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What is Problematic about Mood Problems? Dysthymia, Bipolar Disorder, and Major Depression

Mood Disorders & Impact on Physical Health

Understanding mood problems and disorders and the importance of self-care and awareness. – West Chester, Allentown, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Newark, Wilmington, and Milford, Delaware based Telehealth Counselor- Therapist Paula Tropiano, LPC, LCMH.

When we think of mood problems, we often think of low energy, negative thinking, sadness, and a tendency to isolate. However, mood problems are not just “mental” or “emotional.” According to the World Health Organization (September 2013 report), the amount of damage untreated mood disorders takes a more significant toll on health than chronic angina, arthritis, asthma, or diabetes. A growing body of research also indicates that mood disorders trigger certain diseases: chronic pain, acid reflux, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and other problems. Mood disorders put more pressure on the body and create more internal stress. Mood issues are not just about being “down” or unmotivated; they can be very physical and require medical attention.

People who are seeking counseling are often looking for relief from mood disorder symptoms. They are trying to regain or boost their mental, emotional, and physical energy. For the person suffering the energy loss, it can feel that the mood shifted suddenly or gradually worsened until they could take no more and sought help. However, stress has been building over time, whether from physical illness, significant change, loss, or unresolved difficulties from the past. We can often identify that the mood issue has been operating in cycles; however, they can go unnoticed. Changes in a person’s life can prompt a shift in mood and energy – Those with mood issues may likely experience the effects of changes all the more.

Seasonal Change and Impact on Mood and Energy

The change of seasons can impact mood and energy as well. As we move into the summer months of warmer temperatures, longer days with more sunlight, and perhaps a slower pace of daily life, those with mood problems may experience some relief. However, intense heat and humidity may impact some people. Then, as we move from summer into autumn, fatigue is common as sunlight decreases and days become shorter – This can be a difficult mood-wise. For those with cyclical mood issues and seasonal depression seasonal transitions tend to be challenging. Our bodies are rallying to accommodate this significant change.

As a behavior therapist working with clients with mood problems, preparation for change often needs improvement. The fallout of lack of preparation can make for unanticipated suffering when mood cycles occur. In addition, the internal pressure, change in energy either high or low, rapid thoughts, sleep disturbance, irritability, that tends to come with mood disorders, can prompt self-defeating and unhealthy behaviors.

Structure and self-care are necessary staples. First and foremost, following medical directives – taking medications as prescribed (being willing to do so) and treating all health issues, as well as eating healthily, resting and getting enough sleep, movement, fresh air, and recreation on a routine basis. And, of course, moving forward, one breath at a time.

Creating the ongoing – daily conditions to be safe, healthy, and stable is critical in living and even thriving with a mood disorder. It’s those habits and the skills to navigate life that make for resilience and lessen lessen the cycles and distress that tend to come along with mood disorders.

I’m a collaborative, skills-based counselor. I work with adult clients to increase their awareness, build the skills and resources they need to be more resilient and stress-hardy, and better manage themselves, their relationships, and problems more effectively.

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