Mood Disorders

This category includes Depression Disorder and Bipolar Disorder (BD). Both Depression Disorder and Bipolar Disorder are two common psychiatric mood diagnoses with a strong component of "inherited vulnerability." Children whose parents have a history of a bipolar disorder, severe mood swings, serious depression, or a history of going for long periods without sleep are at particularly high risk.

Adult depressive disorders are characterized by having a depressed mood or having a loss of interest or pleasure in life (for more than two weeks) when accompanied by at least three of the following additional symptoms: significant weight or appetite loss or gain, difficulty sleeping, serious restlessness, serious fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty in concentrating or thinking, or recurrent thoughts of death or wanting to end one's life. Some families may be more vulnerable to depression than others due to biological differences in their brain hormones. In identical twin studies (when the twins are reared apart), there is up to a 40% chance that a second twin will have depression if the first one does. Crises and serious losses are often a trigger for a major depression for the parent as well as the child. Stressful events in the home can trigger a young child into depression in part because kids tend to "disasterize" their perspectives and thoughts about the life stress. Additionally, depression in a parent places a young child at risk because a depressed parent is less able to provide a secure attachment with the child (See Appendix #5).

The most significant difference between the symptoms of a young child with depression versus an adult is that instead of a deeply disabling sad mood and weight and energy changes, the child is more likely to have slowed growth and maturity and extreme irritability.

Adult bipolar disorders are characterized by having a manic episode(s) that may or may not be accompanied by depression at other times. During the manic episode, the person has an abnormally elevated or irritable mood for at least one week during which at least three of these other symptoms are present: an inflated sense of self, a decreased need for sleep where three hours "feels like enough," nonstop talkativeness, racing speech or having racing thoughts, extreme distractibility or inability to focus, an abnormal increase in activity or agitation, or excessive involvement in unwise pleasurable activities (daredevil actions, gambling, spending, sexual indiscretions, etc.). The most significant difference between early childhood and adult bipolar disorders is that frequently a young child's manic episode lasts shorter than one week or is accompanied by an extreme co-occurring irritability or depression.

BiPolar Explained

BiPolar Explained

Bipolar is a condition that wreaks havoc on those that it affects. If you suffer from Bipolar, chances are that your family suffers right with you. No matter if you are that family member trying to learn to cope or you are the person that has been diagnosed, there is hope out there.

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