Mood Disorders


Mood affects our persistent emotional state.

Generally speaking, when we’re talking about how we feel in relationship to mood, it has to do with how we feel from an emotional perspective, on the spectrum of sadness and joy. Some people may even describe or understand it as a general fluctuation of feeling down and lacking energy to having an elevated or irritable mood with an abnormal amount of energy. Some people report that they almost always feel depressed, sad, empty, or hopeless. Sometimes people experience problems with anger or rage.

Our mood can become disordered if it gets to a point where it is disruptive to areas of our lives for a particular length of time or if it causes us such disruption that it actually results in harm to self or others. Mood disorders can be very challenging to regulate and for some people, these disorders can become debilitating and require medication in combination with psychotherapy.

a woman covering her face with her hands as she looks to be in discomfort. Misty and dull background

Mood Disorders are the Second Most Common Mental Illness in the United States [1]

If you have struggled with a mood disorder such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder or some other type of mood disorder, you are not alone.

Mood disorders can take on many forms, but depression is typically a major part of these disorders, so it’s important to understand that depression begins as an unconscious psychological conflict, which results in anger. Sigmund Freud described depression as anger turned inwards.[2] Understanding this basic concept can also help you to accept the antidote to anger when we discuss your options for treatment.

For your reference, there are several different types of mood disorders as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR), but the American Psychiatric Association separates them into two categories. One category is titled Bipolar and Related Disorders and the other category is titled Depressive Disorders.

Although there are other mood disorders defined in the DSM-5-TR, the most common include:

Bipolar Disorder I and II

Both disorders include manic episodes where the mood and behaviors are drastically different than normal and include changes such as unusual energy, activity or sleep patterns. Major depressive episodes are also present.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Lasting for at least two years (one year for children), there have been numerous episodes of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms that do not meet the criteria for either a hypomanic episode or a depressive episode.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

Recurrent temper outburst that are grossly out of proportion in intensity or duration to the situation or provocation and inconsistent with developmental level, which have lasted for at least twelve months without a period of three or more consecutive months without such behavior within that period. Diagnosis should not be made prior to the age of 6 years old or after the age of 18 years old.

Major Depressive Disorder

General feeling of depression lasting most days for at least two weeks, some other symptoms may include diminished interest or pleasure, change in weight, appetite and sleep patterns, fatigue, and feeling of worthlessness.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

Persistent depressed mood for most of the day, for more days than not, for at least two years (one year for children and adolescents and may be characterized by irritable mood).

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Marked changes in mood in the final week prior to the onset of a woman’s menstrual cycle, which starts to improve within a few days after the onset of the cycle, and become minimal or absent in the week following the menstrual cycle.

Substance/Medication-Induced Disorder (Bipolar and Related or Depressive)

Clinical symptoms of the other disorders, however history, physical examination, or laboratory findings indicate that the substance or medication intoxication or withdrawal is the cause.

Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition (Bipolar and Related or Depressive)

Clinical symptoms of the other disorders, however history, physical examination or other findings indicate that the medical condition is the cause.

Note: While some people do benefit from medications and some diagnoses may even require medication, psychotherapy should be part of the treatment. Medications do not cure; they only suppress the symptoms so that a person may feel more able to tolerate the hard work of psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy for Mood Disorders

If you are committed to the therapeutic process and willing to acknowledge how your mood is having an effect on your ability to function to your full capacity in areas of your life that are important to you, psychotherapy from a therapist with my background and training can be very effective. While some people who experience a mood disorder have a general idea about when they started to feel depressed or had trouble with their mood, many people do not understand the complex unconscious psychological conflicts that started this general feeling and even why they may cling to it.

Psychotherapy techniques can help you to understand this and put new language and meaning to things that you were not able to do on your own, so that you can begin to believe that you do not have to continue to feel hopeless. You can learn how to have command authority over your body and make choices about what to do in any given moment, so that when your mood begins to change, your mood no longer gets to take control of you.

My approach to treatment is unique and specific based on your individualized needs and goals. Short-term and longer-term treatment options are available, and we can discuss the evidence for each method. For clients who desire spirituality in their treatment, we can talk about that as part of your initial consultation and how that may be integrated into your treatment. I have extensive experience helping people with all types of anger, depression, and other mood disorders, including those that are not specifically mentioned in the DSM-5-TR. [3]


[1] NAMI (2023). Mental Health By the Numbers, Last updated June 2022. Retrieved on January 15, 2023 from https://www.nami.org/mhstats

[2] Friedrich Nietzshe was a German philosopher who, during the 1880s said, “No one blames themselves without a secret wish for vengeance.” Freud borrowed this for his theory of depression, which others have further studied and expanded upon the depth of what causes a person to be depressed and to stay stuck in their depression, as well as the best way to treat depression and the underlying cause.

[3] Ire Matrem Labrosa (hidden anger at the mother) is a psychoanalytic diagnosis that I have given a name, which has not been formally recognized in the DSM, which describes the unconscious consequences of what is known as a ‘wire-monkey’ mother, or even worse, a mother who was hostile and cruel, which was recently recognized by, Richmond, R. (1997-2023). Finding love when it was missing in childhood. Catholic Psychology in association with A Guide to Psychology and its Practice. Retrieved on July 23, 2023, from https://chastitysf.com/q_findinglove.htm. Copyright © 1997-2023 Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. Reproduced with adaptations with permission by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. The material is copyrighted and may not be reproduced by any means. Ira Patrem Labrosa (hidden anger at the father) is a psychoanalytic diagnosis, which describes the unconscious consequences of the lack of the father, either physically or symbolically. The collection of psychiatric symptoms is numerous. This is an anger at the father that so cloaks itself in invisibility that a person afflicted with it will deny that it even exists. Richmond, R. (1997-2023). The Father. Catholic Psychology in association with A Guide to Psychology and its Practice. Retrieved January 14, 2023, from https://chastitysf.com/father.htm. Copyright © 1997-2023 Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. Reproduced and adapted with permission by, Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. The material is copyrighted and may not be reproduced by any means.

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