, friends, or even physicians. People with bipolar disorder may suffer needlessly without proper treatment, for years or even decades. Also, many patients do not respond to at least one drug, and many show no response to several. This means that combination treatment is often the rule because a combination of different drugs with different methods of action can be more effective without increasing the risk of side effects. Lithium is still the most used drug overall in mania, but mood stabilizing anticonvulsants are also widely used” (Bipolar Disorder, 2007, para.3).

Depression is a mood disorder described as a person’s feeling of sadness extending past a couple of weeks. Three to four million people in America are afflicted with disease which is more prominent in women. Researchers are still unsure which brain mechanisms actually cause this mood disorder. Depression affects a person’s appetite and sleeping patterns. The person may also lose interest in activities that they enjoyed before. The person will also experience suicidal thoughts and behaviors. To really diagnosis someone with depression they must display some of the above mentioned symptoms longer than two weeks. There are also different terms associated with these mood disorders. The term clinical depression means that an episode of depression shown from a person was so great that it requires medical treatment. There is major depression when the disorder is so great that a person is unable to get themselves out of bed. Finally there is seasonal affective disorder in which the disorder is associated with the seasonal changes in the amount of available daylight. A good example of this is when we turn our clocks back an hour in the Fall for Daylight Savings Time. There are several types of therapy available to help people with this disorder like: interpersonal therapy, behavioral therapy, and electroconvulsive therapy when small amounts of electricity are applied to the scalp to affect the neurotransmitters in the brain. Medications used to treat this particular mood disorder are: tricyclics, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Mood disorders are serious mental illnesses which affect many people in the United States. The most common being bipolar disease and depression. The difference between the two is that bipolar disease cannot be diagnosed with a lab test; you have to have a complete medical evaluation to diagnosis this disorder. The sad part is that by the time you go for a medical examination you may of done things to disrupt your life and the life of others. In most cases people who suffer from bipolar disease do not realize what they are doing during an episode and are off their medication. It makes me think of a guy I work with whose wife suffers from this disorder. She would go off her medication because she felt fine and go missing for a couple of days. There are also the days when she has an episode at home and the police come to the house. The sad part is that there is a young child is involved, so not only is the mood disorder affecting her it is affecting the rest of the family. The good news is that there a good portion of people who have this mood disorder are being treated and are able to live normal lives and hopefully with more technological advances we will be able to combat mood disorders all together and make America a greater society.