When a mood disorder affects the way you interact with others, how you feel about yourself and your ability to work or go to school, it can be greatly debilitating.

Mental health conditions that cause changes in your emotional state can reduce your quality of life and leave you feeling hopeless — that nothing will help you improve and feel better.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, is home to some of the nation’s foremost experts in mood disorders, and we have many ways we can help, including advanced treatments beyond medications and talk therapy. We’re working diligently every day to research and develop therapies to prevent mood disorders from returning or even happening in the first place.

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health issues that might be related to mood changes, you can feel safe asking for help here. We’ll get you an accurate diagnosis and walk you through every step of treatment that is personalized to you.

Woman looking overwhelmed and sadWhat is a mood disorder?

Mood disorders represent a group of mental health conditions that cause severe mood changes and distort your emotional state. With these disorders, you can go through periods of extreme sadness (depression) or excessive happiness (mania), and sometimes those periods will alternate.

When these symptoms impact your ability to function daily, you might have a mood disorder. Mood disorders can affect children and adults, but signs and symptoms of the diseases might be different. Mood disorders typically fall on a spectrum, too, meaning symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening.

Types of mood disorders

While the two most common mood disorders are clinical depression and bipolar disorder, there are a variety of other conditions that fall under this umbrella term. Some of the mood disorders we treat at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center include:

  • Depression – People with depression experience symptoms of sadness, hopelessness and loss of interest that affect their ability to function.
  • Bipolar disorder – This condition is marked by unusual mood changes that fluctuate from mania to depression.
  • Dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder) – When someone has depressive symptoms most of the day, more days than not, for two years, it’s considered dysthymia. This is a chronic form of clinical depression.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – This is a form of depression related to a certain season of the year — often coinciding with the onset of fall and winter, but for some it’s the opposite.
  • Cyclothymic disorder – This involves a pattern of ups and downs in emotional state that is chronic but usually less severe than bipolar disorder.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder – Symptoms appear in the week leading up to menstruation but subside after menstruation begins.
  • Postpartum depression – Symptoms of depression appear after childbirth.
  • Prolonged grief disorder – This is grief that persists for a year or more after the loss of a loved one and interferes with daily function.
  • Depression related to a medical illness – Depression can arise from a challenging medical diagnosis, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis or stroke.
  • Substance-induced mood disorder – Using drugs or alcohol or withdrawal from these substances can trigger mood disorders.

What causes mood disorders

There isn’t just one cause of a mood disorder. Generally, it’s a combination of factors. Those factors include:

  • Genetics – Research has shown that mood disorders can run in families. If someone in your family has a mood disorder, you’re at an increased risk of developing one.
  • Biology – Abnormal brain structures or an imbalance in chemicals in your brain can predispose you to a mood disorder.
  • Environment – Life events (such as childbirth or the death of a loved one), traumatic events or stress can also contribute to a mood disorder. Also, those with certain illnesses, such as cancer, stroke or diabetes, have a higher risk.

How are mood disorders treated?

People with mood disorders can make a full recovery if they have the right treatment and work with well-trained and experienced mental health professionals, like the ones at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

Typically, we’re able to improve your condition with expert management of medications, including antidepressants and mood stabilizers, and different types of psychotherapy (talk therapy). However, if those aren’t successful or you have a treatment-resistant mood disorder, we also provide advanced treatments. These interventional psychiatry treatments aren’t always readily available elsewhere.

Our advanced treatment options for mood disorders include:

  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – ECT, which is done while you’re under general anesthesia, uses electricity to induce a short, targeted seizure. This change in brain chemistry can relieve symptoms of mood disorders.
  • Transcranial magnetic resonance (TMS) – TMS uses magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of the brain believed to control mood. These areas may not be functioning properly for patients who are experiencing depression.
  • Ketamine/esketamine – Ketamine is a drug that is used in high doses for anesthesia; however, lower doses can improve mood disorders. Ketamine infusions are administered intravenously and intranasal esketamine is a nasal spray that you inhale.
  • Prevention methods, like mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) – MBCT is group-based intervention that was designed to facilitate recovery from depression and prevent future depressive relapses.

Why come to Ohio State for mood disorder treatment?

As a regional leader in the treatment of mood disorders, we treat a diverse range of conditions with varying severity. But we also treat the person with the condition.

Mood disorder care at Ohio State is distinct, and reasons for our success include:

  • We truly take a personalized approach to treatment. We know treatment for mood disorder isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. We don’t just recommend the same treatments to everyone, and we work diligently to understand what a particular person needs. Then, we give it to them.
  • We focus on keeping you well. As difficult as it can be to treat someone with a mood disorder, it can be even more challenging to offer sustained recovery and prevent relapse. We focus on therapies that relieve symptoms and help you regain the lost life functions. We have a longer-term view of the disorder.
  • We have capacity. It can be difficult to find a place accepting new patients, especially for those with challenging diagnoses like treatment-resistant depression or bipolar disorder. We’re constantly hiring new experts and renovating spaces to provide more access to our award-winning mental and behavioral health care.
  • We have specialty programs to give you specialized care. Some of our specialty programs include Women’s Behavioral Health (postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder), Epicenter (psychosis) and the Depression Recovery Center for treatment-resistant depression.
  • We bridge the gap between the clinical and research setting. As an academic medical center, we not only give you access to the latest treatment advancements, but our research champions the idea that we can match the mental health treatment to the person. This helps you get better quicker and stay healthy.

Subscribe. Get just the right amount of health and wellness in your inbox.