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Mood Disorder Treatment In Teens and Young Adults

depressed teenage girl

Mood disorders, also known as affective disorders, is an umbrella term that encompasses several different distinct mental health disorders. The specific types of mood disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) includes: bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, major depressive disorder, cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia), disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia). Mood disorders severely impact one’s mood and its related functions. A young person with a mood disorder will likely have erratic mood shifts from extremely low (depressed) to extremely high (manic). The symptoms associated with mood disorders will differ, as they will depend on the individual, as well as the type of mood disorder with which he or she is diagnosed. In order to be properly treated for a mood disorder, a young person must be clinically and accurately diagnosed. 

Is A Mood Disorder The Same As A Personality Disorder?

The short answer is: no, mood disorders and personality disorders are not the same. While there may be several overlapping symptoms, there is a clear difference between mood disorders and personality disorders. The primary difference between them is that mood disorders generally cause periods of emotional highs and/ or lows, and although mood swings are not an uncommon symptom of personality disorders, it is not the is the main symptom. However, a young person that is diagnosed with a personality disorder does not preclude him or her from also being diagnosed with a mood disorder. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for a teen to be diagnosed with a mood disorder in addition to a personality disorder. For example, a teenager with multiple personality disorder can also be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The exact diagnosis, including all co morbid disorders is essential in obtaining proper treatment.


While a means for the prevention of the development of mood disorders remains unknown, early detection and treatment are fundamental to one’s recovery. There are a variety of treatment options available for a young person that is diagnosed with a mood disorder. Each individual will require a somewhat unique treatment plan. Depending on the specific needs of the individual a treatment plan can include a combination of various psychotherapy approaches, family therapy and medication. Medications can help with regulating any chemical imbalances in one’s brain that may contribute to and/ or exacerbate the presence of mood disorder symptoms. In addition to psychotherapy, family therapy and medication, it is important for a teen or young adult diagnosed with a mood disorder to foster healthy daily choices and integrate self-care practices that help to reinforce his or her treatment process. All areas of one’s life can contribute to one’s treatment progress, which is why it is essential to address each area. Maintaining a nutritious diet, developing regular daily exercise habits, obtaining ample nightly sleep, engaging in enjoyable activities and sustaining a healthy social life are all integral to one’s overall treatment and continued success in managing one’s symptoms. 

Psychotherapy can help a young person learn the needed tools, coping mechanisms and life skills to manage his or her symptoms. Learning a wide variety of relaxation techniques can help a young person identify which types resonate that will enable him or her to begin implementing the useful techniques when needed. Psychotherapy is a resource that can provide a young person with a safe emotional space to explore the affects of his or her symptoms, process challenges that may arise, gain a clear understanding of his or her diagnosis, and practice implementing information in a way that is healthy and useful, and analyze areas that may need additional attention for further improvement. 

For Information and Support 

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at or through our contact form.

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