Cause, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Mood Disorders

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Running Head: Activity 36

Psy 7700 Psychopharmacology
Activity 36: Final Research Paper
David L. Alexander
California Southern University
College of Behavioral Sciences

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I decided to choose mood disorders as their appears to be a genetic pre-disposition in my family history to it. There have also been members of my wife’s family who have exhibited mood disorders. I therefore chose this class to attempt a comprehensive review of the use and impact of psychopharmacological agents as part of the treatment regimen for their symptoms. Causes of Mood Disorders

According to (NIMH) the National Institute of Mental Health (2009), the causes of mood disorders at this time are not completely understood. However, a chemical imbalance in the neurotransmitters in the brain appear to play a major role in their development. Abnormalities in the regulation of the neurotransmitters are believed to cause mood alteration, particularly dys-regulation in norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. NIMH (2009) also list gender as another major risk factor for mood disorders, particularly depressive disorders. With women having nearly twice as much risk of developing major depression as men. It is believed that hormones involved in pregnancy and miscarriage and hormone changes during the menstrual cycle, postpartum period, pre-menopause and menopause may attribute this in women. According to NIMH (2009) about 9.5 percent of American adults, or about 18.8 million people, have a mood disorder, and that mood disorders can occur in any race or social class. In addition to complex imbalances in the brain's chemical activity, genetic factors, or gender variations (NHMIC) the National Mental Health Information Center (2009) also list several other environmental factors which are believed to play a part in triggering, if not causing the onset of mood disorders. Organic disorders, and chronic illnesses are believed to produce some forms of mood disorder. Among these are metabolic and endocrine disorders, such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes; infectious diseases, such as influenza, hepatitis, and encephalitis; degenerative

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diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, and multi‑infarct dementia; and neoplastic disorders such as cancer. Boden et. al, (2009) also pointed out that long‑term alcohol use, intoxication, or withdrawal is also commonly known to produce mood disorders (depression). NHMIC (2009) also chronicles a number of other mental health disorders that appear to cause or contribute to mood disorders in some way. Most notably are chronic anxiety disorders, such as panic and obsessive‑compulsive disorder. Many drugs may also cause mood disturbances as an adverse effect. Among the more common listed are barbiturates; chemotherapeutic drugs, such as asparaginase; anti-convulsants, such as diazepam; and anti-arrhythmics, such as disopyramide. Other mood disturbance inducing drugs listed were centrally acting anti-hypertensives, such as reserpine (common in high dosages), methyldopa, and clonidine; beta‑adrenergic blockers, such as propranolol; levodopa; indomethacin; cycloserine; corticosteroids; and hormonal contraceptives. Recent research by Eckenrode, et, al; (2007), appears to establish that cortisol levels are involved in causing depressed mood. The Surgeon General (2009) repots that mood disorders may be caused by general medical conditions or medications, and gives examples that include the depressive syndromes associated with dominant hemispheric strokes, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and pancreatic cancer. It also provides examples of medications associated with depression, such as anti-hypertensives and oral contraceptives. It also reports that transient depressive syndromes are also common during withdrawal from alcohol and various other drugs of abuse, and that mania is not uncommon during high‑dose systemic therapy with...
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