There’s a lot to know about mood disorders. Mood disorders are mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Having a Mood Disorder is not a choice, nor is it a sign of weakness. They are real medical conditions, just like heart disease and diabetes, and your chances of having a mood disorder increase if you have a family history with mental illness.
Anxiety is the most common Mood Disorder in Canada affecting 12% of the population. We all experience anxiety from time to time; it’s a natural response to a stressful situation such as writing an exam, driving in bad weather, or going for a job interview. For those with an anxiety disorder, this reaction is much more intense and persists for days, if not months, at a time. Types of anxiety disorders include Panic Disorder, PTSD, OCD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Depression is another common Mood Disorder affecting nearly 3 million Canadians. Depression is more than being sad. Depression affects your thoughts, feelings, physical health and behaviors for weeks at a time, making it difficult to do normal day-to-day activities, which explains why it accounts for 30% of all disability claims recorded at 3 of Canada’s best known companies.
Bipolar Disorder, though less common, is a serious mental illness affecting 3-5% of the population. Those with BD experience intense mood swings from mania (extreme elevated mood) to depression.
It’s important to learn about mood disorders and understand the signs and symptoms because it is likely that in your lifetime, you or someone you know will be affected by one.
But perhaps the most important things to know about Mood Disorders are:
Knowing all of this, it may come as a surprise to learn that only 1 of 4 people living with a Mood Disorder will seek help for their condition. This may be because they are too afraid to talk about it, they may not know where or how to get help, or they may not realize that they’re experiencing a treatable illness. Whatever their reason may be, we hope that this website will be a great resource for them as they begin to understand, recognize, and seek help for their mood disorder.