Cyclothymia: This mood disorder is similar to bipolar disorder I and II, but typically the symptoms of emotional highs and lows are not as extreme. The person experiences upswings and downswings that are noticeably different from their baseline and not typically related to major life changes, such as a job transition or a loved one’s death.
Symptoms of cyclothymia ups can include:
- Exaggerated feelings of happiness or euphoria
- Extreme optimism
- Raised self-esteem
- Excessive talking
- Racing thoughts, inability to concentrate, or being easily distracted
- Too much physical activity, or reduced sensations of sleepiness or fatigue
Depressed symptoms of cyclothymia include:
- Hopelessness, sadness, or emptiness
- Irritability, particularly in children or teens
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities or hobbies
- Sleeping too much
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling rundown or fatigued
Seasonal affective disorder: Sometimes called seasonal depression, this is a form of depression that appears to be triggered by seasonal changes, which may change how much serotonin the brain produces or alter hormonal balances. This is typically associated with changes from summer into winter, although some people experience the opposite flow.
Health-related mood disorder: This disorder involves changes in mood, particularly toward depression, that persist and are related to a medical condition. The medical condition can cause the person to struggle with changes to their life. For example, receiving a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can lead to depression because the person’s life will change because of their disorder dramatically, or the medical condition can change brain structure and chemistry, leading to a mental health issue.
Substance-induced mood disorder: In this disorder, a substance changes the brain’s chemistry and structure enough to induce a mental health issue, like depression or anxiety. This can be chronic abuse of a substance like alcohol, a side effect of a prescription medication, or a highly addictive or dangerous chemical, like synthetic marijuana.
Treatment for Mood Disorders and Co-Occurring Substance Abuse
If a person develops a mood disorder and the condition goes untreated, the individual is at greater risk of developing a co-occurring substance abuse disorder or addiction. People who struggle with these conditions may become addicted to an intoxicating substance in order to feel more normal or regulate their symptoms. However, there is always the potential for this type of self-regulating to increase the severity or cycle of these symptoms. A substance use disorder can also lead to a mood disorder, as the substance changes brain chemistry and structure.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a study they conducted in 2014 revealed that 7.9 million people in the United States struggle with both a substance abuse and mental health disorder. Many of these mental health issues are mood disorders, which may be temporarily relieved by the substance abuse disorder, but likely get worse over time without appropriate clinical treatment. Fortunately, the link between mental health and addiction is becoming better understood, and more rehabilitation programs are available to help people struggling with these co-occurring disorders get simultaneous treatment.