Understanding Mood Disorders

Understanding Mood Disorders

With any mental illness, misconceptions and stereotypes will unfortunately come with them most of the time. Mood disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, are all met with heavy stigmas because they are often depicted in a negative light in areas like television shows and movies. On the bright side of things, we do live in an era now where we can use the internet and social media to spread the correct information and bust these myths that have been perpetuated for far too long. Mental health and the issues surrounding it are so important to understand so that we are not only avoiding the spread of misinformation, but also for those that are living with these conditions so they do not ever have to feel any sort of shame or judgement. If you feel as though you may be experiencing symptoms of any mood disorders, please reach out to us at Dr. Messina & Associates. We have a team of highly qualified psychiatrists and therapists that can work with you so that nothing causes a hinderance within your daily life. Today, we are going to break down some of the myths that are commonly spread regarding various mood disorders.


Misconception #1: All Bipolar Symptoms Are the Same

A huge myth surrounding the specific mood disorder known as bipolar disorder is that all of the symptoms for it are the same for every individual that lives with it. While symptoms are typically listed due to being the most common ones you might find in a certain disorder or illness, everyone is of course vastly different – so symptoms can be extremely different, as well. Bipolar disorder is often depicted as someone only being in a manic or depressive state, but there is truly so much more to it than these two moods. Not only is the intensity of the symptoms on a spectrum between individuals, but the duration and impact on everyday life varies from each person, as well. There are several other symptoms that may come with bipolar disorder, such as a lack of concentration, difficulty sleeping, and irritability. There really is more than meets the eye with various mood disorders, which is definitely an important point to remember from here on out.


Misconception #2: The Two Moods Can Only Be Happy or Depressed

Due to the way that mood disorders such as bipolar disorder are portrayed in television shows and other forms of media, it is often believed that only two moods exist within the intricate realm of this mental illness. Some may think that mania and depression are alternated all the time, which is completely not the case. Some individuals experience longer periods of time in a depressive state, while others experience mania – or extreme happiness – more regularly. Often, those with diagnosed bipolar disorder go months without feeling any major symptoms at all. Apathy, agitation, displeasure, and anxiety are all moods that can be felt frequently, as well. It is crucial to keep in mind that not all of those with bipolar disorder are always either manic or depressed, and that they are completely capable of going about their day to day lives like anyone else.  


Misconception #3: Those with a Mood Disorder Can’t Lead Normal Lives

The previous aspect brings us to the next point on our list. Since mood disorders are so commonly misunderstood, it is frequently thought that anyone with a mood disorder cannot have the same life experiences to those that do not have a diagnosed mental illness. Mood disorders in no way, shape, or form mean that a job cannot be held, school cannot be attended, and that the symptoms are going to stick around at the same severity forever. This fallacy is harmful to those actually living with the disorder and makes it so that they are met with even more opposition in their day to day lives. There are numerous medications and styles of therapies that are available to those with mood disorders. Mood stabilizers can work wonders for those that find it effective, and cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to develop positive outcomes when regularly applied. Believing that someone with a mood disorder cannot lead a “normal” life is simply untrue and just causing more harm than good in the long run.


Misconception #4: Adults Can Only Have Mood Disorders

Another major myth that is often believed when it comes to mood disorders is that only adults are able to develop them. There is no set age or reason of why certain mood disorders develop, but we do know that children, teens, and adults can all start experiencing symptoms of them. The condition known as disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is a more recent discovery, but it is a mood disorder that affects children and causes them to have severe irritability, regular outbursts, and consistent tantrums for a prolonged period of time. This is just one example of how mood disorders can in fact affect children and not only adults. Just because children do not have the same understanding of the world or strain put upon them, does not mean that they cannot be affected by various mental illnesses like adults are.

Mood disorders are a complex topic that are tremendously misunderstood and unfairly judged. Misconceptions that surround them have been disseminated for so many years, and now that we have the means, knowledge, and capacity to share the scientific evidence that has been extensively researched, it is imperative to educate others on this topic. There is nothing wrong or to be ashamed of when it comes to mental illness, and this will hopefully be fully understood and accepted much sooner than later. Try to treat everyone with the same level of respect and consideration that you expect to be met with, and this world will quickly become a much safer and tolerant place.


Getting Help

If you are in need of help, contact us at Dr. Messina & Associates. Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication management, our highly qualified team specializes in anxiety and depression in children, adolescents, and adults. We have pyschiatrists and therapists ready to work with you on your journey in life. In-person appointments are available to patients in the Southlake (DFW) area. Online appointments are available to patients in the Austin, DFW, Houston, and San Antonio areas.


Dr. Michael Messina

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