An American Addiction Centers Resource
About AAC

How to Find Help Treating a Mood Disorder

Mood disorders represent a specific diagnostic category in the DSM V, a diagnostic manual that serves as a guide to various practitioners in the field of psychology, psychiatry and neurology. A mood disorder is classified as a pattern of thoughts and behaviors that cause significant disruption in an individual’s daily functioning. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that approximately 9.5 percent of the American population meets the diagnostic criteria for mood disorders. The quality of life of someone with a mood disorder is diminished due to the pattern of instability and negative behavior caused by the disorder, and the person’s professional and personal life may be affected.

Understanding Mood Disorders

Unfortunately, although there is a plethora of information on mood disorders available online, there are still many stigmas surrounding these disorders. The most important thing for you to know if you think you or a loved one may be suffering from a mood disorder is that mood disorders are not a choice. In fact, there is significant evidence that the brain chemistry of individuals affected by mood disorders is significantly different than that of disorder-free individuals. If you or a loved one would like help understanding mood disorders and discovering treatment options, please contact our hotline at . We have highly knowledgeable staff ready to answer your questions 24/7.

How to Diagnose a Mood Disorder

Mood disorders are diagnosed using the DSM V, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Mood disorders are distinct from the other mental disorders in the DSM IV in that the focus is on a disturbance of the person’s mood. Common mood disorders include:

The criteria for mood disorders within the DSM V are quite specific; however, reputable professionals in the psychological industry also rely on various APA-approved tests to determine the presence of a mood disorder. The tests are exhaustive and designed to rule out other conditions that can result in the same outward display of symptoms as mood disorders. If you believe that you or a loved one may have a mood disorder, it is important not to jump to conclusions based on stereotypes and information in the media. A good diagnosis is necessary to find effective treatment, and you should always consult a licensed professional.

Information is essential, and we would be happy to connect you with knowledgeable professionals to further help you understand the process of how to diagnose a mood disorder. Call our 24/7 hotline at for more information today.

Steps You Can Take to Help Someone With a Mood Disorder

Education is the most important step to understanding mental health. If you think your loved one is suffering from a mood disorder, you have already taken a great first step in educating yourself. There are some simple and effective steps you can take to help someone with a mood disorder.

Talking to Someone With a Mood Disorder

When a loved one is dealing with a mood disorder, he may feel alone or as if no one understands what he’s going through. This is common, and the most important thing you can do is to let him know you are there for him and ready to listen. Don’t try to solve the problem, or he may feel that you are trying to control him. Chances are he has done everything he can to solve the problem on his own, and further attempts without professional help might leave him feeling helpless.

Mood disorders often respond well to treatment, but some people are reluctant to seek treatment due to various stigmas surrounding the need for professional help. Let your loved one know that he can talk to you about these concerns and encourage him to seek the help he needs in a nonjudgmental way. A few kind words and a listening ear can go further than you would imagine.

Adolescents and Teens

While the average age of onset for a mood disorder is 30, adolescents and teens are common sufferers of mood disorders. Unfortunately, due to the nature of teenage hormones that surge during puberty, many adolescents with mood disorders go undiagnosed. It is tempting for parents and friends to brush off symptoms of a mood disorder as mere teenage hormones when a mental disorder is the actual culprit. Mood disorder symptoms may seem similar to normal teenage behavior on the surface, but they are typically characterized by ripples of dysfunction that affect the teen’s daily life and social functioning.

A teenager suffering from a mood disorder will often feel alone and misunderstood, especially if her behavior has alienated her from her peers. Mood disorders can cause social dysfunction that goes beyond basic anger issues or emotional outbursts, and as much effort as possible should be given to helping the teen learn how to cope with the emotional highs and lows that come with her disorder.

Learning to Cope With Mood Disorders

While having a mood disorder by definition means a disturbance in your daily functioning, a mood disorder diagnosis does not have to mean a diminished quality of life. There are various treatment options that are effective in managing the symptoms of a mood disorder. Those with a mood disorder can lead normal, productive and happy lives thanks to a combination of medication and therapeutic treatment. Individual treatment options vary, but the first step should always be getting more information and discussing the symptoms with a reputable professional. The experts at our 24/7 hotline are ready to help you discuss potential mood disorder treatment options for you or for your loved one .

How to Treat a Mood Disorder

Mood disorders respond well to a variety of treatments including medicinal and therapeutic treatment options. The first step in learning how to treat a mood disorder is to speak with a licensed professional. Typically, both physical and mental examinations are conducted in order to rule out possible physical or neurological causes of mood disorder symptoms. Often, the physician will want to perform a brain scan, such as a PET scan or an fMRI, to see if the patient’s brain patterns match those of others with mood disorders.

Once an official diagnosis is made, treatment can begin. Most professionals recommend a combination of therapy, support groups, and medication in order to achieve the optimal treatment plan for the patient. A common treatment plan for individuals with bipolar I disorder, for example, is a combination of therapy, lithium, and a stable diet and exercise regimen to help manage the highs and lows the patient experiences. Someone with major depressive disorder may be treated with group therapy and antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).

Deciding Between Mood Disorder Solutions

When it comes to discovering how to treat your mood disorder, there is no one simple answer. Individual experience determines which treatment options you feel most comfortable with as well as which ones will be the most effective. Deciding between mood disorder solutions is often difficult due to the sheer variety of options, and it is best done under the care and knowledgeable instruction of a medical professional who knows your medical history.

If you want help choosing treatment options for a mood disorder or would simply like more information, call our hotline at today. Our professional staff members want to help you begin your journey to mental health and the quality of life you’ve always wanted.

Where to Find Mood Treatment for a Friend or Family Member

If you have a friend or family member you believe is suffering from the symptoms of a mood disorder, help is available. From treatment centers to outpatient therapy, there are a variety of options as well as knowledgeable professionals trained and ready to help your loved one navigate through this difficult time.

There is a lot of information on mood disorder treatment online. Sifting through it all can be overwhelming, especially when you are trying to help a loved one in a dire situation. We operate a 24/7 hotline to provide information to anyone who wants to learn more about seeking mood disorder treatment.