Affective disorders, otherwise known as mood disorders, in teens are a broad category of mental health disorders that includes depression and bipolar disorders. With a variety of disorders under one umbrella, ascertaining the specific disorder and appropriate treatment can be a challenge. Follow along as we explain what mood disorders are, symptoms, and of course how to treat them.
What are Mood Disorders in Teens?
The cause of mood disorders in teens and adolescents is not fully understood and ongoing research is underway to gain a better understanding of this category of mental health disorders. What we do know is that there are certain chemicals in the brain that control positive moods, along with others called neurotransmitters that regulate the brain chemicals. This regulation affects the mood in one direction or another. An imbalance of chemicals alone, and/or in conjunction with unexpected events or traumatic circumstances in life that may induce high levels of stress, can cause mood disorders in teens.
Mood swings and mood disorders have multifactorial causes, which may also include genetic patterns. For example, if a mother has a past mood disorder problem this can be inherited by her daughter, and likewise from father to son.
The most common mood disorders are:
- Major depression – Having less interest in usual activities, feeling sad or hopeless, for at least two weeks.
- Dysthymia – A chronic, low-grade, depressed, or irritable mood that lasts for at least two years.
- Bipolar disorder – This is a condition in which a person has periods of depression alternating with periods of mania, or elevated mood.
- Mood disorder related to another health condition – Many medical illnesses (including cancer, injuries, infections, and chronic illnesses) can trigger symptoms of depression.
- Substance-induced mood disorder – Symptoms of depression that are due to the effects of medication, drug abuse, alcoholism, exposure to toxins, or other forms of treatment.
The Symptoms of mood disorders in teens are varied and can include:
- Constant feelings of sadness
- Hopeless or helpless feelings
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling inadequate
- Feeling one wants to die
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Relationship problems
- Poor sleep patterns
- Dietary – weight loss or weight gain
- Poor concentration
- Struggle to make decisions
- Suicidal thoughts
- Physical/illness issues (headache, stomach ache, or fatigue)
- Threats of running away from home
- Very sensitive to failure or rejection
- Irritable, hostile or aggressive behavior
Treatment of mood disorders in teens
A full evaluation of the patient is required to determine the type of mood disorder or combination of disorders that the patient has. Once properly diagnosed, treatment in the form of medicine and therapy can be recommended. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis of any disorder. If you suspect your teenager may have a mood disorder, a full evaluation must be considered. Once the patient and the condition are fully understood, the correct path of treatment can be offered to help your teen live a normal and successful life.
Hillcrest and Teen Mood Disorders
Hillcrest has a qualified and experienced team of professionals to properly and fully evaluate and treat teenagers with mood disorders and the other mental health disorders within this broad category. As a specialist mental health facility, Hillcrest provides individualized programs designed specifically for teenagers, all delivered in a calm and relaxed atmosphere. The Hillcrest team treats each case individually to ensure the very best results focused on long term recovery rather than simply a short term or quick fix. Together, we can help your teenager get through this period and become