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Mood Disorders 
While many people use the term "mood" to simply refer to their feelings at any given moment (e.g. “I’m in a happy mood”), mental health professionals use it a bit differently. In clinical settings, it is used to describe a persistent emotional state that affects how the person sees the world. Almost everyone experiences at least brief periods of sadness, feeling down, or being energetic and upbeat at various points in his/her lifetime. That’s just part of being human. However, there is a significant portion of the population that has disturbances in their mood that are more than this kind of normal variation. Individuals in this group have what is clinically referred to as a mood disorder. Mood disorders are characterized by a significant disturbance in a person’s persistent emotional state or mood. The two primary types of mood problems are depressive mood and elated mood. Most mood disorders fall under the broad categories of depressive disorders and bipolar disorders. 

Depression is a pervasive state of low mood, with a reduced ability in having normal interest & enjoyment in the usual activities in life and a state of tiredness that can have a negative effect on a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings, world view, and physical well-being. They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable. Individuals experiencing a depressed mood often feel sad, blue, pessimistic, lethargic, irritable, apathetic, worthless, helpless and hopeless. Difficulties in concentrating and making decisions are common. They often experience problematic changes in their sleep and appetite, such as eating and sleeping more than usual, struggling with insomnia, or not feeling like eating much at all. In severe cases, depressed individuals may contemplate and even attempt suicide – usually in an attempt to escape their emotional pain. Depressive disorders are characterized not only by negative thoughts, moods, and behaviors but also by specific changes in bodily functions (for example, eating, sleeping, and sexual activity). One in 10 people will have a depressive disorder in their lifetime, and in one of 10 cases, the depression is a fatal disease which results in suicide.  While there are many social, psychological, and environmental risk factors for developing depression, some are particularly prevalent in one gender or the other, or in particular age or ethnic groups. Depression is not a weakness but a serious illness with biological, psychological, and social aspects to its cause, symptoms, and treatment. Major depression (or major depressive disorder) is manifested by a combination of symptoms that interferes with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. In some cases a major depressive episode may occur only once; but in most cases, several episodes may occur in a lifetime. Chronic major depression may require a person to continue treatment indefinitely. A less severe type of depression, dysthymia (or dysthymic disorder), involves long lasting chronic symptoms that do not seriously disable, but keep one from functioning well or feeling good. Many people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes at some time in their lives. 

Lifetime risk of suicide among patients with untreated depressive disorder is nearly 20%. This is largely preventable as there are very effective & tolerable treatments for depression at present. Antidepressants still remains as the most effective form of treatment of depression, although a combination of antidepressants with cognitive behavioural therapy has a more definitive & longer lasting effectiveness. 

Bipolar Affective Disorder 
Bipolar affective disorder is also known as manic depression or bipolar depression. The sufferer experiences marked mood swings, which are beyond what most people experience. These extremes of mood may include the lows of depression as well as the highs of a mildly elated mood (Hypomania) or a severely elated mood (Mania). In certain individuals the highs could occur as a state of irritability (Dysphoria) rather than elation. The number and frequency of these periods of depression and hypomania/mania vary from person to person. It is estimated that about 1 per cent of the population suffer from bipolar affective disorder at some point in their lives. Some people will experience just one or two episodes, whereas others will have many episodes of depression or hypomania/mania. In depressive illness that occurs as part of bipolar disorder, the depressive feelings will be worse, they will go on for longer and they will make it harder to deal with day to day problems. Bipolar disorder causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives. Bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person's life.  

An overly joyful or overexcited state is called a manic episode, and an extremely sad or hopeless state is called a depressive episode. Sometimes, an episode includes symptoms of both mania and depression. This is called a mixed state. People with bipolar disorder also may be explosive and irritable during a mood episode. Extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior go along with these changes in mood. It is possible for someone with bipolar disorder to experience a long-lasting period of unstable moods rather than discrete episodes of depression or mania. Sometimes symptoms are so severe that the person cannot function normally at work, school, or home. 

Biploar Affective Disorder can be of different types. Type I has predominantly manic episodes or mixed affective state with only a few episodes of depression. In Type II there is more frequent depressive episodes with ocassional hypomanic episodes. Type III is another form in which hypomania is precipitated usually during the treatment of a depressive episode. 

The severity can also vary widely. In some cases patients have no insight about their illness when they are in a manic or depressive state. These patients do not present for treatment themselves & often has to be brought in for treatment by family members or friends. These cases are harder to treat as they are likely to be non compliant with treatment and sometimes require inpatient hospitalisation. In other cases patients experience only mild symptoms with significant insight regarding their variation in mood. Such patients often present for treatment themselves & are often very successfully treated.

Bipolar affective disorder has to be treated by a psychiatrist as the treatment is often complex and may involve the combination of multiple treatment strategies. The treatment is very effective if treated early & successfully treated patients lead a very normal life.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder 
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things that is disproportionate to the actual source of worry. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals suffering GAD typically anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friendship problems, interpersonal relationship problems, or work difficulties. Individuals often exhibit a variety of physical symptoms, including fatigue, fidgeting, headaches, nausea, numbness in hands and feet, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, bouts of difficulty breathing, difficulty concentrating, trembling, twitching, irritability, agitation, sweating, restlessness, insomnia, hot flashes, and rashes and inability to fully control the anxiety. Unlike a phobia, where fear is connected to a specific thing or situation, the anxiety of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is diffuse—a general feeling of dread or unease that colors your whole life. This anxiety is less intense than a panic attack, but much longer lasting, making normal life difficult and relaxation impossible. If you have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) you may worry about the same things that other people do: health issues, money, family problems, or difficulties at work. But you take these worries to a new level. The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. 

Generalised anxiety disorder, if untreated, tends to be chronic condition. However it can be successfully treated with medication as well as cognitive behavioural therapy. People with generalised anxiety disorder tend to develop a lot of abnormal coping strategies and behavioiurs that maintain the disorder, which can be addressed & treated through therapy. 

Panic Disorder 
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which you have repeated attacks of intense fear that something bad will happen. A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear. Your heart pounds and you can’t breathe. You may even feel like you’re dying or going crazy. Left untreated, panic attacks can lead to panic disorder and other problems. They may even cause you to withdraw from normal activities. But panic attacks can be cured and the sooner you seek help, the better. With treatment, you can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of panic and regain control of your life. The symptoms of a panic attack can be very frightening and distressing. Symptoms tend to occur very suddenly, without warning and often for no apparent reason.

Panic disorder can be treated with both medication & cognitive behavioural therapy & when treated the individual can return to function very normally in life.

A phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of an object or a situation. In most cases, the phobia involves a sense of endangerment or a fear of harm. Phobic symptoms can occur through exposure to the feared object or situation. Once established, sometimes even thinking about the feared object can lead to an anxious response. When fears become so severe that they cause tremendous anxiety and interfere with your normal life, they are called phobias. A phobia is an intense fear of something that, in reality, poses little or no actual danger. Common phobias and fears that people describe include the fear of social gathering, closed-in places, crowds, heights, highway driving, flying insects, snakes, and needles. However, one can develop phobias of virtually anything. Most phobias develop in childhood, but they can also develop in adults. Individuals experiencing a phobia often realize that their fear is unreasonable, yet they cannot fully control their anxious feelings and avoidant behaviours. Phobia can be effectively treated with medication as well as cognitive behavioural therapy.
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