A Guide to Common Mood Disorders in Adolescence
Mood disorders are a group of mental health conditions, also sometimes referred to as affective disorders. While they can happen at any age, certain environmental and chemical factors can make them appear commonly in adolescents. If you’re a teenager or a parent who suspects a mood disorder, here’s what to know in preparation for meeting with a child psychiatrist.
What Are Mood Disorders?
Mood disorders encompass all depression and bipolar disorders. While children, teens, and adults can all be affected by them, younger people often present symptoms differently than adults since they may not express their emotions as clearly or as openly. Although there’s no single definitive cause for these conditions, child psychiatrists and other experts suspect that an imbalance of brain chemicals, stressful life events or changes, and genetics could play a role in their development.
Common Mood Disorders Among Adolescents
Due to puberty and the transitional element of the teenage years, adolescents are most likely to experience the following mood disorders:
- Major depression: This condition is characterized by loss of interest in activities, sadness, or irritability that persists for more than two weeks.
- Persistent depressive disorder: PDD is a low-grade but persistent depression lasting more than one year.
- Bipolar disorder: Teens who experience this disorder may have extreme “highs,” or manic episodes, followed by periods of depression.
- Disruptive mood deregulation disorder: Persistent irritability and difficulty controlling behaviors are characteristics of this condition.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: More severe than typical premenstrual syndrome (PMS), this condition causes depression and irritability leading up to menstrual periods.
- Mood disorders related to health problems: Injuries, infections, and illnesses can cause symptoms of depression in some cases.
- Substance-induced mood disorders: Drug abuse, toxin exposure, and reliance on substances or medications can also cause mood changes, including symptoms of depression.
Signs of Mood Disorders
Not all teens will present symptoms of mood disorders in the same way. With that in mind, some symptoms to watch for include drops in energy, appetite changes, feelings of insufficiency or low self-esteem, despair or helplessness, ongoing sadness, and difficulty focusing.
You may also notice irritability, increased sensitivity, and frequent complaints of physical issues, such as headaches and extreme tiredness. If these feelings persist, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a child psychiatrist promptly to pursue a diagnosis and treatment plan. Suicidal thoughts warrant immediate professional intervention.
As a trusted adult and child psychiatrist in Baton Rouge, LA, PTI helps diagnose people of all ages who are facing challenges with their mental health. Through medication and referrals for other treatments, these caring professionals are highly experienced in helping teenagers get back on track. See their services for children and adolescents online or call (225) 751-5412 to schedule an appointment.