Almost everyone experiences at least brief periods of sadness, feeling “down”, or being energetic and upbeat at various points in his/her lifetime. That’s just part of being human. However, there’s a significant portion of the population that has disturbances in their mood that are not considered normal. Individuals in this group have what is clinically referred to as a “mood disorder”.
Mood disorders are characterized by a significant disturbance in a person’s persistent emotional state or mood. The two primary types of moods are depression and mania. Thus, most mood disorders fall under the broad categories of depressive disorders and bipolar disorders (formerly known as "manic depressive" disorders).
Bipolar disorder causes a person’s mood to swing from excessively “high” and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, with periods of a normal mood in between. More than 2 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder. Although there is no known cure, bipolar disorder is treatable, and recovery is possible. Individuals with bipolar disorder have successful relationships and meaningful jobs. The combination of medications and psychotherapy helps the vast majority of people return to productive, fulfilling lives.
Clinical depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting more than 19 million Americans each year. *Depression can occur to anyone, at any age, and to people of any race or ethnic group. Depression is never a "normal" part of life, no matter what your age, gender or health situation. Depression causes people to lose pleasure from daily life, can complicate other medical conditions, and can even be serious enough to lead to suicide.