Information on Mood Disorders

Mood disorder is a broad term used to classify the many types of depression and bipolar disorders. Of course, situations and environments all affect a person’s mood; it’s normal for everyone to experience mood changes throughout their day. However, people with mood disorders experience symptoms for weeks, months, or years until they ultimately affect daily life and relationships.

What Is a Mood Disorder?

A mood disorder is a mental health condition that affects a person’s emotional state. These heightened feelings last for extended periods of time. Moods can be affected so much that it negatively impacts ability to function and quality of life. These feelings can be either extremely happy or long-lasting depressive episodes.

Risk Factors

There is no one cause for a mood disorder. Genetics play a role in the likelihood of developing a mental condition, so if a mood disorder is present in family history, it could be easier to develop a disorder. 

Environmental factors also play a role in mood disorders. At times, depression can develop after traumatic experiences, heightened stress, or major life events. Other medical conditions (or major diagnoses, like cancer or diabetes) can also lead to mood disorders.

Residential treatment facility at Meridian.

Learn More at Meridian

The mental health professionals at Meridian HealthCare work alongside you to diagnose and treat various mental health problems. Visit one of our locations or give us a call to see how Meridian can help you or a loved one.

Boardman Office

8255 South Ave
Youngstown, OH 44512
Phone: 330-797-0070

Poland Office

2894 Center Rd.
Poland, OH 44514
Phone: 330-797-0070

Meridian Campus

527 North Meridian Road
Youngstown, OH 44509
Phone: 330-797-0070

Warren Office

320 High Street, NE
Warren, OH 44481
Phone: 330-318-3873

Types of Mood Disorders

Some people living with mental illness have a high quality of life, while others need more help overcoming mental health problems. Everyone’s mental health is different, and there are many types of mood disorders.


The most common mood disorder is depression (also known as major depressive disorder). It’s more than an occasional depressed mood; people with depression experience persistent feelings of sadness that affects daily life and can lead to physical health problems or medical illnesses.

Depression doesn’t always mean intense symptoms for a short time period. Persistent depressive disorder and dysthymia are two types of depression where the person experiences milder symptoms of depression for a longer time (sometimes for years).

Treatment options for depression often include a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressant medication. Interpersonal therapy is used to treat depression for both adolescents and adults with effective short-term results. 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation can also be used to address stubborn depression symptoms that do not respond to other treatment options. It involves magnetic stimulation to the specific parts of the brain that correlate to depression.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a common feeling for everyone, but an anxiety disorder affects a person’s day-to-day life and overall well-being. Anxiety disorders can range from mild to debilitating. 

Anxiety disorder treatment options often include a combination of talk therapy and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) allows patients to work through their emotions and consequential behaviors.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder marked by manic episodes followed by periods of depression, and these mood swings can be hard to manage in day-to-day life.

There are two main types of bipolar disorder: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Bipolar I disorder is the most extreme mood change between mania and low moods. Bipolar II disorder is more mild with hypomania episodes followed by depressed moods.

Another type of bipolar disorder is cyclothymia. Cyclothymic disorder has milder mood swings and extremes (highs and lows) that last for shorter periods of time.

Bipolar disorder treatment options typically combine medication and counseling. Mood stabilizers are often prescribed to manage extreme mood swings. Common therapy treatment options are cognitive behavioral therapy and electroconvulsive therapy, which involves an electric stimulation of the brain to address symptoms.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder is a mood disorder that reappears at the same time every year. It is often referred to as “winter depression” because most people are affected during the winter months. Unlike other types of mood disorders, seasonal affective disorder can be treated with light therapy (a type of therapy that uses light to contrast the darkness of winter).

Symptoms of Mood Disorders

Symptoms of mood disorders vary depending on the type of disorder, although some may overlap (ex: bipolar disorder having occasional symptoms of depression). If you or a loved one experience any of the following symptoms for an extended time, a mental health professional may be able to help.

Common Symptoms and Warning Signs

    • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
    • Low self-esteem
    • Loss of appetite
    • Excessive weight gain or weight loss
    • Change in sleep patterns
    • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Substance use/Substance abuse
    • Moments of high energy 
    • Rapid speech 
    • Racing thoughts
    • Risk-taking behaviors
    • Irritability
    • Self-harm and/or suicidal thoughts

*Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 if this is an emergency.

Most treatment options for mood disorders include a combination of talk therapy and medication. When prescribed any medication, be sure to discuss potential side effects with your care provider.

Family therapy is also an effective treatment for mental conditions affecting children. Family therapy involves the patient meeting with a counselor and their family members at the same time to talk through issues that affect both the child and the family unit.

Man struggling with drug addiction in a counseling session.

Meridian HealthCare Can Help

Meridian HealthCare has been helping people live healthy, fulfilling lives for more than 50 years. If you or a loved one is struggling with any type of mood disorder, we’re ready to help as soon as you’re ready to make the call!

What do current and recovering patients have to say about Meridian?

Without the help I got from Meridian, I would be dead. I’m so grateful to them for everything they did. Thanks to Meridian, I got my life back.

They actually care. Meridian helped me with my recovery. Really, they saved my life.

My Meridian counselor was the BEST ever. You should never hesitate to ask if you need help — they are great.

I had a great experience at Meridian. They are the best out there for drug and mental health issues.