Common Mood Disorders and Mental Health – Depression Example

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"Common Mood Disorders and Mental Health" is a fantastic example of a paper on depression.   In today's uncertain times, more people find that they are having problems with depression. Sometimes it is as a result of the loss of a family member, a disappointment or a feeling of failure. In most cases, the individual will be depressed for a period of time and then return to a "normal" way of being. Everyone will find themselves depressed at some time in their life but if it does not go away, it may be time to ask for professional help.

Although some people think that depression is something that everyone can get over, it sometimes takes medication to help and counselling.                       In other cases, no matter how individual attempts to feel better, they never quite get to that point of feeling better. Depression can be a very difficult mental disorder and it can lead to death for some people. Mood Disorders and Mental Health                       According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 20.9 million people suffer from some type of mood disorder. In the United States, this number is 9.5 million and often this occurs between the ages of 18 and 30.

This does not mean that people older or younger will not have a mood disorder, but most of the time people have it diagnosed in their younger years. For women between the ages of 15 and 44, Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability. Often, the age that many people start to suffer from depression is 32. Bipolar disorder is seen in approximately 5.6 million people in the United States which translates to 2.6 per cent each year (National Institute of Mental Health).

In many cases, people who suffer from depression disorder will have more than one challenge, which can include problems with anxiety, panic attacks or alcohol.                       When the economic crisis is added to the challenges that people face, and people lose their homes or their jobs, depression is becoming the number one mental health disorder for the United States. According to Arehart-Treichel (2009), anxiety and depression go together in these situations. This author also states that more mental health issues happen when an individual loses their job because people feel hopeless and people are struggling to receive care. Different Types of Depression                       There are many different names given to depression and most of the time it depends on the severity of it for what it is called.

Some forms of depression benefit from medication and therapy because it is more biological in nature than a general sadness. Most of the types of depression will fit into two categories: Depression or unipolar disorder happens when someone finds that their mood is always normal or depressed.

In others, there are no high highs or low lows, just a difference in mood. This usually means that the individual never gets beyond a mild feeling of happiness. In the second form of depression, called bipolar disorder, the individual's mood will go from being depressed to feel "high" or "euphoric. " (Klein and Wender, 2005, p. 9).                       The important part about depression is that if it seems to go on without relief, it may be time to talk to a physician about it who can also recommend what treatment to use in this situation. Depression and Other Disorders                       Depression is often only one part of an individual's symptoms.

Often it is part of larger issues like anxiety or panic attacks. With anxiety, an individual can be fearful of the depression. A lot of the "what if? " questions may come about. In a panic attack, an individual will have physical symptoms like sweaty palms, a fast heartbeat or feelings that they want to run away from the situation. A panic attack is often triggered by a situation or event outside of the individual.

In both cases, the individual may feel anxious or have a panic attack for no apparent reason. Although everyone suffers an occasional panic attack or bout of anxiety, when it may need assistance is if it happens frequently which can mean daily or weekly (Klein and Wender, p. 152). Depression can be a complicated disorder and if it goes untreated, it can be detrimental to the individual and to people around them. Causes of Depression                       There are many causes of depression and when it becomes extreme, medication may be part of the answer.

Researchers have found that it is "genetically transmitted and chemically produced" (Klein and Wender, p. 83). When a family member suffers from depression, others in the family will have a 20-25% chance of developing depression also. It is also clear that there is a chemical imbalance in the brain. In other situations, people say they have low self-esteem, they see the world in a pessimistic way or this can happen as a result of being overwhelmed or overstressed. Medical Causes of Depression                       Some researchers suggest that some physical changes that happen in the body as a result of stroke, cancer, a heart attack or Parkinson's disease can trigger depression as well as some hormonal disorders (Belleair, p.

99). This researcher can relate to this because I had challenges with hormone pills that I was taking and this sent me into depression. I eventually came out of it by talking to my family about it; up until that time, I thought people who had depression were faking their illness. Symptoms of Depression                       The following are some of the symptoms for depression: Persistent sadness, anxious or "empty" mood. Feelings of hopelessness. Feelings of guilt, helplessness or worthlessness. Decreased energy and fatigue. Insomnia Thoughts of death or suicide. Restlessness or irritability. (Belleair, p.

99). Klein and Wender add to this list with the following symptoms: Feeling down or restless. Avoiding the company of others for long periods of time. Loss of interest in sex or other pleasurable activities. An inability to concentrate and/or having problems making decisions. (p. 12). These symptoms can be a result of other diseases or disorders so it is important for someone who feels they may be suffering from depression to talk to their primary care physician first to rule out other challenges. Bipolar Disorder                       When an individual is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, depression is just one part of this disorder.

The other side of this disorder is a manic or euphoric phase. An individual who has this disorder may find that although their depression goes away sometimes, they may have a euphoric phase instead of returning to normal (Phelps, 2006, p. 39-40). Hormonal fluctuations can also cause forms of Bipolar or depression. Some experts suggest that postpartum depression, premenstrual syndrome or perimenopause may be related to Bipolar disorder (Phelps, p.

49-50). Treatment for Depression                       When an individual is suffering from depression is a good idea to understand why it is happening. A physician can be the first step in finding out why this is happening. They will do a series of tests that may also include lab work. There are a variety of medications called, "mood enhancers" or "SSRIs" that help with depression. Some of these elevate the serotonin levels in the brain to help restore the individual to abnormal phase.

Some of the literature says that these medications are not habit-forming and they can be done in small increments of dosage (Belleair, p. 101). Herbal remedies have also been used for treatment, especially St. John's Wort; this is the only one that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Conclusion                       Depression is a mood disorder that affects millions of Americans across the United States. Some depression is a matter of being unhappy for a short period of time but sometimes it can linger for several years and the individual can feel as though they will never be able to stop being depressed.

In many instances, it is a chemical imbalance in the brain and considered biological. Whatever the challenge with depression an individual has, the first place to start is with the doctor. The doctor can determine where the problem is stemming from and recommend medication or other types of assistance where needed, in order to treat the individual so they can return to a full life.


Arehart-Treichel, J. (15 May 2009). Economic Crisis Taking Toll on Americans' Mental Health. Psychiatric News. Retrieved August 14, 2009 from

Bellenir, K. (ed.). (2005). Mental health disorders sourcebook. Third Edition. MI: Oxford University Press.

Klein, D.F. and Wender, P.H. (2005). Understanding depression: A complete guide to its diagnosis and treatment. NY: Oxford University Press.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2009). The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America. Retrieved August 16, 2009 from health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/ index.shtml#Intro.

Phelps, J. (2006). Why am I still depressed? Recognizing and managing the ups and downs of Bipolar II or soft Bipolar disorder. NY: McGraw-Hill.

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