Mental Health Awareness Unpacking mood disorders

Whether it’s your child, a close relative or even yourself who grew up with symptoms you never quite understood, it may be a good time to brush up on some common mental health disorders. I will be unpacking common mental health disorders throughout this month.

What are mood disorders? Mood disorders are a group of mental health illnesses that impact mood and related functions. A mood disorder often interferes with daily life and eventually leads to feelings of constant overwhelming sadness, irritability, anger, or stress. Here’s more.

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is characterized by a severe and prolonged low mood, intense sadness, irritability, or sense of dread. A person suffering from serious depression may also be unable to appreciate things that are normally pleasurable.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating episodes of both extreme happiness and depression. For example, a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder can feel extreme happiness with high energy levels, and then suddenly present the complete opposite.

Substance-induced mood disorder

Substance-induced mood disorder is an illness that develops when an individual suffers persistent depressive symptoms following substance use, reduction, or withdrawal.

Symptoms of mood disorders

It is important to note that only a healthcare provider can professionally diagnose mood disorder types and their symptoms, however common or well know symptoms include,

  • Mood fluctuations

  • Random episodes of depression
  • Impatience
  • Restlessness
  • Unusual sleep habits
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed

In severe cases,

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

Mental Illness, in whatever form, should be taken seriously. If you or someone you know might be struggling with mental health, visit SADAG (The South African Depression Group), or  Lifeline for free counselling. You can also reach out to these organisations.

This mental awareness month, let’s familiarise ourselves with common mental health disorders and educate others about it.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).