Mood Disorders

By Vrunda Patel (Intern, Department of Mental Health Education, NIMHANS)

From every now and then people suffer from irritation and sadness. Variation in mood, and their general emotional state is directly associated with mood disorders. Being extremely sad or happy, empty or irritable, or even the periods of depression are directive towards it. These include bipolar disorder and depression. Bipolar Disorder is also known as manic depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks while depression is persistent and prolonged periods of extreme sadness.

Signs and Symptoms of Mood Disorders:

  1. Symptoms of Major depressive disorder:

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Loss of interest in day-to-day activities that were once pleasurable

  • Feeling of emptiness

  • Feeling of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness

  • Unyielding anxiety and sadness

  • Constant body or head ache

  • Difficulty remembering details, making decisions.

  1. Symptoms of Bipolar disorder:

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Restlessness

  • Extreme irritability

  • Excessive energy

  • Prolonged period of feeling sad or hopeless

  • Feeling tired and slowed down or sleeping little and not being tired

  • Easily distracted

  • Having racing thoughts

There are various causes of bipolar disorder. One of the potential reasons is the one due to genetics. Bipolar disorder tends to run in families. Some research has suggested that people with certain genes are more likely to develop bipolar disorder than others. However, most children with a family history of bipolar disorder will not develop the illness. Although researchers and professionals did not point particularly towards the major causes of mood disorders but some traumatic event that took place in a person’s life, substance abuse, dysfunctional family life are directly linked to mood disorders.

Mood disorders are most likely to occur in a person’s late teens or early adult years. At least half of all cases start before age 25. Some people have their first symptoms during childhood, while others may develop symptoms late in life.

When done in combination with medication, psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for mood disorders. It can provide support, education, and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families. Some psychotherapy treatments used to treat mood disorders include cognitive behavioural therapy, it helps people with mood disorders learn to change harmful or negative thought patterns and behaviours. Family-focused therapy, it helps enhance family coping strategies, such as recognizing new episodes early and helping their loved one. Psychoeducation, it teaches people with mood disorders about the illness and its treatment.

To help a friend or relative, you can:

  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.

  • Learn about bipolar disorder so you can understand what your friend or relative is experiencing.

  • Talk to your friend or relative and listen carefully.

  • Listen to feelings your friend or relative expresses and be understanding about situations

that may trigger mood disorders symptoms.

  • Invite your friend or relative out for positive distractions, such as walks, outings, and other activities.

  • Remind your friend or relative that, with time and treatment, he or she can get better.

  • Never ignore comments from your friend or relative about harming himself or herself. Always report such comments to his or her therapist or doctor.

When you feel that the situation is going to an extreme level then by understanding the severity of the situation contact the therapist, psychiatrists, counsellor any professional who could help. For further immediate help, look for the online available hotlines.

Vandrevala Foundation: 1860-2662-345 or 1800-2333-330
Sneha Foundation: 044-2464-0050


[1] Mayo Clinic Staff. “Bipolar disorder.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Retrieved from
[2] The National Institute of Mental Health (2016, April). “Bipolar Disorder.” The National Institute of Mental Health Retrieved from
WebMD (2017, March 31).”12 Ways to Help Someone with Bipolar Disorder.” WebMD. Retrieved from