Student Wellness Services

Student Wellness Services

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Mood Disorders

Everyone feels sad from time to time whether it’s because of a loss (e.g., break up with a partner), set-back (e.g., failing a course), or tragedy (e.g., losing a loved one). When someone is suffering from a mood disorder their emotions feel out of control and they experience severe moods that are long lasting, and interfere with their ability to function on a day-to-day basis.

There are 2 main types of mood disorders: depressive disorders (i.e., major depression, post-partum depression, & season affective disorder) & bipolar disorder.

What Causes Clinical Depression?

There isn’t a single cause of depression but instead it’s usually a combination of many different biological, psychological, and social factors including:

  • Gender
  • Family history
  • Childhood trauma (e.g., abuse or neglect)
  • Harassment, bullying, discrimination, or oppression
  • Distressing event (e.g., death of a loved one, loss of job, etc.)
  • Another mental disorder (e.g., anxiety disorder)
  • Changes in hormone levels
  • Lack of exposure to bright light in winter months
  • Substance-use problem (e.g., alcohol, drugs)

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

While it’s not totally understand what causes bipolar disorder, it’s believed to be influenced by the following factors:

  • Genetic factors
  • Brain chemical imbalance
  • Stress
  • Medications