We all feel changes in our mood very frequently. Whenever there is a bad situation or some stress is present in our lives, we feel sad and gloomy. In contrast, if we get any good news, we start feeling very happy and excited. Sometimes we get irritated in certain situations and at other times, we feel indifferent. These all are normal human emotions which we experience in our routine lives. But when these emotions don’t remain under our control or they persist in the same manner for a long duration or if they start hampering our daily life, we call them Mood Disorders.

As the name suggests, there are two poles of symptoms. During a certain period of the year, the afflicted person would remain morbidly cheerful. The person would appear very excited with high levels of activities. He would not get exhausted despite the level of activity he is doing. He would also not feel the need to sleep and would maintain the level of activity despite the lack of sleep. He would think of being able to do things or plan things which are beyond his capabilities. He would also speak continuously and would get irritated if any of the activity is hampered.

During other times, the same person would feel so sad that he would not be able to carry out his routine activities and his responsibilities. He would find his life aimless and find everyone surrounding him to be of no help in his gloominess. The life would appear so hopeless that ending own life starts appearing a better option. All the enjoyable activities would start seeming loathsome.

There would be times when the person would be completely fine and would carry on the life adequately. But as soon as the episodes occur, their life would appear disrupted. Generally the illness starts from 10-30 years of age. If proper treatment is not provided, the episodes would keep appearing repeatedly for whole life. As the age progresses, the illness gets more serious.

In the end, I want to convey that this problem is pretty common in the general population. The main concern is that it is very frequently ignored and thus progress uncontrollably. Even if coming to attention, the person having this problem doesn’t get proper treatment. So, if we want to help our society, our friends and relatives, we must understand that this is a REAL DISORDER and POTENTIALLY CURABLE. What is needed is just proper recognition and treatment by professionals trained to manage this illness.

Dr. Ankit Chaudhary

MBBS, MD (Psychiatry)