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Mood Disorders: Signs and Symptoms to Note


Mood Disorders: Signs and Symptoms to Note


It is normal for almost everyone to experience mood changes such as brief periods of sadness or increased energy. There are, however, approximately 20.9 million American adults, or about 9.5 percent of the American population aged 18 and above in a given year, who experience disturbances in their mood that cannot be considered normal. This significant portion of the population is suffering from what is clinically referred to as “mood disorders.”


The Medical Context of “Mood”

For the layman, the term “mood” simply refers to feelings at any given time, such as being happy or sad. In the clinical setting, it is used to describe a continuing emotional state that affects how an individual sees the world.

There are two primary types of moods: depression and mania. Most mood disorders belong to the broad categories of depressive disorders and bipolar disorders (also known as manic depressive disorders). The term “bipolar” refers to mood fluctuations from one pole to the other. People with a bipolar mood disorder undergo depressive and manic episodes. Anyone, including children, can have any form of mood imbalance.


Identifying the Causes of Mood Disorders

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of mood disorders. A combination of environmental, genetic, biochemical, and psychological factors is thought to cause depression and bipolar depression. An imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain is also theorized to result in depression. Since these conditions tend to be hereditary, researchers are still trying to discover genes that contribute to the risk of developing them.


Notable Emotional Symptoms of Mood Disorders

The emotional symptoms of mood disorders vary from person to person. Common signs that an individual is experiencing a depressive mood include feelings of hopelessness or pessimism, lethargy, irritability, unyielding anxiety, persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness, and loss of interest in activities that used to be pleasurable. In severe cases, a person with mood disorder may contemplate or engage in self-harming activities in an attempt to escape their emotional pain.

Individuals in a manic mood are usually euphoric and they feel grandiose. They have prolonged periods of elation, and are unusually enthusiastic and very irritable. They also tend to demonstrate risky or hedonistic behavior, such as splurging on a shopping binge or engaging in promiscuous activities.


Physical Symptoms to Watch Out For

Like the emotional symptoms, the physical signs vary among people with mood disorders. Some telltale signs include fatigue or low energy, body pains, and loss of appetite. There may be a change in sleeping pattern, in which the individual either sleeps excessively or struggles with insomnia. A person with a mood disorder may have difficulty remembering details, lack concentration, and easily get distracted. Individuals with elevated moods may experience racing thoughts, talk rapidly, and feel heightened arousal.


The Debilitating Effects of Mood Disorders

Mood disorders can significantly interfere in your life in more ways than one. They can impair normal functioning in multiple settings, including home, work, and relationships.

In severe cases, psychotic features may be present, such as episodes of being disconnected with reality. The red flags of psychosis often include delusions that can be as bizarre as believing outside forces are manipulating the mind. They may also include hallucinations, usually in auditory manifestations, like voices distinct from the person’s own thoughts.

When symptoms are left untreated, they may become severe enough to require hospitalization to ensure the safety of the person with the mood disorder and that of others. The condition is accompanied by a risk of death, injury, or trauma, usually arising from reckless and dangerous behavior.


Shifting Your Mood for a Better Life

Most types of mood disorders are treatable. Diagnosis and treatment differ from one case to another. For example, an acute and brief episode of major depressive disorder may be resolved in a short period of time. Other types, however, may take months or years of ongoing treatment. It is important to be properly diagnosed by a competent psychological and behavioral health professional to further explore the potential causes and the treatment.

There’s no need to live in isolation and suffer from a mood disorder. There is help available from Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NCTo make the connection, just call us and we will match you with an independently contracted counselor who has expertise and training in treating mood disturbances such as depression and bipolar disorder. Early intervention makes it easier to address the underlying issues, gain control of your moods, and live a healthy, productive life once again. Book an appointment now!

Confidential / Private Sessions

Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC contracts with Licensed professional counselors/therapists/psychologists who provide a friendly, caring, and relaxed atmosphere in the Southern Pines/Pinehurst/Aberdeen/Raeford area. These independently contracted therapists/counselors assist adult individuals, couples, families, and children with resolving issues and getting back to enjoying their lives. Whether you are non-military or military, the independently contracted therapists with Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC are able and happy to assist you!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC

Counties: Moore county, NC, Lee County, NC, Montgomery County, NC, Richmond County, NC, Randolph County, NC, Chatham County, NC

Cities: Southern Pines NC, Pinehurst NC, Aberdeen NC, Taylortown NC, Pinebluff NC, West End NC, Seven Lakes NC, Eagle Springs NC, Ashley Heights NC, Ashmont NC, Five Points NC, Wind Blow NC, Jackson Springs NC, Whispering Pines NC, Vass NC, Cameron NC, Carthage NC, Eastwood NC, Lakeview NC, Narrow Ridge NC, Robbins NC, Roseland NC, Tramway NC, Troy NC, Zion Grove NC, Biscoe NC

We are located at:

Carolina Counseling Services - Southern Pines, NC
780 NW Broad St. Suite 210
Southern Pines, NC 28387

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

  • Call: (910) 725-6336 (Fastest way to schedule)
  • Text: (910) 308-3291 (Reply will be via phone)
  • Click here and use our Contact Form (You must include your phone number, because replies will only be made by telephone to ensure security/privacy)
  • Call or Text for your New Patient Appointment Anytime!
  • Appointment scheduling for NEW clients: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:15pm
  • New client appts may be scheduled when therapists have openings, which may include daytime, evenings and weekends.
  • Established/Standing Appointments are made directly with your therapist!
  • Referrals: MOST beneficiaries do NOT need a Referral!

Choose your Therapist

  • Kristin Vernon, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Adolescents, Couples, Families, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem Issues, Grief and Loss, Communication Skills, Divorce, Adjustment Disorders, Mood Disorders, Coping Skills, Parenting, Family Conflict, Marital Conflict, Relationship Issues
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, cash
    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Gretchen Montesanto, MA, LPC, NCC

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Teens, Individuals, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem Issues, Grief and Loss, Stress, LGBT, Adjustment Disorder, Motivation, Life Transitions, Mood Disorders, Military Spouses

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare and Cash
    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Jaime J. Fitzpatrick MS, LPCS, LCAS

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Adults, Families and Couples, Anxiety, PTSD, Trauma and Abuse Recovery, Depression, Military Life Issues, Adjustment Disorder, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused Therapy, Addictions, Emotional Disturbance, Coping Skills, Impulsivity, Grief and Loss, Self-Esteem
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Kelly ErkenBrack, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Children, Teens, Adults, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, Mood Disorders, Trauma, Adjustments and Life Transitions, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting, Relationship Concerns, Self Esteem
    Insurance: BCBS, Medicare,  Tricare Prime/Select and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Pinehurst, NC and Southern Pines, NC
  • Kathryn Wiens, PsyD. HSP-P

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Adult, Individuals, Couples and Families.
    Insurance: BCBS, Medicare, Tricare Prime/Select, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Pinehurst, NC and Southern Pines, NC
  • Tracy Goldberg, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Individuals, Adolescents, Adults, Couples, Children and Families. Attention Deficit, Oppositional Defiance, Behavioral Issues, Peer Relationships, Family Conflict, Depression, Anxiety, Parenting Anxiety, ADHD, Self-Esteem Issues, Family Conflict/Divorce, Marriage Counseling, Adjustment Disorders, Relationship Issues, Grief and Loss, Communication Skills, Behavioral Issues, Coping Skills, Mood Disorders, Parent Skill Building, Christian Counseling upon request
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, Cash, HRA and FSA accepted

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Robin Caswell, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 5+), Individuals, Adults, Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Loss, ADHD, ODD, Trauma/PTSD, LGBTQ, Self-Harm, Military Family Life, Mood Disorders, OCD, Phobias
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC