For those living with a mood disorder, managing day-to-day life can be an intense struggle. But these six coping strategies can make life more manageable.
For those living with a mood disorder, just coping with day-to-day life can feel like more of a challenge than they are capable of dealing with. Mood swings, manic episodes and bouts of crippling depression can be too much to cope with, resulting in feelings of hopelessness and desperation.
To make matters even worse, there is a stigma attached to discussing and treating mental health problems like mood disorders. At The Cabin Dhaka, we have seen over and again how reluctant our clients can be to even acknowledge that they suffer from a diagnosable mood disorder. But for those who are prepared to confront the issue face to face, a healthier, happier and more stable way of life emerges. This transformation is beautiful to witness.
With that in mind, we offer some insight into how you can learn to cope with a mood disorder. As you will see, getting treatment for your mood disorder, making a few lifestyle changes and learning to modulate certain thought patterns really can make a difference.
What Is a Mood Disorder?
Also known as affective disorder, a mood disorder affects a person’s attitudes and moods. When someone suffers from an affective disorder, they may find themselves at one or both ends of the spectrum. In some cases, their mood may escalate to the point of mania. In others, their feelings and emotions may sink into the clinical depression range. It is also possible for both of these states to be experienced in succession.
Here are a few of the main types of mood disorders:
- Major depression
- Minor depression (dysthymia)
- Bipolar disorder
In addition to the above, there are other mental health conditions that also lead to extreme changes in mood or emotional states. Only a qualified mental health professional will be able to accurately diagnose the type and severity of a mood disorder.
6 Tips to Help You Cope with an Affective Disorder
With the proper coping strategies, it is possible for a person who suffers from a mood disorder to live happily. Here are some tips that can help make life more manageable:
1. Make a Plan with a Professional Treatment Provider.
This is probably the single most important thing that you can do to help cope with a mood disorder. There are several types of mood disorders, and some may require medication in order to become more manageable and for therapy to be effective. Others will be much easier to cope with and overcome under the guidance and supervision of a mental health professional.
2. Keep Track of Your Moods.
People who suffer from a mood disorder may benefit from keeping a written log of their moods and emotions. Doing so can help you achieve a greater understanding of their emotional shifts. In the process, they may also notice specific patterns in their moods or even triggers that can lead to mood changes.
3. Root Out Unhealthy Thought Patterns.
It is common for those who suffer from mood disorders to view the world through a negative lens. This could lead to black-and-white thinking patterns, negative bias, overgeneralisation or exaggeration of circumstances. And any of these can serve to reinforce mood disorders.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet to Minimise Mood Fluctuations.
The food that you eat has a profound effect on your body and how it operates. Indeed, a poor diet can exacerbate any health issues – and mental health is no different. In light of this, it is important for those who are predisposed to mood disorders to be mindful of what they eat. There is plenty of research to back this up. One often-cited study in Spain that looked at the diets of 10,000 people found that those who consumed a Mediterranean diet were 50 per cent less likely to develop depression or anxiety. Other studies have found that a higher intake of nutrients correlates positively with better mental health in patients with mood disorders. With that in mind, eating a well-rounded, healthy diet could help you better regulate your mood.
5. Practice Accepting Yourself for Who You Are.
One of the most difficult aspects of suffering from an affective disorder is the persistent feeling that something is wrong with you. It is easy to look at others and imagine them living a much more peaceful, anxiety-free life – even if this is not an accurate perception. Those who learn to cope with mood disorders often manage to cultivate a more accurate perception of themselves and others. A therapist can help you develop a stronger self-image and will encourage you to institute habits and routines that reinforce a more positive worldview.
6. Establish a Healthy Sleep Schedule.
There is no question that mood and sleep are closely linked. Even those who do not have a mood disorder may find that a lack of sleep leaves them feeling irritable or anxious. For example, one study found that subjects who only received 4.5 hours of sleep per night for one week reported feeling stressed, sad, mentally exhausted and angry. If you also suffer from a mood disorder, establishing a reliable schedule of seven to eight hours of sleep per night can help you regulate your moods.
If You Are Suffering from a Mood Disorder, You Are Not Alone.
People who suffer from an affective disorder often believe that no one else can understand what they are going through – or that something is fundamentally ‘wrong’ with them. But this could not be further from the truth.
At The Cabin Dhaka, we have helped a wide range of mood disorder sufferers cultivate a healthier, happier lifestyle. We have found that – when a client is motivated to turn their life around – one or two therapy sessions a week for a month or longer is often sufficient to help them overcome the problems they are facing. Contact us today to learn more about our non-judgmental, completely confidential treatment services in Dhaka.