Mood Disorders

It is difficult to watch television without seeing pharmaceutical advertisements for various medications purporting to treat depression, bipolar disorder, and related symptoms. Most of us can relate to the commercials, as we have experienced moments of low mood, sadness, low self-esteem, etc. What differentiates a mood disorder from a ‘bad day’ is the pervasiveness of the symptoms, their intensity level, and their resulting impairment in the significant areas of a person’s life (e.g. personal, family, work, etc).

At present time, we do not know the exact ‘causes’ of such disorders. However, that may be related to the fact that they could result from a combination of factors. Many researches endorse the Biopsychosocial Model which claims that biological, psychological, and social factors all play a central role in human functioning. This means a person may exhibit depression due to a genetic predisposition, self-critical thinking patterns, and financial stress. It is a result of a combination of factors--not one identifiable reason.

What has proven helpful is for people to recognize factors that they can influence in order to mediate the effects of the other features outside of their control. For instance, research supports that when people identify and alter negative, extreme thinking patterns, their mood tends to improve. Exercise has also repeatedly been shown to reduce the severity of depression and anxiety related symptoms and can be used as a preventative strategy to maintain a stable mood.

The recommended books below help provide insight into the many factors that may contribute to mood disorders, as well as offer exercises that can help teach new patterns of thinking, behaving, coping and ultimately, feeling.