Medicine and Treatment for Mood Disorder in Murfreesboro, TN

I’m Dr. Helton.

I started practicing medicine in the year 2000, and over the past 19 years have treated and served over 15,000 patients. I’m the current president of the Middle Tennessee chapter of Family Physicians, an Executive board member of the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians and Chairman of St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital Family Medicine Department.

Helton Family Medicine, a Murfreesboro family doctor’s office helps individuals who are struggling with mood disorder find long-term recovery. Located in Murfreesboro, TN, Helton Family is a local leader in mental health care.

Mood disorders are a category of illnesses that describe a serious change in mood. 

Though many different subtypes are recognized, three major states of mood disorders exist: depressive, manic, and bipolar. Major depressive disorder is characterized by overall depressed mood. Elevated moods are characterized by mania or hypomania. The cycling between both depressed and manic moods is characteristic of bipolar mood disorders. In addition to type and subtype of mood, these disorders also vary in intensity and severity. For example, dysthymic disorder is a lesser form of major depression and cyclothymic disorder is recognized as a similar, but less severe form of bipolar disorder.

Some examples of mood disorders include:

  • Major depressive disorder — prolonged and persistent periods of extreme sadness
  • Bipolar disorder — also called manic depression or bipolar affective disorder, depression that includes alternating times of depression and mania
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a form of depression most often associated with fewer hours of daylight in the far northern and southern latitudes from late fall to early spring
  • Cyclothymic disorder — a disorder that causes emotional ups and downs that are less extreme than bipolar disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder — mood changes and irritability that occur during the premenstrual phase of a woman’s cycle and go away with the onset of menses
  • Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) — a long-term (chronic) form of depression
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder — a disorder of chronic, severe and persistent irritability in children that often includes frequent temper outbursts that are inconsistent with the child’s developmental age
  • Depression related to medical illness — a persistent depressed mood and a significant loss of pleasure in most or all activities that’s directly related to the physical effects of another medical condition
  • Depression induced by substance use or medication ― depression symptoms that develop during or soon after substance use or withdrawal or after exposure to a medication

Depending on age and the type of mood disorder, a person may have different symptoms of depression. The following are the most common symptoms of a mood disorder:

  • Ongoing sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Feeling inadequate or worthless
  • Excessive guilt
  • Repeating thoughts of death or suicide, wishing to die, or attempting suicide
  • Loss of interest in usual activities or activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Relationship problems
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite and/or weight
  • Decreased energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • A decrease in the ability to make decisions
  • Frequent physical complaints (for example, headache, stomachache, or tiredness) that don’t get better with treatment
  • Running away or threats of running away from home
  • Very sensitive to failure or rejection
  • Irritability, hostility, or aggression

In mood disorders, these feelings are more intense than what a person may normally feel from time to time. It’s also of concern if these feelings continue over time, or interfere with one’s interest in family, friends, community, or work. Any person who expresses thoughts of suicide should get medical help right away.

The symptoms of mood disorders may look like other conditions or mental health problems. Always talk with a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

What causes mood disorders? Researchers and medical professionals do not have a pinpointed answer for this question, but believe both biological and environmental factors are at play. If your family history includes individuals who have been diagnosed with mood disorders, your likelihood of experiencing them, while still low overall, is increased. Traumatic life events are also considered culprits of the onset of mood disorders as well. Mood disorders can negatively impact your work life and school life and intrude on your personal relationships. In some cases, medications and substance abuse can be the cause behind your disorder.

Mood disorders are treated primarily through medications and psychotherapy. Even with treatment though, it is not uncommon for mood disorders to persist throughout a lifetime or to come and go on occasion. Education about mood disorders help individuals suffering from these conditions recognize patterns of behavior and thought that are indicative of a mood disorder resurfacing – and prompt them to seek additional treatment.

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications: are prescribed to individuals coping with mood disorders to alleviate emotional distress. 

Mood Medication: Mood-Stabilizing Drug Options
Depression is typically treated with antidepressant medications. Antidepressants work to restore neurotransmitters that makes the brain function normally. The specifically targeted neurotransmitters are serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. The most commonly prescribed antidepressants for depression are fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil) and escitalopram (Lexapro). These drugs are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Bipolar disorder is first treated with mood-stabilizing medications. The mood stabilizers most commonly prescribed for the illness are lithium, valproic acid (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol), lamotrigine (Lamictal) and oxcarbazepine (Trileptal).

Mood Drugs: Possible Options
Mood drug options include different types of antidepressants. You may be prescribed serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. SNRIs include duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor). Another available antidepressant is bupropion (Wellbutrin), which manipulates dopamine.

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy: is focused on changing thought patterns and behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy is often considered the benchmark therapy treatment for individuals living with mood disorders. It has been found to have significant positive treatment effects, and in some cases, psychotherapy alone is enough to treat a mood disorder.

Some mood disorders, such as bipolar depression, are usually treated with lifelong medication of mood stabilizers combined with psychotherapy.