Mood Disorders and Their Role in Addiction

Treatment for Mood DisordersA mood disorder is classified as a mental disorder characterized primarily by a major disturbance in an individual?s emotions or disposition. Once known as an affective disorder, mood disorders include well-known mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, only 50.9 percent of individuals dealing with a mood disorder are currently receiving treatment. Many shy away from seeking help for their mood disorder because of the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Most mental illnesses are treatable, however, and spreading awareness with regard to mood disorders is an important part of helping individuals get the medical assistance they need. Keep reading to learn more about the most common mood disorders, their symptoms and how mood disorders can interact with other forms of mental illness.

Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorder refers to a set of symptoms associated with major changes or highly stressful life events. When an individual?s reaction to these events is stronger than normal, to the point of interfering with daily life, he or she may be diagnosed with adjustment disorder.

Jarring life changes such as serious financial problems, deaths in the family, divorces and career failures are just a few of the events that can result in an individual developing adjustment disorder. Common symptoms of adjustment disorder include:

  • Increased nervousness
  • Erratic heartbeat
  • Uncontrolled trembling
  • Body tension
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling detached from loved ones


Depression is characterized by persistent feelings of deep sadness, hopelessness and emptiness. These symptoms last for several weeks and quickly escalate beyond negative emotions. Depression affects the individual?s ability to sleep, eat and work normally.

Generally speaking, the individual experiences cyclical episodes of major depression followed by phases of less intense symptoms. When these symptoms last longer than two years, the patient is diagnosed with ?persistent depressive disorder,? just one of many depression-related disorders.

Common depression symptoms include:

  • General irritability
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of focus
  • Persistent sadness and anxiety
  • Body pains

Bipolar Disorder

Statistics of those suffering from Mood DisorderBipolar disorder is one of the most complex mood disorders and can significantly impair a person?s ability to complete normal daily tasks. Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is characterized by severe changes in mood ? from elated, high-energy behavior (manic episodes) to periods of depression and hopelessness (depressive episodes). These changes are difficult to predict and can sometimes require immediate hospital attention.

During a depressive episode, symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • Minimal energy or motivation
  • Loss of focus
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Memory gaps
  • Sense of hopelessness

During a manic episode, symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • Racing thoughts
  • High energy
  • Loss of focus
  • General irritability
  • Reckless behavior
  • Increased activity

The Connection Between Mood Disorders and Addiction

Managing a mood disorder can be an exhausting, time-consuming challenge. This challenge becomes even more daunting when an individual is also struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.

Substance abuse is often used, unwisely, to manage the symptoms of a mood disorder. However, this approach creates more significant problems when the body becomes dependent on drugs to function properly. In cases like these, the assistance of expert medical professionals is required to safely guide an individual toward sobriety.

At The Treatment Center, we recognize that addressing a mood disorder and addiction at once is no easy task. That?s why our highly qualified staff includes medical practitioners who specialize in treating dual diagnosis patients.

You can learn more about our approach to treating mental illness with addiction by giving us a call at (866) 295-6003. Our admissions counselors are available 24/7 to answer your questions.

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