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A mood disorder is characterized by the highs and lows of a person's mood. It is a medical illness and should be treated as such. There is a great misunderstanding surrounding mental illness and the stigma it carries. The most common mood disorders are Depression and Bipolar Disorder. Knowing the symptoms of these two illnesses will ensure that you, or the person suffering, can get the right treatment and quickly be on the road to feeling ‘normal' again.

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Loss of energy

A loss of energy is a different feel of that of simply feeling tired after not much sleep. It is a persistent lethargy that takes over your body. Movement seems hard; getting from point A to point B is a trial, even getting out of bed is difficult. You feel fatigued and experience headaches and weariness, boredom and depression. All these things combined would not make for a happy camper, and getting out of this feeling may feel like it requires more strength than you can muster at this time.

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Prolonged sadness

Prolonged sadness is simply, exactly that. You feel sad, for a long period, and you may not know exactly why. These depths can also be accompanied by crying spells. Your emotions are heightened, and any little thing may set you off, even something as simple as a television commercial or a story you read in the paper, or even looking out the window contemplating your own life and times. In these periods, it may be hard to come back from this state of despair, or at least you feel like you never will.

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Changes in appetite

Food can play an important role in how we feel, and the simple act of eating can mean different things to different people. Some people eat when they are depressed, and it will often be unhealthy, sugar loaded food, which leads to problems in diet and health. Others can't seem to find the will, nor do they have the appetite to eat when they feel so low, and will unintentionally lose weight because of it. Food is important. Not only to keep our bodies going but our minds too. Changes in appetite go hand in hand with changes in mood, and one can directly affect the other.

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Changes in sleeping pattern

The average adult needs around seven hours of sleep a night, however, some can survive on much less in this fast-paced world. If you are experiencing highs and lows in your mood, then it's likely your sleeping patterns will also change. Those people in a high mania period can often go with limited sleep, even without experiencing fatigue because of it. However, on the flip side, in a state of depression, the body seems never to be able to get enough sleep. Not just for the fact under your blankets is a cozy place to hide, but because the body feels it does not have the energy to function properly, therefore, it needs to regenerate with sleep.

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Inability to concentrate

The inability to concentrate affects us all from time to time. Your heart is not really in a task, you are counting the minutes till you can go home, or you simply wish to be elsewhere if there is a better offer. But not being able to focus on a simple task completely can be attributed to a mood disorder. It's not just boredom or distraction, the task may seem impossible to complete, even if it used to be the simplest thing to do. The mind wanders, or in some cases, can even forget how to complete the job.

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Extreme highs and lows

A trait of bipolar disorder, high and low swings in mood can be very severe. Ranging from extreme energy and a heightened mood and mental activity to a feeling of deep despair and sadness, with low energy and feelings of worthlessness, they run you ragged both mentally and physically, wherein you become exhausted, just from the chop and change in outlook on life and mood. The highs are very high, but the lows are extremely low, and this symptom is one to look out for, as the person suffering from them may not know they can be helped, especially when they are feeling so low.

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Dark thoughts

A typical symptom of depression and one often depicted as a telltale sign of depression or a low state of bipolar disorder is that of having dark thoughts. The term is broad however because the darkness depends on the individual. They could be recurring thoughts of death or suicide, depressing images with unpleasant themes running around in your head constantly. It's not easy to shake this kind of thing out of one's head. The thought of having these thoughts forever is not a pretty one and leads to thinking that there may be an easier way to stop it all. Someone in this situation needs a lot of care and compassion and assistance to take the right steps towards a lighter way of thinking.

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Reckless behavior

On a mood high, reckless behavior is considered a symptom of bipolar disorder, especially if it is not one of your usual character traits. Within this theme, your mood is heightened, and there is a notion of carelessness for oneself and others. You can feel impulsive and have an inflated sense of self, become aggressive and your judgment tainted by the false sense of security you have within yourself. How long you are in this manic state is dependent on your own self.

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Social withdraw

For those of you who were extremely social before the onset of a mood disorder, it can be very hard to see how you will ever wish to be that way again. The desire for interaction has gone. You get no pleasure anymore from what interested you before, so why bother trying again? This kind of social withdrawal is typical for someone suffering from depression or other mood disorders. A lot of it has to do with not wanting to face the inevitable questions of "How are you?" In that respect, it is easier not to make the opportunity to be asked. This is why so many friends can drop away from those suffering from a mood disorder.

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Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of worry and unease about something. It can be described as a nervousness and agitation to do with something about to happen. Even if we know there is nothing about to happen, the person with anxiety predicts there to be something anyway. When you are in this constant state, it's not just your brain that is ready for ‘fight or flight'; this irritability can give a great stress to your body as well. And you are constantly on edge and become tired with the ‘waiting' you are doing.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.