Mood Disorders Are Frequently Misunderstood

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Mood Disorders Are Frequently Misunderstood

One of the most persistent problems with a group of medical conditions called mood disorders is the habit of people in general to use a variety of mental health issues in casual references. While that is to be expected with any scientific term, with mood disorders, these terms are often used as insults. When people disagree, they argue that the opposing party is “in denial!” as if that were a testament to someone’s willful disregard of the truth. Clinically, however, being “in denial” is a way to define a common psychological coping mechanism, something people do to protect themselves on some level – either emotionally or psychologically. A psychologist would never say “you’re in denial” as a put-down. It’s simply a common reaction to many problems that occur in our lives.

Conditions like bipolar disorder and depression are also bandied about carelessly, so much so that they seem to have two definitions. One of these is the clinical definition. The other is a casual definition, which often dilutes the clinical term or twists the meaning in strange ways. “Bipolar disorder” is often used, for example, to describe someone who changes their mind or has sudden bursts of anger. “Schizophrenia” is also a term used to define people of two minds about something.

The idea of turning these terms into weapons or insults might be served by knowing what they really are. Call 619-333-8114 for help at Pacific Medical Care for those who are struggling with mental health conditions and live a better quality of life. 

That said, here is a list of mental health conditions and their medical definitions.

Bipolar disorder is a condition marked by two distinct and competing manifestations. One of these is a period of significant and even extreme depression – the type of condition that makes it difficult to get out of bed or face the day. The other manifestations include periods of manic episodes. This is marked by hyper-energy, a lack of sleep, and sometimes extreme activity. While people have been known to paint their entire house in two or three days without sleeping at all, the hyper-alertness (including very clear thinking) eventually changes to a hyper-psychosis. Persons in the midst of a manic episode tend to feel euphoric at first. After a few days or more, they then become more and more irrational. They become very difficult to reason with, no matter how hard you try.

Bipolar disorder used to be called “manic depression.” The medical community no longer uses that term, in part because it was co-opted by common use and used to define anyone whose moods changed quickly.

Dysthymia is the term used to define long-term depression. For most people, depression is a cyclical condition. A person may fall into a depression every two years or so with episodes that last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year. Talk therapy and medication can be very helpful in mitigating cyclical depression. Dysthymia, on the other hand, defines depression that lasts for several years or more. Medication and talk therapy are also helpful for a person with dysthymia.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that gets its name from its association with regions where winters are long, and light sunlight is rare. This type of depression begins in the fall or mid-winter and is relieved when the days get longer in the spring.

Medication-related depression includes episodes of depression brought about by legal or illegal drug use. Often this condition is related to withdrawal from the use of a certain drug. You can always seek help from the San Diego pain management center for a number of treatments and services.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder and postpartum depression are two conditions that involve mood changes associated with the onset of menses and a decline into depression after a woman gives birth to a child. Antidepressants and other medications can be helpful in both cases, but postpartum depression can also be addressed by talk therapies, as it can last from a month to a year. That’s a critical period in the life of an infant, so taking care of the mother is critical during this period, as well.

When To Seek Help

Don’t take emotional conditions lightly, especially if they feel like they have become long-term. Two to three months is long enough to be depressed – even too long. Call for an appointment as soon as you feel the depression has taken too long to resolve itself. Call our pain management doctors San Diego at 619-333-8114 to schedule an appointment today!


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