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Treating Affective (Mood) Disorders

“Affective” disorders are disorders of mood. One is depression. Another is bipolar disorder (also called manic-depression). They are often treated with medications and therapy. Talk to your healthcare provider. He or she can tell you more about treatments that can help you. A hospital or mental health clinic can also provide help.

Man talking with healthcare provider.

Treatments for Depression

Depression is a common mood disorder. It causes a person to feel sad, worthless, and hopeless. It causes loss of interest in things that used to give pleasure. Treatment includes medications and talk therapy. Antidepressant medications change levels of brain chemicals to help a person feel better. Talk therapy involves speaking to a trained counselor about your thoughts. Most people with depression do best when they use both medication and talk therapy. In cases where other treatments don’t work, a treatment called ECT may be suggested. This uses electric impulses to ease depression.

Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorder have intense mood swings. They move between deep sadness and out-of-control highs. This condition is often treated with the medication lithium. It helps even out moods and prevent swings. A medication that works in a similar way may be used instead. Talk therapy can also help. This involves talking to a trained counselor about feelings and relationships. He or she can give support during tough times.


The sources below can tell you more. They can also give names of clinics near you that offer treatment and free screenings.

  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance  800-826-3632

  • International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression

  • National Institute of Mental Health  866-615-6464

Online Medical Reviewer: Finn, Barbara, PhD
Online Medical Reviewer: Li, Descartes, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 1/26/2012
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