Skip to content

Mood Disorders

Mood Disorders


Elevations RTC is one of the nation’s leading treatment facilities for adolescents struggling with mood disorders and other mental health concerns. A mood disorder is characterized by irregular and changing moods. Some of the most commonly known mood disorders are generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. It is rare for an individual diagnosed with a mood disorder to have only one. Anxiety and depression are frequently both present, with adolescent girls being more prone to depression and suicidal ideation and attempts.

While adolescents most commonly suffer from anxiety and/or depression, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder, over 30% of adolescents with a mood disorder also have disruptive disorder. This contributes to conflicted relationships with parents that are typically present for teens with mood disorders. Because of this, treatment that addresses the entire family is most effective.

What Causes Mood Disorders In Teens?

Anxiety disorders precede mood disorders in most instances, however, there are several contributing factors to whether or not an individual will develop a mood disorder. A genetic predisposition has been found to contribute to 50% of mood disorders, specifically to stress reactivity. However, there are also considerable environmental factors that cause an adolescent to develop a mood disorder. These factors are reflective of the adolescent’s personality, temperament, perspective, and experiences.

Teenage Bipolar Disorder and The Signs to Watch For

What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder, as its namesake suggests, is a mental illness that causes an individual’s mood to swing from one pola..

Genetics & Environment

Parenting style does also play a contributing factor in a teen’s mental health and how they will have learned to manage their emotions early in life. If the genetic predisposition to develop a mood disorder is present, and there is a lack of parental support to overcome challenges or the relationship between parent and child is strained, the child will increasingly avoid challenges -causing them to become insecure and more susceptible to anxiety as they are unable to cope with the normal challenges and stresses of life. That sustained anxiety from natural stress can easily turn to depression when the child has deemed a situation to be hopeless.

Common Signs Of Mood Disorders

Major affective disorder is the primary category for mood disorders, however, many adolescents have a mild but long-term depression that doesn’t meet enough of the criteria for diagnosis as a major affective disorder. These teens still require intervention as their mood disorder, while milder in comparison, still disrupts their quality of life and ability to function.

While only a licensed psychiatrist can diagnosis a mood disorder, there are a number of signs of mood disorders that can alert a parent to potential mental health challenges for their child.

Signs of Mood Disorders in Adolescents

• Drastic changes in sleep patterns: sleeping too much or seeming to function on very small amounts of sleep
• Drastic changes in appetite, eating very little or binge eating
• Sudden mood changes
• Irritability, anger, agitation
• Lack of energy
• Sudden bouts of inexplicable crying
• Pessimistic or overly optimistic outlook
• Reckless and impulsive behavior
• Racing thoughts and speech
• In severe cases, hallucinations may be experienced

How Teens Experience Mood Disorders

For an adolescent with a mood disorder, life can be unbearable. The symptoms of a mood disorder interfere with their ability to function normally. Even the manic “highs” of bipolar cause significant issues as they are unable to realistically assess situations and make sound judgements.

Seasonal Affective Disorder: A Largely Misunderstood Depressive Illness

The Story Of Winter Blues: A Seasonably Affected Mental Disorder
Most of us are familiar with the term ‘winter blues,’ otherwise known as Seasonal Af..

What A Mood Disorder Feels Like To A Teen

• Excessive worry that is not in proportion with the cause of the stress
• Indifference and apathy
• Feelings of inexplicable guilt and worthlessness
• Indecisiveness and inability to concentrate
• Physical ailments, such as general aches and pains
• Heightened optimism; exaggerated self-confidence and ego
• Inability to take pleasure in hobbies and interests
• Racing thoughts
• Aggressive thoughts
• Delusions and hallucinations
Suicidal ideation and recurring thoughts of death

Effective Treatment For Mood Disorders

Treatment for mood disorders is centered prominently on behavioral and psychotherapeutic treatments. Medication may be used in conjunction, however, therapy should be sought and employed prior to the use of medication for treating mood disorders as these treatments are the catalyst that causes change. Generally, serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are prescribed as they have shown a clear effect in reducing anxiety so that therapeutic treatment is more effective.

There following three types of therapeutic treatment for mood disorders have been found to be the most effective. These therapies form the foundation of treatment for adolescents with mood disorders who attend Elevations RTC.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This therapy provides coping strategies that help the teen to diminish their anxiety and/or depression.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy This helps the teen to identify interpersonal conflicts that contribute to their mood disorder and helps them to develop strategies to address and resolve that conflict; highly effective with depression.

Supportive Interventions

Creating a supportive and encouraging environment that builds the teen’s confidence and self-esteem, this treatment helps to create a sense of personal security as the teen knows they can handle challenges.

Behavioral Family Interventions

This therapy for the entire family works to resolve the conflict and strained relationship between parent and teen. It reduces oppositional behavior in the teen as it increases their security, thereby reducing anxiety. This helps create the same encouraging environment at home which encourages the teen to continue using the skills and techniques they learned at Elevations RTC.

Addressing family relationships has been found to be vital to the success of treatment for mood disorders and contributes to the long term success for the teen which is why it is such a strong component to our treatment. It is this holistic approach, proving a supportive environment with therapies that address all areas of life, that directly contributes to the success of our teens.

Our Approach Is Desigend To Help Your Child

In addition to individualized treatment that acknowledges the unique needs of every teen, Elevations RTC also provides accredited academics in a all gender setting to keep teens on track in school and provide a real-world environment in which they can begin using their new mental health skills immediately. This further contributes to their positive mental health and ensures the lasting benefit of their treatment at Elevations RTC. Call us today at:

Posted in

The Elevations Team

Want to learn more about how Elevations can guide your teen with specialized, compassionate care? Contact us today!