Career Development

Mood disorders refer to a category of mental health problems that include all types of depression and bipolar disorder. Mood disorders are sometimes called affective disorders.

During the 1980s, mental health professionals began to recognize symptoms of mood disorders in children and adolescents, as well as adults. However, children and adolescents do not necessarily experience or exhibit the same symptoms as adults. It is more difficult to diagnose mood disorders in children, especially because children are not always able to express how they feel. Today, clinicians and researchers believe that mood disorders in children and adolescents remain one of the most underdiagnosed mental health problems.

What is depression?

We all go through ups and downs in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.

Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.

Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don’t feel sad at all - instead, they feel lifeless, empty and apathetic.

Seek professional help

There are many effective treatments for depression, including therapy, medication, and alternative treatments. Learning about your options will help you decide what measures are most likely to work best for your particular situation and needs.

Do you have an Anxiety Disorder?

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

  • Are you constantly tense, worried or on edge?
  • Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?
  • Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but can’t shake?
  • Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?
  • Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they make you anxious?
  • Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
  • Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?

We all know what anxiety feels like. Our heart pounds before a big presentation or a tough exam. We get butterflies in our stomach during a blind date. We worry and fret over family problems or feel jittery at the prospect of asking the boss for a raise.

Treatment for Anxiety

It’s important to seek help if you’re starting to avoid certain situations or places because you’re afraid of having a panic attack. The good news is that anxiety attacks are highly treatable.

Anxiety disorders respond very well to treatment, often in a relatively short period of time. The specific treatment approach depends on the type of anxiety disorder and it’s severity. In general, most anxiety disorders are treated with behavioural therapy, medication or a combination of the two.

What is Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the name given to the:

  • psychological &
  • physical problems

that can sometimes follow threatening or distressing events, where a real physical threat or severe disempowerment (intense fear, hopelessness or horror) was experienced.

These events could include a major disaster, war, rape, abuse (sexual, physical or emotional), witnessing a violent death or a serious accident, traumatic childbirth or other situations in which a person was very afraid, horrified, helpless, or felt that his or there life was in danger. The trauma can be a single event or a series of events taking place over many months or even years.

PTSD is a normal response to these types of incidents and is quite common. It may affect the person directly involved in a traumatic event or situation and my also develop in the families of those involved in a traumatic event. It could develop in people of all ages, including children. Some people start to use recreational drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism, especially if they have had PTSD or experienced trauma for a long time.

Where can I find help and treatment?

If you have experienced a trauma and have distressing symptoms, your general practitioner (GP) is the best person to see immediately. In the first four weeks after a traumatic event, your general practitioner may inform you that it’s very common to feel like this and not be be alarmed. You may not be offered any treatment at this stage, although your general practitioner may offer you another appointment within one month.

If you do not have a further appointment, you should consult your general practitioner again if you do not feel better. If your symptoms are severe, your general practitioner should offer you treatment straight away. If your general practitioner thinks that you need further treatment, you may be referred to someone skilled who is trained in providing treatment for PTSD, such as a counsellor, community psychiatric nurse, psychologist or psychiatrist.

Ideally you should receive all your treatment from one healthcare professional, who should be appropriately trained in giving the treatment. All healthcare professionals should treat you with respect, sensitivity and understanding, and explain PTSD and its treatment to you simply and clearly.

What is grief?

Grief is a natural response to loss, It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. You may associate grief with the death of a loved one – and this type of loss does often cause the most intense grief. Any loss, however can cause grief, including:

  • A relationship breakup
  • Loss of health
  • Losing a job
  • Loss of financial stability
  • A miscarriage
  • Death of a pet
  • Loss of a cherished dream
  • A loved one’s serious illness
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of safety after a trauma

The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief. However, even subtle losses can lead to grief.

When to seek professional help for grief?

If you recognise any of the symptoms of complicated grief or clinical depression, talk to a mental health professional right away. Left untreated, complicated grief and depression can lead to significant emotional damage, life-threatening health problems and even suicide. Treatment can help you get better.

Contact a grief counsellor or professional therapist if you:

  • Feel like life isn’t worth living
  • Wish you had died with your loved one
  • Blame yourself for the loss or for failing to prevent it
  • Feel numb and disconnected from others for more than a few weeks
  • Are having difficulty trusting others since your loss
  • Are unable to perform your normal daily activities