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Much of the stigma around mental illness revolves around misinformation about mental life and behavior including disorders of mood, like major depression and bipolar disorder. Have you ever had a general question about these topics that you wanted to ask a mental health professional? Much of the information available online is unreliable and not based on evidence. It's hard to know what information can be trusted.

We want to take your questions. Any general question about mood and mood disorders including diagnosis, treatments, research, what to expect, how to care for a loved one, how to talk about symptoms - any question is fair game. Just type it in on the right hand side.

A group of individuals will go through all questions submitted and pick one each week that we would like to answer. We want to answer with engaging videos that we hope you will find informative and hopefully spur new questions. All videos will be posted for anyone to see with a library of all prior responses available in the 'Q&A' Page of this site.

We only ask that no personal information be submitted. The purpose of this educational website is not to provide individual diagnosis or to obtain private information. We cannot guarantee any private information is secure and confidential so please do not include it. We will not respond individually to any questions so please do not provide personal health information or contact information as we are not collecting that information and do not reply individually to questions.

Responses are not monitored. If you are in distress, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to their website at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Thank you for submitting a question!

If you are in crisis, please go to the nearest emergency room, call 911, or call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Recent questions and answers

See all Q&A's » Ask a Question

Do colleges have a psychiatrist who can provide ongoing services and prescribe their medication or do you need to find a provider in the local community?

How do I help a teenage family member of mine who is addicted to drugs?

Is it important to distinguish the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder and psychosis for treatment?

What do you do when you are not getting better?

If I start taking lithium what medical monitoring am I supposed to have?

What can families do to encourage people to get into treatment? How do you convince someone to not give up on treatment? Especially when they feel like the treatment is not helping their symptoms.

There is no easy answer to what regulates our mood.  The current research supports the idea that mood is a system that is regulated by the brain.  From the perspective of the brain, there is a lot of research regarding complicated brain regions and circuits involved in the control of mood.  The regulation of mood, although complicated, can be thought of in terms of other  systems that are regulated in the brain that we know from daily experience interact with our moods.  The control of sleep, appetite, stress response, hormonal regulation, sex drive, other reward systems of the brain, pain perception, attention and concentration, physical activity level, even the perceptions of the amount of light in a day – all interface with our mood

Facts about Mood Disorders:

  • By conservative estimates, 1 in 5 Americans has firsthand experience with depression, bipolar illness or another mood disorder.
  • About 11 in 100,000 people die yearly by suicide; mental illness is the number one predictive factor.
  • Up to 80% of those treated for depression show an improvement in their symptoms, usually within 4 to 6 weeks of beginning medication, psychotherapy, support groups or a combination of these approaches.
  • At the same time, it has been estimated that up to 50% of people suffering from depression are not currently receiving treatment.
  • Nearly a quarter of Americans still consider depression a sign of personal weakness.
  • It is estimated that one third of those who seek help do not receive adequate treatment over the course of their lives.

Facts obtained from the National Network of Depression Centers:
http://www.nndc.org/the-facts/