Affective Disorders Can Be Treated

Affective Disorders Can Be Treated

Dr. Ray Kamoo, PhD, LP

Affective disorders, often referred to as mood disorders, can significantly impact a person’s emotional state. They include depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. Their prevalence numbers are in the millions worldwide. Understanding these conditions is crucial for fostering empathy, initiating meaningful conversations, and promoting mental health awareness. 

Affective disorders are characterized by persistent or recurring abnormal mood states; they can cause significant distress and disruptions in daily functioning. The most common types include major depressive disorder, dysthymia (persistent mild depression), bipolar disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. These disorders can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic background.

Their exact causes can be a combination of genetic, environmental, and biological factors. Life events like trauma, stress, and loss can play a significant role in triggering their onset. Some common signs include persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, or excessive guilt, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, difficulty concentrating, and a decreased energy level. For bipolar disorder, individuals may experience alternating episodes of extreme high energy and euphoria (manic episodes) or intense sadness and hopelessness (depressive episodes).

The treatment of affective disorders usually involves a combination of therapeutic interventions, medication, and lifestyle changes. Psychotherapy can help individuals explore their emotions, develop coping strategies, and challenge negative thought patterns. Medications like antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anxiolytics (for anti-anxiety) are often prescribed to help regulate imbalances in brain chemistry. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep can be beneficial.

Support networks play a crucial role in managing affective disorders. Loved ones, friends, and support groups can offer encouragement, understanding, and a sense of community. Practicing self-care activities, engaging in hobbies, and maintaining a daily routine can also help individuals cope with their emotions and reduce the impact of these disorders on their daily lives.

A licensed psychologist with 34 years of experience, Dr. Kamoo is the Clinical Director for Apex Therapy Services.