Mood Disorders

Depression is a common condition. Approximately a quarter of all people experience at least one depressive episode during their lifetime.  When depressed, one feels low in mood, tired, and has trouble getting motivated. It is hard to enjoy most things. Sleep is often too short or frequently interrupted; appetite changes and sex drive declines.  When depressed, one’s thoughts are mostly negative and down-putting.  Typically, one remembers situations in which we felt we had failed or which had caused us shame.  Not wanting to live-on is a common thought in depression.  Sometimes, if depression is severe, unusual sensations (voices/visions/smells) or beliefs can be experienced.

Bipolar Affective Disorder (previously manic-depression) brings one close to the extremes of the mood spectrum. The mood phases last for several days, weeks, or sometimes months. Most of the time, depression or even severe depression, is experienced.  However, there are times when one’s mood is so elated (or even irritable) and thoughts race. Sometimes this is to a degree that others, who are listening to us speak, find us hard to follow.  This can be quite frustrating.  Little sleep is sufficient yet we still seem to have a lot of energy. Usually, one is over-talkative and much more sociable.  During this time, lots of new projects are started but rarely finished. One cares less about risk-taking or overspending.  Often our partners, relatives or friends will notice it as a significant change. This characterises a manic, or if less intense, hypo-manic phase. These phases last for several days. On occasions, people can exhaust themselves, experience unusual sensations, or have unshakable beliefs about their special abilities.

Other mood variations - there are a variety of different conditions, which all describe a temporary or ongoing excess of mood in either direction.  Each of them can, in their own way, impair one’s functioning.

CBT for depression was one of the first psychotherapies which underwent rigorous scientific evaluation in psychological treatment trials.  It has shown to be more effective than anti-depressants and at least as effective as other forms of psychotherapy.

Dr TOM G WERNER  Psychiatrist & CBT-Therapist