Understanding Mood Disorders
Its shocking to note that mood disorders these days are not uncommon. In the United States alone it is estimated that between 15 and 20 million people suffer from depressive disorders. Most symptoms of depression would be characterized as overwhelming sadness and loss of joy and pleasure in daily activities. Depression has been called the “common cold of mental illness,” not indicating that symptoms of depression are mild, but because they are widespread.
Bipolar disorder is one of many types of depression that affects many individuals. More recently this disorder has been given more public light. Symptoms of this disorder often include mixed states of mania and depression. Often times during the depression phase of bipolar disorder patients are plagued with thoughts of suicide, while during the manic phase the patient has far more energy than normal. Often times they are very talkative, and experience a huge boost in self-confidence.
It is estimated that bipolar disorder affects about 2.3 million adults in the United States in any given year. A worldwide accounting of bipolar disorder in adults is alot higher. Statistical numbers of mood disorders cannot, however, descibe the pain and suffering that such ones go through.
Everyone experiences a “case of the blues” from time to time, but most often it only lasts a relativly short time. This would not be considered clinical depression, which is far more serious than a “case of the blues.”
What causes clinical depression? While it is not fully understood as to all the causes of clinical depression it is noted that there are many biological and emotional factors that contribute to the development of a severe depressive disorder. It effects more than 19 million American’s a year, and it is estimated that approximately 3% to 5% of teenagers suffer from clinical depression every year.
Those suffering from chronic depression often fail to realize the seriousness of their condition. Just how serious is it? It has often been linked to lack of performance, alcohol and drug abuse, severe feelings of worthlessnes and guilt, and in many cases suicide.
Often times having an empathetic friend that will lend a listening ear can bring great relief. However because the biochemical factor that is involved with the disorder it is not often realistic to rely solely on your friends listening ear.
Mood disorders such as clinical depression often have a great impact on family members. However, there are things that family members can do to help those ailing from the condition. Wholehearted support is vital when a loved one is suffering from this disorder. It is often helpful to study up on the condition and become thoroughly familiar with the disorder. This will allow ones to be able to better cope and deal with the sufferer.
Living with depression can be a great challenge, but the challenge is even greater when it is coupled with mania, a mood swing in bipolar disorder. Family members may often be confused as to the erratic behavior of those suffering from bipolar disorder. States Becky, “Its hard to see my brother switching from a happy person to such a sad person so suddenly. It’s very hard on all of the family, we all feel helpless like there is nothing we can do.”
Bipolar’s effects are not just directed one way. Often times the pain is reflected inwards as well to the sufferer. The patient suffering from bipolar disorder may often be left confused at the lack of stability in their life.
What is the cause of bipolar disorder? Through several studies scientists are trying to uncover the cause of bipolar disorder. While there is no known single cause of bipolar disorder it is know that genetics plays a big part in the cause. Family members that are directly related to ones who suffer from bipolar depression have a greater chance of developing the bipolar or major depression in your lifetime.
Bipolar disorder knows no gender, and has an equal opportunity of affecting both sexes. Most often the disorder starts developing in young adulthood, however cases studies have shown development of the disorder in younger age groups. Since the symptoms are so wide in their range it is often hard to detect, especially when intervals between mania and depression can last years.