While many people feel sad or worried at times, people with clinical anxiety and depression suffer from a severe or prolonged mood state that disrupts their daily functioning. Mood disorders tend to run in families and are believed to be associated with imbalances in certain chemicals that carry signals to the brain. Major life stresses – like divorce, chronic school stress, the death of a family member – can alter the natural balance of these chemicals that, in turn, provoke the symptoms of depression or anxiety in people who are susceptible to mood disorders.
Examples of some mood disorders include:
- major depressive disorder, which is also known as clinical depression.
- bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder.
- dysthymic disorder, which is generally thought to be a chronic, low level of depression that persists over a long period of time.
There are also several kinds of anxiety disorders, such as:
- generalized anxiety disorder, which is the most common.
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which involves preoccupying thoughts and repetitive behaviors (think of the TV personality Monk).
- panic attacks.
- social anxiety (agoraphobia).
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A neuropsychological evaluation, including a personalized intervention plan, is the first step in moving forward, developing confidence, improving coping skills, and gaining control over these issues.