How are mood disorders treated?

Treatment for mood disorders is aimed at addressing negative feelings, helping you to feel normal, capable, and ready for your daily life. Sometimes, therapy, such as talk therapy or psychotherapy, may help you to cope with difficult events and may be enough to treat your mood disorder. In other cases, however, medication may be prescribed to correct a chemical imbalance. In very severe cases, other therapies, such as electroconvulsive therapy, may be used.

Common treatments for mood disorders

Common treatments of mood disorders include:

  • Antidepressant medications to improve moods
  • Antipsychotic medications if indicated to treat disordered thought patterns and altered perceptions
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy to work on thought patterns and behavior
  • Family therapy to help develop support and understanding
  • Group therapy
  • Hospitalization for coexisting medical problems, serious complications, severe disorders, or substance abuse
  • Identification and treatment of coexisting conditions
  • Individual therapy
  • Mood-stabilizing medications
  • Psychodynamic therapy to work on discovering and understanding past issues and their relationship to current thoughts and behaviors
  • Support groups

Other treatments for mood disorders

Mood disorders that do not respond to medication and psychotherapy may require other treatments including:

  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Light therapy, in cases of seasonal affective disorder
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

What you can do to improve your mood disorders

In addition to following the treatment plan determined by your health care providers, you may be able to improve your mood disorder by:

  • Engaging in social activities
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Talking to a trusted person about your mood disorder and everyday stress

Complementary treatments

Some complementary treatments may help some people to better deal with mood disorders. These treatments, sometimes referred to as alternative therapies, are used in conjunction with traditional medical treatments. Complementary treatments are not meant to substitute for full medical care.

Complementary treatments may include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Yoga

What are the potential complications of mood disorders?

Mood disorders can change the way you react to everyday stress or major life events. Mood disorders can affect almost every aspect of your life. Complications of untreated or poorly controlled mood disorders can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of mood disorders include:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Attempted suicide
  • Drug abuse
  • Harm to self or others
  • Increased risk of illness or infection


  1. Major depression. PubMed Health.
  2. Mental and behavioral health care. Ohio State University Medical Center.

What are mood disorders?

Mood disorders, or affective disorders, are mental health problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, and mania. Mood disorders can occur in anyone, including children. The cause of mood disorders is not fully understood, but an imbalance in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters is likely to play a role. ... Read more about mood disordersintroduction


What are the symptoms of mood disorders?

Symptoms of mood disorders are related to your feelings. Often, mood disorders will start out as mild feelings of sadness or inadequacy. Mild negative feelings are normal, but if these feelings continue for a long time or are very intense, you may have a mood disorder.

Common symptoms of mood disorders

You may experience mood disorder symptoms daily or just once in a wh... Read more about mood disorderssymptoms


What causes mood disorders?

The exact cause of many mood disorders is not known. Most mood disorders are linked to chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters, which regulate moods, feelings and behavior. It is thought that changes in the levels of these neurotransmitters can lead to mood disorders. In some cases, it appears that heredity may contribute to mood disorders, though environment also plays a major role. Read more about mood disorderscauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 7, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Mental Health and Behavior