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Medical Reviewer

Marjorie Gies, M.D. Psychiatrist & Medical Director

Professional & Experienced Staff

Therapy for Mood Disorders in Los Angeles

Mood disorders are a group of mental conditions affecting your emotions. When you have a mood disorder, you might experience extremes in how you feel, such as long periods of extreme happiness or sadness or even a combination of both. Having a mood disorder can be distressing and have detrimental effects on your daily life, your relationships, and how you see yourself and the world.

Participating in therapy for mood disorders can be extremely helpful and allow you to manage your symptoms, promoting an overall sense of well-being in your life. At Casa Serena, we offer therapy for mood disorders in Los Angeles that can help you begin your journey toward mental wellness.

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What Are Mood Disorders?

Mood disorders affect your emotional state, creating extremes. Some mood disorders involve not just long periods of extreme sadness or happiness but also emotions like irritability or anger. Changes in mood are normal and usually have a lot to do with your current situation. A mood disorder is different, and for a diagnosis, your symptoms should have been occurring for at least several weeks. When you have a mood disorder, it impacts how you behave and your ability to do daily activities, such as tasks at school or work.

If you’re dealing with one of these conditions, mood disorder therapy is available at Casa Serena. We offer women's residential treatment programs in Santa Barbara that are individualized to your unique needs.

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Types of Mood Disorders

Different mental health conditions are classified as mood disorders, including:

Depression is among the most commonly diagnosed mood disorders. It’s also referred to as clinical or major depression, and symptoms include feeling hopeless or sad. It can also lead to disruptions in eating, sleeping, thinking, and memory, with symptoms lasting for at least two weeks.

There are different types of depression as well, some of which affect women particularly.

  • Postpartum depression occurs during pregnancy or at the end of a pregnancy. It’s often due to changes in hormones, as well as physical and emotional changes.
  • Persistent depressive disorder lasts at least two years, with symptoms that tend to get less severe during this window of time. While the symptoms aren’t as severe, it’s an ongoing mood disorder.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) most often happens during the fall and winter and lasts until spring or summer.
  • Depression with psychosis is severe depression that also includes psychotic episodes like hallucinations or delusions.

Another reason to seek mood disorder therapy is for bipolar disorder. This is considered a lifelong, chronic, but treatable condition. When someone is diagnosed with bipolar, they have intense mood shifts, and these are accompanied by thought and behavioral changes. There are four types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I disorder, which includes at least one manic episode. Bipolar I includes both mania and depression, but depression isn’t required for a diagnosis.
  • Bipolar II disorder is like bipolar I as far as the depression element, but a person will also experience hypomania. Hypomania is less severe than mania.  
  • Cyclothymia disorder occurs when a person has an unstable mood state chronically for at least two years, including mild depression and hypomania.
  • The fourth category is bipolar disorder, which doesn’t have symptoms meeting the criteria of the other types.

Also known as PMDD, this mood disorder affects women and usually occurs 7-10 days before menstruation. Then, it ends within a few days of starting your period. It’s a more severe type of premenstrual syndrome. It’s thought to occur because of hormonal changes related to menstruation and the menstrual cycle, with symptoms including depression, insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.

DMDD affects children and teens, with outbursts of anger and irritability that occur often and aren’t in proportion to the situation. It’s more severe than intermittent explosive disorder.

What to Look For

What Are the Symptoms of Mood Disorders?

Mood disorders are considered common, with around 7% of U.S. adults having depression and 2.8% having bipolar disorder. Women are twice as likely as men to be affected by major depression.

While the symptoms can differ depending on the specific disorder, generally, they might include:

  • Experiencing sadness most of the time or almost every day
  • Low energy levels
  • Sluggishness
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Overeating or loss of appetite

Manic episodes can include symptoms like:

  • Feeling very energized or elated
  • Rapid movements and speech
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Irritability
  • Risky behaviors
  • Insomnia
  • Racing thoughts

As is true with other mental health conditions, there are likely several factors that influence the development of a mood disorder. 

  • Biological factors could be one element. The parts of the brain that control your emotions and feelings may be enlarged in people with mood disorders.
  • Genetic factors are also relevant. If you have a strong family history of a mood disorder, you could be more likely to develop one.
  • Environmental factors, for example, chronic stress or traumatic events, are also thought to raise the risk of a mood disorder.

At Casa Serena, we provide comprehensive women’s therapy for mood disorders and other mental conditions in a safe and supportive environment.

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How Are Mood Disorders Treated?

An integrated approach may be used to treat mood disorders. For example, medicines are often part of a treatment plan. These medications can include:

  • Antidepressants help treat depression and depressive episodes in bipolar disorder. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can treat mood disorders, as can serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
  • Mood stabilizers treat bipolar disorder and mood swings that might occur with other disorders. These medications work by reducing abnormal brain activity, and they can sometimes be used along with antidepressants, depending on your treatment plan.
  • Antipsychotics are sometimes used for treating bipolar disorder with mania or mixed episodes.

The best therapy for mood disorders often combines multiple approaches, which is what we do at Casa Serena. We work specifically with women who are dealing with mental health and also substance use issues to help them recover, beginning by identifying the root causes and working from there.

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Talk Therapy for Mood Disorders

Therapy for mood disorders is also highly beneficial. Known as talk therapy or psychotherapy, it’s a term used to describe varying techniques that help you identify and change unhealthy or unproductive emotions, behaviors, and thoughts.

You work with a trained and licensed mental health professional to learn coping strategies and increase your sense of well-being.

Common types of talk therapy for mood disorders include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is structured and goal-oriented.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, is based on CBT but is specifically for people who have very intense emotional experiences.
  • Psychodynamic therapy is based on the concept that experiences influence mental well-being and behavior in childhood and that problematic thoughts or feelings are unconscious or out of your awareness.

If you’re ready to learn more about therapy for mood disorders and begin to explore what your life can be like, contact our team at Casa Serena today.

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