mood and anxiety disorders

Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Mood and anxiety disorders affect millions around the world, including children, teens, and adults. Mental health disorders like these are on the rise. According to research, one in four people have a diagnosable mental health disorder. The top mental health disorders are mood and anxiety disorders.

Statistics on mental health disorders are alarming. Major depressive disorder is the top mental illness, with over 19 million people diagnosed. There are 7 million with bipolar disorder, 48 million with anxiety disorder, 9 million with post-traumatic stress disorder, and 3 million with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Each of these falls into the categories of mood and anxiety disorder.

Unfortunately, many people suffer from more than one mental health disorder. For example, someone can have both depression and anxiety simultaneously. To understand how mood and anxiety disorders are connected, it’s essential to look at them separately.

Mood Disorder vs. Anxiety Disorder Statistics

Statistics show that 21.4% of American adults over 18 have experienced any mood disorder in their lifetime. Of this number, 40% of the cases were considered severe and 41% moderate. American adolescents also experience mood disorders. Out of the 14% of adolescents diagnosed with a disorder, more than 11 percent had severe impairment.

The Anxiety and Depression Society of America report anxiety affects more than 40 million Americans. Nearly 7 million are diagnosed with generalized anxiety, 6 million with panic disorder, 15 million with social anxiety, 19 million with specific phobias, over 2 million with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and nearly 8 million with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mood Disorder vs. Anxiety Disorder Types

Mood disorders consist of major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder.

Major depression is diagnosed when you have symptoms like sadness, feelings of hopelessness, and sleep disturbances for more than two weeks. With dysthymia, the symptoms have lasted for more than two years. Bipolar disorder is diagnosed with a person’s mood alternates between depression and mania.

Other mood disorders include mood disorders due to a medical condition, mood disorders due to a substance use disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.

Anxiety disorders consist of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Obsessive-compulsive disorder has recently been given its own category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Previously, it was defined as an anxiety disorder.

Generalized anxiety disorder is diagnosed in those who experience extreme worry, fear, dread, and stress for prolonged periods. These symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to function.

Panic disorder is defined by the panic attacks that occur, in which general anxiety becomes extreme and leads to physical effects like rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, choking feelings, and for some, chest pain. People often think they are having a heart attack and seek medical attention for their symptoms.

Phobias are fears associated with specific people, places, or things. Examples include a fear of snakes, flying in airplanes, or heights. Social anxiety occurs when you fear being in social settings or have to perform in front of people, like giving a speech, attending a party, or just going to the grocery store.

Other anxiety disorders include agoraphobia and separation anxiety. 

Mood Disorder vs. Anxiety Disorder Risk Factors

Risk factors are the things that make it more likely you will develop a disorder. Both mood and anxiety disorders share the same risk factors, including:

  • Genetics and family history of a mood or anxiety disorder. However, just because you have the genes associated with mental illness, it does not guarantee you will have a disorder.
  • Drug and alcohol misuse. Substances alter the structure of the brain, causing trauma and imbalances in brain chemistry.
  • Past traumatic experiences. Examples include physical or sexual abuse, war combat, natural disasters, the death of a loved one, and anything that makes you feel threatened.
  • Brain biology and chemistry. Levels of certain neurotransmitters, or chemicals, can be out of balance. Serotonin is commonly associated with mood and anxiety disorders.
  • Living environment. For example, being surrounded by abusive people, being exposed to unhealthy or illegal behaviors, how well you are fed, the amount of positive attention you receive, and more.
  • Medical problems like thyroid disease and arrhythmia.

Mood Disorder vs. Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

General mood and anxiety disorders have many of the same symptoms, including persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or a sense of hopelessness, feeling inadequate, low self-esteem, guilt, difficulty maintaining healthy relationships, weight gain or weight loss, sleep disturbances, feeling tired all the time despite getting many hours of sleep, mood swings, irritability, easily distracted, aggressive, physical aches and pains, and no longer showing interest in activities you once enjoyed.

Anxiety disorders differ when feelings of fear arise or when the body suddenly goes into fight or flight mode for no reason.

As symptoms become more specific, so do the diagnoses. For example, someone with seasonal affective disorder will only experience symptoms simultaneously each year and only for that period. Someone with separation anxiety will experience severe stress and worry until they are reunited with the person or thing to which they are attached.

Mood Disorder vs. Anxiety Disorder Treatments

The good news is that both mood and anxiety disorders are treatable. Symptoms can be alleviated, and you can go on to have a fully functional, happy life. Various treatment methods exist, including medication to rebalance brain chemicals. Some medicines are created to treat both anxiety and mood disorders since they involve serotonin in the brain.

Individual or group psychotherapies are beneficial treatments for mood and anxiety disorders. Licensed therapists can teach you coping skills to help you overcome negative symptoms. Using methods like cognitive behavioral therapy, you can get to the root cause of your mood or anxiety disorder. Then, learn how to move forward.

You will be introduced to alternative treatment methods to supplement your progress. Examples include relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, stress management, fitness, music, or art therapy, and more.

If you think you may have a mood or anxiety disorder, call us today. We can connect you with the right treatment program.