Emotions are a healthy way to express how a person feels about an event or situation. But, emotions can become problematic when they are erratic, severely elevated or diminished for long periods of time. Erratic or dramatic swings in emotions can sometimes be an indication of a mood disorder.
The most common mood disorders are depression and bipolar disorder. According to a 2005 National Comorbidity Survey-Replication Study, nearly 10% of Americans aged 18 and older suffer from a mood disorder. Mood disorders can have a significant impact on relationships, and depending on the severity, may call for one or both partners to seek help from a mood treatment center.
Mood Disorder Symptoms
You have may have noticed lately that your spouse has become withdrawn, expresses a lack of interest, has trouble connecting or concentrating, and has become irritable and/or aggressive. These are common mood disorder symptoms. They generally do not promote intimacy in relationships and, in fact, often make intimacy difficult to achieve. The inability to maintain closeness can create a cycle of negative conflict and stress within your marriage. Programs led by mental health professionals at a mood treatment center can offer help and support if you are experiencing relationship difficulties because of your spouse’s mood-related symptoms.
General signs of depression include five or more the following symptoms that last more than two weeks and interfere with work, school family or other interpersonal relationships:
- Feelings of sadness
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities once found enjoyable
- Loss of energy
- Irritability, aggressiveness, anxiety
- Loss of focus or ability to concentrate
- Unexplained general pain
- Sleepiness or sleeplessness
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Thoughts of suicide or death
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is characterized by wide mood swings from lows on the depressive side, to highs on the manic side. While symptoms of bipolar disorder are the same as major or minor depression on the depressive side of the scale, they are very different on the manic side. The general symptoms of mania, or the highs associated with bipolar disorder include:
- Heightened mood
- Extreme increase in energy as well as physical and mental activity
- Racing thoughts and speech
- Excessive self-confidence and optimism, or grandiose delusions
- Impulsiveness or reckless behavior
- Increased irritability or aggressiveness
- Decreased need for sleep without signs of fatigue
- Hallucinations or delusions
Men and women tend to display symptoms differently, so it is important to pay attention to gender variances when trying to figure out if your spouse might need mood treatment.
Men tend to have more outward-focused depression symptoms such as:
- Anger, often shown by excessive irritability and aggressiveness, hypersensitivity to criticism, road rage, and even violence
- Physical pain, which usually manifests as general pain or back pain and headache
- Reckless behavior like substance abuse, hyper sexuality, and other high-risk behavior
Women tend to have more inward-focused depression symptoms such as:
- Sadness displayed by episodes of prolonged crying
- Withdrawal of intimacy and sexuality
- Symptoms related to post-partum depression
When Is Mood Treatment Necessary?
You may wish to seek help from a mood treatment center if your spouse has exhibited any symptoms of mood disorder that are having an effect on you or your marriage. Understanding when treatment might become necessary will depend on the individual, the severity of their symptoms and the resulting level of relationship dysfunction. It is important to remember that depression that lasts longer than two weeks and interferes with interpersonal relationships and life functions, will not go away on its own. Medical intervention is generally necessary to ensure depression or another mood disorder is treated properly and the root causes are addressed.
https://report.nih.gov/NIHfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=48 – Mood Disorders
http://www.psychiatriapolska.pl/uploads/images/PP_2_2014/LojkoENGverPsychiatrPol2014v48i2.pdf – Bipolar and related disorders and depressive disorders in DSM-5
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3835154/ – Pain Interference and Incident Mood, Anxiety, and Substance-Use Disorders: Findings from a Representative Sample of Men and Women in the General Population
http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.162.11.2116 – Risk Factors for Suicide Completion in Major Depression: A Case-Control Study of Impulsive and Aggressive Behaviors in Men