It can be difficult to distinguish between mood and personality disorders. They often have overlapping and co-occurring symptoms. However, understanding the difference between mood and personality disorders can help inform treatment and provide better outcomes.
What is a Mood Disorder
Moods are shifting emotional responses to events, situations, thoughts, or experiences. It is normal to experience a change in mood depending on the situation. However, when emotional states like happiness or sadness are experienced in the extreme, it may be a sign of a mood disorder. Mood disorders change a person’s relationship to their feelings and may require mood disorder treatment.
Symptoms of Mood Disorder
When a person experiences extreme happiness, extreme sadness or both moods for several weeks or longer, it is evidence of a mood disorder. These disorders can affect a person’s behavior resulting in an inability to handle day-to-day activities, like work or school. The symptoms of mood disorder vary depending on the type of disorder someone is suffering from. Examples of mood disorder symptoms may include:
- Rapid changes in mood with no apparent cause
- Engaging in reckless and unsafe behaviors
- Inability to sleep or sleeping excessively
- Weight gain or weight loss as a result of appetite changes
- Debilitating feelings of sadness
- Periods of extreme energy
- Decline or increase in self-esteem
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
Types of Mood Disorders
There are several types of mood disorders, such as: dysthymia, health-related mood disorder, and substance-induced mood disorder. Other types of commonly diagnosed mood disorders are bipolar disorder and depression.
Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder is a life-long mental health disorder that brings extreme high and low moods, changes in sleep, energy, behavior, and thought patters. Bipolar disorder symptoms can vary in intensity and duration, but have an effect on a person’s ability to perform daily activities. There are four types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic, and other.
Depression: Depression, usually diagnosed as major depressive disorder, is one of the most common mental health disorders. This serious condition affects the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. While depression is normal — especially after stressful major life events, like the death of a loved one — depression that is persistent and lasts after the event is not. Depression can seriously impact a person’s ability to live a full and meaningful life.
There are several types of depression, varying in effect and intensity. These include:
- Postpartum depression
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)
- Psychotic depression
- Depression related to substance abuse or chronic medical condition
What is a Personality Disorder
Personality disorders are long-term changes in patterns of behavior that are significantly different than what is expected. Additionally, the inner life of a person with personality disorder can differ from reality in impactful ways. Personality disorders generally develop in adolescence or early adulthood and can have an affect on the ability to function.
Symptoms of Personality Disorder
The symptoms of personality disorders can vary depending on the person and the type of disorder they are struggling with. Examples of personality disorder symptoms include:
- Lack of healthy boundaries
- Believing that others are out to harm you (paranoia)
- Being suspicious of others
- Lack of interest in personal, romantic, or professional relationships
- Placing an unhealthy focus on relationships
- Impulsive and risky behaviors
- Fragile self-esteem
- Fear of abandonment
- Lack of remorse for behaviors
Types of Personality Disorders
There are many types of personality disorders, and they are often difficult to distinguish from each other. Some types of personality disorders are: antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and avoidant personality disorder. Other disorders are:
Borderline Personality Disorder: People with borderline personality disorder experience a great deal of difficulty sustaining and engaging in meaningful relationships. The symptoms of BPD may include instances of self-harm, unstable moods, and the tendency to view people as either wholly good or bad. Additionally, people with BPD may also exhibit chaotic behavior, fear of abandonment, and emotional instability.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious mental health condition that is marked by obsessive thoughts coupled with repetitious behavior. People with this disorder may feel increasing anxiety if they do not engage in their ritual behaviors. The needs to relieve the anxiety from OCD can severely interfere with an ability to function and participate in day-to-day life.
What is the Difference Between Mood and Personality Disorders
Mood and personality disorders are distinct from each other in affect and symptom presentation. The primary feature of a mood disorder are rapid or wildly changing moods. While personality disorders may present with mood swings, the frequency and intensity of the swings is a defining feature of mood disorders.
Personality disorders generally effect behavior, and may develop as a result of a mood disorder, though the reverse is not usually the case. Additionally if the mood disorder problems have been resolved, but symptoms still persist, this is consider a key indicator of a personality disorder.
Mood and Personality Disorder Treatment in West Palm Beach
At Neuroscience Institute, our multidisciplinary team of mood and personality disorder treatment specialists can help you reclaim and and rediscover your life. Using cutting-edge technology and evidence-based treatment, our team ensures each person that we treat receives personal individualized care. If you or someone you love is struggling with a mood or personality disorder, learn more about our treatment options or call us now at 561-578-8585.