A mood disorder is a mental health classification as supported in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM V) published by the American Psychiatric Association. Health professionals use this manual to broadly describe all types of mood disorders like Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Clinical Depressive Disorder or Bipolar Disorders. This reference point of a manual is mainly used for adults but implications for teens and children apply. Those implications are not clearly stated though.

What about kids and teens? While the manual can be a base point to use with them it needs to be taken with that grain of salt.  Kids and teens are always growing and changing, rapidly from one stage to the next.  It's challenging as a health professional to keep all of that in perspective when trying to figure out if there is a mood disorder on top of the natural learning and growing that children go through.  This is why most mental health professions should be cautious when diagnosing children with a mood disorder.

I would like to attribute resiliency to the mix. I call resiliency the magic dust to childhood. Resiliency is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties or toughness or to spring back into shape, elasticity.  Welcome to the characteristics of childhood and adolescents.

To those children and adolescents  that have experienced resilience they will soon find that it is a beautiful gift as they get older. Also those that work in mental health professions should give resiliency and those that possess resiliency more credit in full recovery.

Nevertheless, there are those professionals who proceed with a little less caution then should be expected when diagnosing children with a mood disorder. This article is dedicated to the concerned caregiver or parent who is willing to do their own research along with seeking the professional opinion of those in the field of mental health.

The following is a list of mood disorders common in children and teens.  Keep in mind that it's not unusual for a child to have more than one disorder.

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  • ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). The DSM-5 states" ADHD is typically diagnosed as one of the following: Combined, inattentiveness only or Hyperactive or Impulsive." " It is not clear whether more children have ADHD or more children are being diagnosed with ADHD, ADHD is now one of the most common and most studied pediatric conditions.
  • Affective (mood) disorders- Affective disorders are a set of psychiatric disorders, also called mood disorders. The main type of affective disorders are depression and bipolar disorder. The treatment of Affective disorders are psychotherapy and medication. Depression is a medical term that describes on going feelings of extreme sadness and hopelessness. It is more than simply feeling down for a day or two. This feeling lasts up to 6 months before it is diagnosed as Major Depressive Disorders (MDD).
  • Anxiety disorders- a Chronic condition characterized by an excessive and persistent sense of apprehension, with physical symptoms such as sweating, palpitations and feelings of stress.
  • Disruptive behavior disorders- Acting out and showing unwanted behavior towards others. Also Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is when children act out persistently so that this causes serious problems at home, in school, or with peers.
  • Eating disorders- Eating or binging on mass quantities of food/calories in a short period of time, and then purging or eliminating it from the body.
  • Elimination disorders- are disorders that concern the elimination or feces or urine from the body. The causes of these disorders may be medical or psychiatric. The two elimination disorders are Encopresis (unable to eliminate from the bowels) and Enuresis (unable to pee).
  • Schizophrenia- is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling. Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start between ages 16 and 30.
  • Tic disorders- is a problem in which a part of the body moves repeatedly, quickly, suddenly and uncontrollably. The condition, which is sometimes known as multiple tic disorder or tic spectrum disorder is, in most cases also linked to other behaviors, most often OCD and ADD.

What causes mood disorders in teens is not well known. Certain chemicals in the brain and the gut are responsible for positive moods. The relationship of chemical exchange between the brain and gut is called the Micro-biome. The neurotransmitters in the brain controls the brain chemicals that affect ones mood. The chemicals being released from the gut affect the brain as well such as the chemical Seratonin. When the typical sugary, salty and fatty foods are devoured by a ravenous teenager the chemicals that are released from the gut can be a little off balance. So one theory is more times than not Mood Disorders in teens may be caused by a chemical imbalance between the brain and the gut. Besides the normal ups and downs of hormonal changes in the teenager, the teenager's diet might be a big culprit in causing a mood disorder. While encouraging your teenager to eat fresh fruits and vegetables is important, you might need a little help in the form of a natural supplement that helps balance that brain-gut connection. I've done a lot of research of what is out there and available. I've included a link to my favorite one. This natural supplement is made specifically for helping to balance the brain gut connection. I've seen it help mellow out many a hormonal imbalance, without the side-effects of over the counter meds.

If you would like to learn more about it or order some click here.

It varies depending on the type of mental illness, but general symptoms include:

  • Changes in school performance, such as poor grades despite good efforts
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Being unable to deal with daily problems and activities
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • A lot of complaints about physical ailments
  • Defying authority, skipping school, stealing, or damaging property
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Long-lasting negative moods, often with poor appetite and thoughts of death
  • Outbursts of anger often
  • Loss of interest in friends and activities
  • Much more time spent alone
  • Excessive worrying or anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • Nightmares or night terrors that keep happening
  • Ongoing disobedience or aggressive behavior
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Hearing voices or seeing things that aren't there (hallucinations)

Now that you know most of the Mood behaviors for children and adolescents. The treatment of these mood disorders can be cruel from the eyes of a child patient because most children do not know what's going on around them. A lot of the times they simply don't have the capacity to understand. All they know is that they feel bad and sometimes they act differently around other people.

The trick to really getting to know a person and not looking at them as just another child. Getting to know them like a parent or sibling. I have found in this day and age people and parents are just too busy to do anything outside of their "to do" list.  

This is where parents usually turn to mental health therapists for answers.

It is my hope that everyone who has an influence on a child with a perceived mood disorder takes the time to get to know that child.  Model appropriate behavior for a time without being too hasty to diagnose or label. Remember that one day, all too soon, these little souls called children will be adults.  Let's uplift and encourage that next generation to be the best that they can. Every child is unique in their own way, it is the hope that we can all of help them figure out how.