What are Mood Disorders?

Mood disorders are characterized by emotional irregularity that negatively affects an individual’s quality of life. There are seven primary types of mood disorders that affect adolescents, with the signs and symptoms of those mood disorders differing from how mood disorders present themselves in adults.

The seven types of mood disorders are bipolar disorder, major depression, dysthymic depression, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, premenstrual dysmorphic disorder, as well as a mood disorder resulting from prescription medication and/or substance abuse, or from a chronic medical condition.

Mood disorders are not something a teen will just get over. A mood disorder is not a phase but a real medical condition that can and does possess long-term consequences if left untreated. While the cause of the mood disorder varies, treatment follows standard guidelines and is essential for teens in order for them to successfully enter adulthood.

Understanding Mood Disorders

Having a mood disorder puts teens at risk for other mental health concerns, such as anxiety, substance abuse, and even self-harm and suicide. While, ultimately, mood disorders are the result of imbalanced chemical activity in the brain, stress and traumatic life events can trigger or intensify mood disorders.

Recognizing Signs & Symptoms

Due to the developing nature of the brain, adolescents will manifest and experience mood disorders differently than adults.

Here are some of the signs that a teen may have a mood disorder, as well as some symptoms the teen may be experiencing:

  •  Prolonged feelings of sadness
  •  Low self-esteem
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and/or inadequacy
  • Inability to focus and/or make decisions
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too muchSuicidal ideation and attempts, as well as a preoccupation with deatFrequent headaches, digestive issues, lack of energy, and/or general soreness throughout the body


Finding the Right Treatment

Treating mood disorders in teens generally follows a combination of medication and therapy. What medication is prescribed will be dependent upon that teen’s medical history and the severity of the symptoms they are experiencing. Therapy will be holistic in that it addresses all aspects of a teen life, including involving their family so that relationships that may have become strained due to the teen’s behavior may be repaired and triggering situations can be limited or better navigated by the family together.

The best treatment will focus on ways to improve the quality of the teen’s life, reducing the negative effects of the mood disorder while simultaneously treating it. It is this exact approach that makes the treatment provided by Elevations Residential Treatment Center so effective for adolescent boys and girls.

By creating a supportive real world environment with co-ed academics and group therapy, adolescents learn how to apply the coping strategies they’re learning to their everyday lives and to become comfortable with these strategies immediately. Licensed psychiatrists provide intensive one on one therapy to best address each teen’s needs, monitoring and altering their medication as necessary. This combination approach is rounded out with family therapy to provide the most comprehensive mood disorder treatment available.