Mood Disorders Vs. Anxiety Disorders
Difference Between Mood Disorders And Anxiety Disorders
Most people experience a wide range of different feelings and emotions every day. Typical feelings include joy, excitement, fear, sadness, anger, jealousy, pride, and shame. The term “mood” refers to a feeling that lasts for hours, days, weeks, or longer. Sometimes a particular mood is strong and long lasting. It even interferes with normal activities. This situation is referred to as a mood disorder.
One kind of mood disorder is depression. This is extreme sadness that causes loss of pleasure in almost all activities. Children with depression may feel more irritability than sadness. Major depressive disorder is diagnosed when depression lasts for two weeks or more and is accompanied by other symptoms. These are sleep problems (either too much or too little), weight change, hopelessness, and trouble concentrating. A less severe but more lasting form of depression is dysthymic disorder.
Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorders. Approximately 20% of women will have a major depressive episode during their lives. This is almost twice the number seen in men.
People with bipolar disorder (also called manic depression) have repeated episodes of depression that alternate with periods of mania. Or, depression and mania can be separated by periods of normal mood. Mania is a mood that is excessively happy or irritable combined with symptoms such as decreased need for sleep, excessive talking, and racing thoughts. People with mania may have thoughts that are grandiose. For example, they may believe they have special powers. Bipolar disorder is less frequent than major depressive disorder. It occurs equally in men and women.
Depression and bipolar disorder most commonly begin in adulthood. But children and adolescents can also have these illnesses. Mood disorders of all types tend to run in families. This is particularly true for mood problems in children. Mood disorders that start in childhood tend to be more serious and to continue longer.
All types of mood disorders can be severe and chronic illnesses. They can usually be well controlled with medicine and other therapy. If left untreated, however, they sometimes result in suicide.
Everyone feels fear and anxiety sometimes. A normal fear is associated with a specific danger in the immediate future. It can happen even when there is no direct danger. Some anxiety can be good. It motivates people to work or study in order to keep a job or do well in school. But too much anxiety can interfere with normal activities. It can undermine a person’s ability to concentrate, make decisions, or even go outside.
A panic attack is a sudden feeling of intense anxiety. It usually includes a fear of dying or going crazy. The anxiety is combined with physical symptoms such as sweating, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness, or choking. Some people who have had panic attacks begin to constantly fear having them again. This is called panic disorder.
People with panic disorder may begin to avoid places or situations where they would feel trapped if they had a panic attack. This is called agoraphobia. In some cases, agoraphobia prevents people from traveling or leaving home. Individuals with social phobia have intense and unreasonable fears of certain social situations. For example, they may fear they will suffer overwhelming embarrassment if they have to speak or perform in public.
People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have unwanted thoughts, or obsessions, about a particular danger. For example, they may become obsessed with being contaminated by germs if they touch a doorknob. These obsessions cause them to feel intense anxiety and distress. To reduce the stress, they repeatedly perform a certain act (compulsion) that is related to the obsession. For example, they might wash their hands again and again to remove the germs. Some people with OCD spend many hours each day doing compulsive acts. They are unable to stop the behavior, even though they realize their fears are exaggerated.