Mood and anxiety disorders are serious mental health conditions that have a considerable impact on a person’s personal and family life, as well as on their ability to function at work or school.
Mood disorders are characterized by periods of extreme mood, whether very low mood (depression), or opposing periods of elevated mood and low mood (bipolar disorder). People with depression feel sad, empty, or hopeless, and lose interest and pleasure in activities, for long periods of time. They are also likely to have cognitive symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating and making decisions. People with bipolar disorder have times when they seem abnormally cheerful and full of energy, which can lead to impulsive and risky behaviors.
Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive, unrealistic worry. People with generalized anxiety disorder, for example, have uncontrollable worries about various everyday things, such as their responsibilities, finances, and health. Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop following a traumatic event, such as exposure to violence or a vehicle accident, and may result in recurring nightmares and flashbacks.
Mood and anxiety disorders are relatively common, and it is not unusual for one person to suffer from multiple disorders. Symptoms differ from person to person but, with treatment, most people are able to return to their normal lives.