Mood or Affective Disorders

If you are going to suffer from a disorder, chances are it will be a mood disorder. 

Mood disorders are characterized by extreme or inappropriate emotions.  There are four that you should know for the AP:

Major depression: 

Depression is often called the common cold of psychological disorders.  Just like a cold can be just a cold- or an indication of something more serious wrong ,depression may indicate purely depression, or the depression may indicate the presence of another disorder (wow- I used indication like a whole bunch of times in one run on sentence). 

The DSM-IV defines major depression as a depression that lasts for at least two weeks for no clear reason (if your boyfriend dumps you, you have a reason to be depressed- but not for two weeks- actually I guess it depends how long you were dating- Charlotte, from Sex in the City, says that depression from a break should last half the time of a relationship- that theory sucks). 

 

Other symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, change in sleeping patterns, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities and a general sense of overall worthlessness.

 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD):

People that suffer from SAD only experience depression during the winter months.  It is believed that the lack of sunlight in the winter brings about the depression. 

Therapist recommend something called light therapy, using a light that mimics the sun (it is pricey) but my advice would be just to move to Florida.

I went to school in Binghamton (the armpit of New York) where I once went over 30 days without seeing the sun.  Looking back, I really should have gone to the University of Hawaii.

4 years of cold rainy upstate NY or sunny palm trees and bikinis (and yes- this makes me depressed)!!!

Dysthymic disorder:

Dysthymic disorder occurs when a person suffers from a mild depression for at least two years.  No major depressive bouts occur during this time.

This is one mildly depressed sheep!!! 

I guess we should try to shear her up (get it?)

 

Bipolar Disorder

Otherwise known as manic depression, is characterized by bouts of depression (discussed above) alternating with bouts of mania (an energetic feeling of confidence and power). 

In many cases, the manic periods are more dangerous than the depressive ones because during mania, the person exhibits extremely risky behavior.  Many creative people suffer from bipolar- take a look.