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Your Current Risk for Mood Disorders


Medium Risk

MOOD DISORDERS

‘Mood disorders’ covers a range of different problems. These are characterised by low mood – in the case of unipolar depression, or mood instability – in the case of bipolar disorders. Other symptoms include problems with self-worth, sleep, appetite, concentration, changes in energy levels and in some cases thinking about death and suicide. Mood disorders are very common – affecting about I in 5 people, with a greater proportion of women, and those facing the greatest adversity and disadvantage.

If you have bipolar disorder, you may have episodes of depression (feeling sad, hopeless or irritable most of the time, lacking energy, lack of appetite, suicidal thoughts) more regularly than episodes of mania (talking very quickly, feeling full of energy, feeling full of great new ideas and having important plans), or vice versa.

Between episodes of depression and mania, you may sometimes have periods where you have a "normal" mood. The patterns are not always the same and some people may experience:
  • rapid cycling – where a person with bipolar disorder repeatedly swings from a high to a low phase quickly without having a "normal" period in between
  • mixed state – where a person with bipolar disorder experiences symptoms of depression and mania together; for example, overactivity with a depressed mood
Mood disorders quite typically start in late adolescence / early adulthood and for many will have recurring patterns throughout life, a bit life a chronic condition like diabetes. In fact mood disorders often exist with long-term physical health conditions.

There is no simple cause. The best evidence points to a range of factors: biological (some genetic and neuro-chemical basis), social (bad things happening) and psychological (negative ways of interpreting experience and thinking about things).

Eating well and keeping fit can help reduce the symptoms of bipolar disorder, particularly the depressive symptoms. It may also give you something to focus on and provide a routine, which is important for many people. A healthy diet, combined with exercise, may also help limit weight gain, which is a common side effect of medical treatments for bipolar disorder.
Getting Help
It is important that you seek help as soon as possible, especially if you are having suicidal thoughts, which is a common depressive symptom of mood disorders. Without treatment, these thoughts may get stronger.


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