When it comes to the prevention as well as early diagnosis and treatment of an episodic mood disorder, knowing the risk factors that can make you more prone to these types of mental health concerns isn’t enough.
You also need to learn about certain things that can directly cause a mood disorder. This will make it easier for you to seek help if you ever experience one or more of these causes and receive early treatment.
Causes of Episodic Mood Disorder
An event that can cause a major change in your lifestyle or regular activities can serve as a trigger to an episodic mood disorder. These events can be anything from negative events such as the sudden death of a loved one or a debilitating physical injury to positive events such as giving birth. These events may also include those that have happened in the past, such as a history of abuse or depression. This is why it’s important to have a healthy talk with a loved one or a professional if you feel like an event in your life had a major and negative impact on you, such as the loss of an employment or growing mortgage payments.
According to many researchers, your characteristics, behavior, and overall outlook in life can either cause an episodic mood disorder or help you completely avoid one. If you’re naturally pessimistic, your chances of developing mild depression, which can become a clinically-diagnosed health concern, are relatively higher. This is why participating in exercises and tests that promote self-actualization and analysis is an excellent way to prevent a mood disorder.
Exposure to Diagnosed Individuals
Since an episodic mood disorder is a condition in which the symptoms are mostly behavioral, those who are diagnosed with these problems exhibit obvious behavioral symptoms, which can greatly influence those who don’t have a mood disorder. When you’ve a regular interaction with a friend or a loved one who is diagnosed with an episodic mood disorder, you may start thinking that their behavioral symptoms are normal and you begin to accept them as your own. This is why those who are already exposed to the risk factors of mood disorders, such as those who’ve hormonal problems, are highly advised to avoid interacting with patients who are clinically diagnosed with this type of medical condition.
Nervous System Problems
Episodic mood disorder is known to be pathognomonic, which means that its exact cause is yet to be determined. However, recent studies show that those who are suffering from a mood disorder exhibit certain nervous system problems or deviations, such as deteriorating brain tissues and problems with neurotransmitters, which can cause a chemical or hormonal imbalance. Considering that these hormones and chemicals are what control your emotions and overall mental well-being, they can greatly cause different mood disorders.
Learning about the actual cause of your episodic mood disorder can help you solve your problem permanently without any remissions or reoccurrence. This is why paying attention to the cause is just as important as looking for the proper mode of treatment.
Symptoms an Episodic Mood Disorder
At this day and age wherein the economic downtimes have made it harder for people to find a stable and satisfying job as well as maintain a fairly comfortable lifestyle, it’s easy and normal to feel stressed and down. However, there are times wherein these feelings are not just merely caused by the economic factors but are actually symptoms of an episodic mood disorder. This is why you need to know the different symptoms of an episodic mood disorder to ensure that your condition doesn’t worsen. Here are some of these symptoms.
An episodic mood disorder refers to a group of mental health conditions that are grouped according to their pathophysiology or the way that it affects the body in which they can either be manic or depressive. If you’ve a mood disorder that causes mania, then your symptoms will most likely include hyperactivity or extreme happiness since these conditions stimulate brain and body activity.
On the other side of the mania spectrum, these conditions can also cause increased sensitivity or irritability. You’ll find yourself easily irritated by the smallest things that did not agitate you in the past. You may also engage in multiple activities in order to cope with your increased energy burst. Oftentimes, those who experience manic episodic mood disorders suddenly engage in risky activities, such as bungee jumping or unprotected sex with multiple partners.
Abnormally Low Energy
Another category or group of episodic mood disorders is depression. With these mental health issues, patients feel sad, pessimistic, and hopeless. These conditions are also often accompanied by physical health problems such as lethargy or fatigue. Loss of appetite and insomnia are also symptoms of a depressive mood disorder, especially if the onset is sudden or out of the blue.
Those who are suffering from depression can also be void of any feelings. You may feel apathetic toward the problems or struggles of other people and you may be more easily irritated. Due to this lack of drive, you may also find it hard to make decisions or to concentrate on any activity, and you may easily find yourself sleeping more in order to escape your feelings.
Deteriorating Social Life
Whether you’re suffering from mania or depression, an episodic mood disorder can wreak havoc on your relationships with other people. The people you see every day or those who interact with you on a regular basis may seem more irritating than before. These health conditions may also cause you to lose interest in communicating with them as you seek solace in activities that don’t require a lot of interaction. Because of the fact that you’ve established a relationship or a pattern of living with your loved ones, they may be the first ones to notice and feel the effects of your health problem.
There are times wherein patients report feeling confused or feeling a wide range of emotions that can change at any given time. This can be a symptom of one or more episodic mood disorders. When this happens, you may switch moods at a very rapid pace with or without any triggers. You may also feel like you want to do many things all at once.
If based on the symptoms you suspect an episodic mood disorder, have a look at Emotion Regulation practises outlined in a simple format of a handbook, before seeking medical help.
Episodic Mood Disorder: The Different Types
In an effort to provide a more specific mode of treatment to patients, healthcare professionals and researchers have divided mood disorders into groups and subgroups according to the symptoms and other characteristics of these conditions. By learning about these categories, you can provide better care and support to your loved ones or even find the appropriate mode of treatment for yourself without any confusion. Here are the categories and subcategories of episodic mood disorders and mood disorders in general.
Categories of Mood Disorders
Generally, mood disorders are classified into two categories: chronic and episodic. Chronic mood disorders refer to medical conditions in which the attacks or onset can last for years. It may worsen or get better, but it’ll always remain present as a long-term illness. Those that are categorized as an episodic mood disorder, on the other hand, have a sudden onset and may disappear completely on certain occasions.
Subcategories of Episodic Disorders
Bipolar – This condition refers to a wide range of behavioral concerns or disturbances. It’s further classified into other categories, which include Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic disorder, and mixed features. Bipolar I is the diagnosis that is given to patients who exhibit mixed or manic episodes. Mania refers to the condition in which the patient is hyperactive, which often results in hospitalizations. A Bipolar II diagnosis is given to patients who are suffering from a milder form of mania called hypomania together with sudden onsets of severe depression and other symptoms associated with an episodic mood disorder.
Cyclothymic disorder is a condition in which the patient is suffering from hypomania as well as a milder type of depression either interchangeably or at the same time. Mixed features refer to a condition in which the patient may experience symptoms associated with severe mania and depression. In these cases, the patient may feel hyperactive and severely depressed at the same time.
An episodic mood disorder that is classified as major depressive refers to a condition in which the patient feels severe depression. This depression can cause the symptoms to go beyond the behavioral scope and start manifesting physically. These physical symptoms include weight loss and unexplainable physical injuries that are otherwise self-inflicted. Some of the behavioral symptoms of people who are suffering from this episodic mood disorder include having suicidal thoughts or tendencies, loss of interest in hobbies and personal relationships, as well as lack of concentration or focus.
Mood Disorder/Mood Instability
This subcategory refers to a condition in which the patient can suffer from the different episodes of severe mania and depression as well as paranoia that isn’t commonly associated with an episodic mood disorder.
If you or your loved ones are experiencing these symptoms, it’s best to seek help by going to a medical professional. This is the best way to ensure that these acute manic or depressive subcategories don’t become life-threatening either for you or your loved ones. Be mindful of these subcategories to ensure that your doctor arrives at an accurate diagnosis, which will ensure that you receive the right mode of treatment for your condition.
Facts and Myths about an Episodic Mood Disorder
Contrary to popular belief, the proper treatment of an episodic mood disorder does not solely rely on prompt and accurate diagnosis of an appropriate healthcare professional. It also relies on knowing the facts and myths that surround this condition as it greatly affects the efficiency of both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments as well as the functionality of the patient after the disease. Considering that this disease isn’t gender, race, or age-specific, knowing these myths and facts is important for everybody. Here are some facts and myths about episodic mood disorders.
Myth: It pertains to one particular disorder.
Fact: It pertains to a myriad of mental health conditions.
When people hear of an episodic mood disorder, they often fall under false pretenses that it only refers to bipolar disorder or even schizophrenia. Hence, they often think that those who are diagnosed with such a disease only need modes of treatment that are specifically geared toward the management of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. When this happens, patients who are suffering from other types of episodic mood disorders cannot receive the right modes of treatment that can actually cure and manage the type of mood disorder that they actually have.
Aside from wasting valuable resources on these inappropriate modes of treatment such as money, patients are also at risk of suffering from life-threatening conditions caused by their mood disorder since proper treatment isn’t given.
Myth: Patients cannot suffer from two or more types of episodic mood disorders.
Fact: Patients can be diagnosed with more than two types of mood disorders.
Through several medical breakthroughs, healthcare professionals and researchers were able to prove that certain patients can suffer from two or more types of episodic mood disorders in which they will be diagnosed with NOS, which stands for Not Otherwise Specified. With this breakthrough, it was determined that using a combination of treatments that are specifically geared toward one particular disorder is best for patients who are suffering from two or more types of mental health conditions.
One of the most popular examples of patients who suffered from two or more mental health diseases is Kurt Cobain. It was revealed that the 90’s icon suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder. Many experts argue that this is the ultimate cause of his untimely death in 1994, which only goes to show that patients who suffer from two or more types of episodic mood disorders can suffer greatly if they are only being treated for one particular mental health problem even if they have more.
Myth: Mood disorders can only be cured by medications.
Fact: Several non-pharmacological treatments have been proven to be as effective as medications.
Studies show that non-pharmacological treatments such as cognitive behavior therapy can be just as effective as the psychotropic medications that are given to patients with mood disorders. These treatments are far less expensive than certain antipsychotics, which may be prescribed to a patient for more than six months. These non-pharmacological treatments are also known to have little to no side effects, which makes them the ideal mode of treatment for patients who are weary about the side effects of antipsychotic medications.
By knowing these myths and facts, patients as well as their loved ones can make an informed choice on the mode of treatment that fits their needs.
What Are the Risk Factors of Episodic Mood Disorders?
One of the key elements of a successful episodic mood disorder treatment is early detection, which prevents the life-threatening and debilitating effects of this health concern, such as suicide risks and substance abuse. However, this is easier said than done since most often than not, those who are already exposed to the risk factors of this condition are not even aware that they are already predisposed to developed the disease. This is why it’s important to know who is at risk for an episodic mood disorder. Here are some of the risk factors of this health condition.
Despite the recent medical breakthroughs in mental health research, the definitive cause of these conditions is still unidentified. However, recent studies suggest that a large number of patients who’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder have a relative or a close family member who received the same diagnosis. It has also been said that children whose both parents are diagnosed with a certain medical health problem has a 10-50% chance of developing the same condition. Considering that these conditions are not proven to be genetic, this predisposition is linked by many experts to the exposure to the symptoms of these conditions, which children may end up mimicking.
Other experts also claim that gender plays an important role in the development of an episodic mood disorder. According to many studies, women are more prone to these types of mental health concerns. They are also more likely to develop more than one type of a mood disorder than the opposite sex. These studies attribute this type of predisposition to the hormonal imbalance that women may experience during their menstrual cycle or before and after reaching menopause. This is why women are encouraged to make use of non-pharmacological ways, such as regular meditation, to manage the other risk factors of developing these types of medical problems, such as stress.
Stress has been clinically proven to cause actual physical health concerns, such as a weaker immune system and heart problems. It’s also known to cause hormonal and chemical imbalances, which can trigger the onset of an episodic mood disorder. These chemical imbalances are often associated with the over or underproduction of endorphins and other hormones, which influence or directly control the patient’s emotions.
Those who’ve a history or are currently struggling with any type of substance abuse are also at risk for developing an episodic mood disorder. Being either a stimulant or a depressant, these substances, which may include alcohol and illegal drugs, can directly affect the emotional well-being of a patient. This is why the therapy of those who are diagnosed with substance abuse or addiction often includes non-pharmacological treatments that are geared toward the management or prevention of different mood disorders.
By taking note of these risk factors, those who are already at a high risk for developing an episodic mood disorder can take the necessary precautionary steps in order to completely avoid these medical concerns. Those who are already exhibiting the early signs and symptoms, on the other hand, will be prompted to seek medical help.
Episodic Mood Disorder: Importance of Consulting a Professional
For years, healthcare professionals and researchers have struggled to raise awareness of the episodic mood disorder and its different types. This is because there used to be a time wherein seeking medical help for a psychological issue was a taboo in many cultures. In these times, those who sought help were labeled as deranged or unhealthy by the general public or were deemed to be attention-seekers who were merely faking the symptoms.
Nowadays, the concept of consulting a professional for psychological needs is becoming more and more acceptable. With the establishment of advanced treatment facilities and accessible mental health clinics, there’s hope that the general public will start recognizing mood disorders as an actual health concern. However, there are still those who struggle with this concept.
Number of Undiagnosed Cases
One of the telltale signs of this problem is the fact that each year, millions of cases are undiagnosed for many reasons. According to an article that was published by the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, only a third of the population of those who’ve a form of an episodic mood disorder seek help because of the social stigma that is associated with going to a medical professional for mental health needs. It was also reported that 29% of reported cases of mood disorders took 29 years before a proper and accurate diagnosis was made. In the United States, studies suggest that more than 3% of its total population is suffering from a form of depression. Out of this number, more than half of these afflicted individuals choose to not seek medical attention.
Reasons for the Undiagnosed Cases
There are other reasons why most people who suffer from a form of episodic mood disorder prefer to not seek medical treatment aside from receiving harsh criticism and judgment from the general public. One of the reasons is that they think that their symptoms are just normal and that they are just being moody or pessimistic. Another reason is that they think that the treatment for mood disorders is very expensive.
Reasons to Avoid Undiagnosed Cases
According to an article that was released by the Black Dog Institute in Australia, half of the country’s population will experience a form of episodic mood disorders at least once in their lives and that one in every four residents suffer from a psychological concern every year. It was also revealed that more than 70% of males who are at risk for suicide don’t seek help for their medical problem. This just goes to show that mood disorders are very common and that when left untreated, they can be life-threatening.
Reasons to consult a professional
By consulting a professional, the number of undiagnosed cases will go down. Seeking help also relieves the social stigma that patients suffer from. If every person who is suffering from a psychological concern seeks help, then going to a healthcare professional for mental concerns will become acceptable to many. Consulting a professional can also save the lives of people who knowingly and unknowingly suffer from a form of episodic mood disorder. This is why going to a professional as soon as possible is a must.
Natural Ways to Prevent Episodic Mood Disorder
Episodic mood disorders are one of the most prevalent forms of mental health concerns both in children and in adults. It’s known to affect millions of people all over the world since it can affect anybody regardless of the age, gender, or race. However, this doesn’t mean that the disease isn’t treatable or preventable. With the right methods and tips, you can greatly decrease your chances of developing this condition or prevent its remission. The best part is that you don’t have to necessarily rely on antipsychotics to achieve this goal. Here are some of the natural ways to prevent an episodic mood disorder.
Be Aware of the Risk Factors
Unknown to many, there are several risk factors that can significantly increase your chances of developing a form of an episodic mood disorder. These can be anything from the more obvious ones like a life-changing event such as a pregnancy to the less obvious ones like your overall perspective in life. This is why it’s best to be aware of these risk factors in order to find out if you’re exposed to any of them. If you are, do what you must in order to avoid them. For those factors that you cannot avoid, such as your family’s history of mood disorders or a chemical imbalance in your nervous system, it’s best to learn about cognitive behavioral therapy and practice some of its principles even if you’re not diagnosed with any mood conditions.
Learn About Different Coping Strategies
Stress is one of the major causes of an episodic mood disorder. Hence, learning about the different coping strategies can ensure that your stressors don’t trigger the onset of any type of mood disorder. By learning these strategies ahead of time, you’ll be able to apply or use them immediately after you’ve been exposed to these stressors. This gives your body little to no time to develop a mood disorder due to stress. Some of the most effective coping strategies to avoid or prevent an episodic mood disorder include physical recreation or diving into hobbies, problem-solving exercises, and relaxation. These strategies can address mania and depression by providing you with healthy distractions that can counteract the symptoms of these conditions.
Aside from knowing the risk factors of an episodic mood disorder, it’s highly recommended to find free diagnostic tools either online or via your healthcare provider that you can use whenever you feel like your emotions are at disarray. These tools can be something that can detect the presence of an actual episodic mood disorder or a tool that can tell you if you’re too stressed. This can make it easier for you to determine if you need to practice certain coping strategies or if you need to take a break.
Even though these natural ways can prevent the onset of an episodic mood disorder, being open to consulting your doctor whenever necessary should still be on the table. Always remember that healthcare professionals are well-equipped to handle your medical condition or lack thereof.
Natural Episodic Mood Disorder Treatments
One of the most common reasons why there are a lot of people who prefer not to seek treatment for their episodic mood disorder is because of the misconception that patients who are diagnosed with this disease have no choice but to take antipsychotic medications. These medications have been known to have many side effects that can cause great discomfort to some and cause others to stop working or studying, especially if you’re taking medications that are meant to treat mania through sedative effects. However, the truth is that you can choose to opt for natural episodic mood disorder treatments, which won’t make you take any antipsychotic medications. Here are some of these treatments.
Oftentimes, people who are suffering from an episodic mood disorder thrive on being a part of a group of people who experience the same symptoms, emotions, and frustrations as they do. This motivates them to voice their feelings, which is a stable road toward recovery from mood disorders. This is why finding support groups or self-help groups is highly beneficial. Considering that many of these groups prefer not to reveal the real identities of its members, you don’t have to worry about your private life. Nowadays, you don’t even need to leave your house in order to find one. All you need to do is use your computer to find forums and other websites that allow you to interact with people who’ve the same medical condition as you.
Considering that one of the defining characteristics of an episodic mood disorder is the sudden onset of symptoms and attacks or episodes, having someone that you can call immediately upon their onset is imperative. For this purpose, you may opt for telephone support, which is provided by several non-government agencies as a helpline for those who are actually diagnosed with a mood disorder and those who are not. Telephone support can also help you stay away from certain bad habits that can increase the likelihood of a manic or depressive episode, such as extreme anger or irritability and substance abuse.
These comprise a series of strategies that aim to provide healthy distractions for your brain and nervous system while counteracting either the manic of depressive tendencies that are brought upon by your episodic mood disorder. These cognitive strategies include cognitive behavioral therapy or treatment and different coping strategies such as relaxation techniques, physical activities, and self-monitoring. The best part of these strategies is that most of them can be used at any given time in order to either treat or prevent sudden onsets of mood disorders without using any special equipment.
Even though natural episodic mood disorder treatments are available, you should remember that there are times wherein taking antipsychotic medications can be of greater help. This usually happens when your mood disorders are already causing severe or chronic symptoms as well as hallucinations, which can increase your chances of harming others as well as yourself. This is why it’s best to consult your doctor and discuss your options before completely saying no to antipsychotic medications.
Food That Can Help with Episodic Mood Disorders
When it comes to the treatment of an episodic mood disorder, one aspect that you should never leave out is diet. This is because there are a lot of healthcare professionals and researchers who believe that a patient’s diet can greatly affect his or her mood, which is essential, especially if you’re making use of natural treatments for mood disorders, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. According to experts who gave their expert advice at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting in 2013, patients need to eat the right food in order to improve their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Here are some of the foods that can help with an episodic mood disorder.
Wild and Cultivated Blueberries
One of the most common proponents of an episodic mood disorder is stress. This is why ensuring that the body ingests the right amount of antioxidants, which can fight off free radicals and prevent the untoward effects of stress such as lethargy, is very important. Considering that blueberries, especially wild blueberries, contain the highest amount of antioxidants in comparison to other fruits and vegetables, incorporating this fruit into your diet is highly beneficial. If you cannot get your hands on wild blueberries, cultivated blueberries will also do the trick. Despite not having the same amount of antioxidants as wild blueberries, cultivated berries still contain higher amounts of antioxidants than any other fruit.
Several studies suggest that carbohydrates can directly affect your mood and that it’s linked to the development or prevention of an episodic mood disorder. This is because researchers found out that the body craves carbohydrates when the level of serotonin in the body is decreased. Serotonin is the chemical that is responsible for sending “happiness” signals to your brain. However, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid all types of food that contains carbohydrates since this compound ensures that you’ve enough energy to fulfill your daily tasks. All you need to do is avoid simple carbohydrates, such as cookies, and opt for complex carbohydrates instead. Whole grains are the perfect food to eat if you’re craving carbohydrates since it also contains a lot of fiber, which can aid digestion.
Tuna, Turkey, and Chicken
Aside from carbohydrates, the body also needs protein in order to have energy for all of the tasks that lie ahead. Protein can also enhance your mood by boosting the production of norepinephrine and dopamine, which increases your ability to focus. Considering that one of the most common symptoms of an episodic mood disorder, specifically major depression, is a lack of focus, protein-rich foods can help alleviate the symptoms of your mood disorder. To ensure that you maintain a healthy body and weight while eating protein-rich food, it’s best to stick to food that is low in cholesterol, such as tuna, turkey, and chicken.
By incorporating these foods to your diet, you’ll be able to avoid an episodic mood disorder as well as increase the efficiency of your treatment. However, consulting your doctor before making a radical diet change is still advisable to ensure that your shift doesn’t cause any health problems due to drug interactions and other concerns.
Episodic Mood Disorder: How to Function Normally
According to the statistics that were released by the national Institute of Mental Health for 2010, more than 14% of children who are between 13 to 18 years of age in the United States are suffering from an episodic mood disorder. In a different study that was published by the Depression and Support Alliance, it was determined that more than 20 million Americans who are 18 years old and above are suffering from one or more mood disorder.
Considering that millions of mood disorder cases are undiagnosed each year, it goes to show that having this type of medical concern is very common and should not be taken lightly. However, these medical problems should not limit you academically, professionally, or personally. Here are some tips on how to function normally if you’ve an episodic mood disorder.
Seek Medical Help, Continuously
Even though the main cause of an episodic mood disorder in general remains unknown, there are several modes of treatments that patients can avail by going to a professional. You’ll be able to choose from pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments based on your needs and comfort level. Because of the fact that certain mood disorders can have remissions or can come back after successful treatment, going to your doctor continuously or at least whenever you need to is a must.
Learn to Take Self-Assessment Tests
The early diagnosis of an episodic mood disorder is the key to a successful treatment. This is why you need to do everything that you can to recognize the symptoms early. One way to do this without spending any money is to take credible self-assessment tests. You can either ask for a questionnaire from your doctor or look for one online. By taking these tests, you’ll be able to determine if you’re indeed suffering from mood disorders or if you’re suffering from a relapse.
Take Medications When Necessary
Most often than not, people opt not to drink antipsychotic medications due to the fear of experiencing its side effects. What they don’t realize is that these medications can help you function normally, especially if you’re suffering from a severe episodic mood disorder that can make you prone to developing delusions and hallucinations. These medications can also keep you calm and relaxed, which is necessary when completing certain professional or personal tasks either at work or at home.
Open Up to Your Loved Ones
For many patients, keeping their condition a secret is very important in order to avoid the criticism and judgment of their loved ones. This isn’t ideal since keeping a secret that is this monumental can become a stressor, which can worsen your condition. This is why it’s better to come clean with your struggles to your loved ones. Always remember that if they are really there for you and care for you, then they will understand your condition and won’t treat you negatively after making your announcement. This is also a great way to avoid one of the most common risk factors of an episodic mood disorder, which is stress.Before you go, we'd love to hear from you in the comments below. I'm working hard to build a community here and a big part of that are your contributions! If you have experiences to share, questions, comments, suggestions, or anything else, please leave us a quick comment. I promise to reply!